Teen pregnancy is a complex problem that requires a complex solution. It takes a comprehensive, collaborative approach—parents, teachers, policy makers, faith leaders, practitioners, and the business community—to make a difference in teen pregnancy rates in our state. As a faith leader, you have a special responsibility to move beyond silence about sexuality and serve as a caring adult in the lives of youth in your
What can faith leaders do?
- Provide an environment where sexuality, intimacy, and relationships are discussed openly and honestly.
- Provide age appropriate and accurate information about sexuality, including its spiritual dimensions, from your particular faith tradition.
- Model positive, healthy and joyful attitudes about human sexuality and relationships.
- Provide a safe place where young people are free to discuss their concerns about love, sex and relationships.
- Ensure young people are receiving consistent messages from all adults within their faith setting including pastors, youth ministers, other caring adults, etc.
- Encourage parents to talk with their children about sex and morality within the context of their faith.
- Sponsor workshops for parents that equip them with tools needed to have open and honest discussions with young people about love, sex and relationships. When teens are close with their parents they are more likely to consider family values in sexual decision making, are more likely to delay having sex, and are more likely to use birth control if they do have sex.
- Help parents take advantage of opportunities to use teachable moments (i.e. popular culture, media) to educate young people.
- Recognize the diversity of adolescents in your congregations. Not all young people are the same. Your congregation will have heterosexuals and sexual minorities, young people remaining abstinent and those who have had sexual relationships, and those who have experienced abuse. There is not a “one size fits all” program. Make sure messages are inclusive for all groups and tailored to their unique needs.
- Create an atmosphere where young people may seek guidance and counseling to address feelings about their sexual orientation that is causing them to be uncomfortable with themselves.
- Every school district in South Carolina is required to have a comprehensive health education advisory committee. This committee must have three representatives from the faith community. Find out who serves in your area and offer to be a representative from the faith community.
- Commit to professional development for you and your staff. It is normal to feel uncomfortable talking about love, sex and relationships with; young people. Attend trainings, host a workshop and increase your comfort level. Call on the SC Campaign as the trusted resource for teen pregnancy prevention and commit to doing what’s best for our state’s young people.
Learn how teen pregnancy affects young people in your county.