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MT Teen Birth Rate Falls, More Parents Having “The Talk”

November 30, 2011

HELENA, Mont. - The percentage of births to teen moms has dropped almost a full point in Montana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a decline which coincides with a new survey from Planned Parenthood which finds that most parents - 82 percent - say they are having some version of "the talk" with their children.

However, when children become teenagers, says Donna Miller, Planned Parenthood of Montana outreach educator, the content of that conversation gets sketchy. Here's what she hears from students in her education classes:

"Every time we want to talk to our parents about even thinking about having sex, they think they're going to get angry, they're going to ground them for life, or take away a lot of privileges."

Miller's tips for parents: Don't judge. Be good listeners. And add humor to the discussion.

While the percentage of teen moms dropped from about 10.5 percent to 9.5 percent, Miller points out that's still above the national average.

We arm our teens with information about staying away from drugs and how to drive safely, Miller says, and sex education carries the same goals.

"The myth is, if I tell them all this information about sexuality, then they're going to go out and do it. But the research shows that the more teenagers know, the less they're going to go out and try things."

Teens want to hear the information about sexuality from their parents, she says, and parents should be the primary source of that information.

CDC birth statistics are online at cdc.gov.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT