1. Communication is KEY!
From a very early age, let your children know that you are there for them, and keep an open line of communication – from mundane, everyday topics to the tough issues and “hot-button” topics. This makes YOU, as the parent, the “go to person” for advice, and allows you to retain that position as your child’s key teacher. You can help them process through tough questions they may have, allowing them to ask questions, and work out their worldview in regards to abortion (or other topics).
2: Be Educated
Do you know how RU-486 works? Do you know state laws regarding abortion? Educate yourself on abortion procedures so that you can accurately explain them (medically) if the topic comes up. There are some wonderful human development videos available at EHD.org. It’s not necessary to use graphic pictures, but if a teen asks what an abortion does to the baby, there are medically accurate abortion images available online. Become empowered and equipped by being knowledgeable. Being educated also means knowing what resources you have available in your community! Be prepared with the local Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) location and familiar with the free services they offer.
Remember, it’s not a one time teaching lesson, it is a conversation that takes place over many moments. Be sure that your teen is also equipped BEFORE situations arise. Don’t wait for your teenager to come home and say that her best friend is pregnant and looking for an abortion clinic. They should already know how to communicate a caring and compassionate response to their friend and encourage them to seek help at the PRC. Your teens have a large sphere of influence in their community. (School, sports programs, etc.) When they know about the free and confidential services available, then their community will know too!
3. FOR, not Against
Parents need to know (and articulate) what they are FOR (life), not what they are AGAINST. The conversation is positive and constructive when we share from the standpoint that we are for life … that we are for women, as we recognize the devastating consequences that many women encounter through abortion. This also can create a dialogue for the “why’s” and give them a foundation of sound criteria to choose for themselves. This dialogue can include sharing information about fetal development from a young age. The “where do babies come from?” conversation can have tremendous impact when partnered with not just the “where,” but the amazing intricate and miraculous transformations that occur within the womb prior to birth. If a friend or family member becomes pregnant, your child can follow along with the pregnancy and find out what is happening to the baby at each stage of development.
4. It’s All About the ISSUE
When you’re talking to your teens, remember to never attack people, instead focus on the issue. While the root of the issue goes so much deeper than just abortion, it is important to know that many women who have obtained an abortion will also say they that they felt like they “had no other choice.” It affects so many lives beyond the mother and her unborn child. (Refer to #3, if necessary… focus on the value of life…all life.).
5. The Three C’s – Compassionate, Caring, Confidential
Remember to always be compassionate, caring and confidential. Your teen may be sharing about a friend or a friend of a friend. You need to be compassionate and show that you care. Remember when you were young and certain that your parents didn’t understand? Close the generation gap and try to see it from their point of view.
Now the potentially tricky part: confidential … you are giving compassionate and caring advice to your teen, not the friend or friend of a friend. You probably don’t have all of the story or an accurate story. Don’t push the rumor mill by going to other parents or the friend of a friend’s parent. Instead, coach your teen on how to be responsible, and to encourage their friends to have communication with their parents. You also do not want to lose the trust of your teen. Our best advice on “confidential” is to ask yourself one simple question…”Is this MY STORY to tell?”
We understand that the life and safety of human beings may be at stake in this matter. Thoughtfully consider the risks involved before making quick decisions on ANY matter of confidentiality.