Sex ed skips sex and focuses on financial troubles

Some schools are shifting away from the staple scare tactics of sex ed programs such as graphic pictures and shocking statistics on STDs and child birth. Instead educators are focusing on discussing the burden that being a teen parent puts on your relationships, your child, your financial security, your career aspirations, and your future.

This method is in stark contrast to previous programs that promote abstinence only or which detail contraceptive measures—messages which often go ignored under the tidal wave of teen hormones.

This program was conceived by Texas child-support officials with the goal of reducing the more than a million child-support enforcement cases the government must deal with each year. Programs like No Kidding and Parenting and Paternity Awareness (PAPA) don’t concern themselves with the morality or health risks associated with risky sex. They explain why you don’t want to get pregnant, not how to prevent pregnancy. Educators even bring in actual teen parents to explain the legal, emotional, and financial difficulties that come with having a child at an early age. This is an important shift as these new programs address the reality that many teens see pregnancy as a positive thing—a way to strengthen a troubled relationship, a status symbol, or even a way of receiving a monthly paycheck.

According to the most recent data from 2008, around four percent of females between fifteen and nineteen will have a baby—a number much higher than any other developed country. While no data is yet available regarding the pregnancy rates of teens who go through these programs, some surveys suggest that after taking the course students are much less likely to want to have a child before marriage. The principles utilized by PAPA and No Kidding have started to spread to other states that have incorporated similar programs.

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