Pregnancy of favorite TV star can be teachable moment

January 20, 2008|By Sam Miller | Sam Miller,McClatchy-Tribune

You may not have even had a chance to have the birds-and-bees conversation, and your daughter's favorite TV star goes and gets pregnant. Awkward!

But Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy doesn't have to be, according to Birds & Bees Connections, a California company that offers courses on adolescence for parents and children. They say this can be a teachable moment, and a good opportunity to talk to children about sex, puberty and pregnancy.

Here's what you can say to your kids, depending on age:

To 8- to 10-year-olds: "Jamie is very young to be having a baby and we feel it is a very big responsibility for someone so young to have to go through."

Go back to basics. "Your physical and emotional body is going to go through a lot of changes. These changes are happening so you can grow into young men and women." Talk about how they can get help by coming to you when they have any questions.

To 11- to 13-year-olds: You may want to share as a parent what the responsibility of raising a child is like, and why you think it's best to wait for marriage.

The basics at this age are really about the feelings they might be starting to have for someone else. You need to let them know that it's perfectly normal and having someone to share special feelings with can be really nice. What's important to know is what is appropriate and what's not.

To 14- to 17-year-olds: This is a time to encourage critical thinking skills by asking questions instead of you doing the talking. Ask them what they think about this situation with Spears; you might be surprised with their answer.

Make sure the teen knows if you are initiating the conversation it's not because you're assuming they are engaging in a sexual behavior, you just want to talk with them about your concerns.

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