How to talk to your kids about Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy

Jamie Lynn Spears, 16, has confirmed that she is expecting. The pregnancy came as a surprise to both her and her family, as she’s only a teenager. And she’s decided to continue with the pregnancy, have the baby and raise it in her home state of Louisiana.

In her interview she had the following statement to other teens:

I definitely don’t think [teen pregnancy is] something you should do; it’s better to wait. But I can’t be judgmental because it’s a position I put myself in.

A lot of parents are reeling with the announcement as Jamie Lynn is the star of a very popular ‘Tween show, Zoey 101, with a large following of fans, most of whom are in middle school, themselves. The question a lot of parents are grappling with is how to talk to their children about the news.

Click below for some ways to discuss the news with your child.

  • The first thing to do is to make sure you bring the topic up with your children. Don’t assume that they’re already working it out with their friends or that they don’t know. Be involved and use this opportunity to have a heart-to-heart discussion with your young and probably impressionable child about teen sex.
  • The typical age range of Jamie Lynn fans is 8-15 years of age. If your child is younger or you’re not sure how much they know about the news, ask them what their friends are saying about Jamie Lynn.
  • Once you have found out what your child knows about the news, you should clear up any information they might be missing. This is not the time to let them wonder about random speculation or other rumors, ensure they have the facts straight and that they understand as much as they can.
  • The way you address the news will be contingent on how much previous information you have already shared with your children about sex. If you haven’t had the "talk," now might be a good time! Even teens can benefit from a frank discussion about sex and how to process this news.
  • Unfortunately, the group that will be most affected by this news will be middle schoolers, according to the American Psychological Association. Especially those with low self-esteem and lower identity issues.
  • With teenagers the key to hit home is that they’re not invulnerable, these things can and do happen and pregnancy, and even STDs, can happen to anyone engaging in sex.
  • Don’t forget the boys. Your sons are just as likely to be engaged in sexual activity and can benefit from the same conversations and insight that you might provide your daughter!
  • Remember, children respect their parents who stay involved and connected in their lives. You, as a parent, are very influential as long as you stay on top of the situation. They may act like they don’t want to hear you, but research has show that what you say does stick with them.

After you’ve addressed the news with your child, you have to assess your involvement as a parent.

  • The first place a child is likely to engage in sexual activity is in their own home, when they’re not being supervised.
  • Know your child’s friends and boy/girlfriends and what they’re doing when they’re not with you.
  • Pay attention to age ranges. Letting a young teenager date someone several years older can sometimes spell trouble. Relationships with older people can come with adult expectations that many teens just aren’t ready for.
  • Sexual activity is most likely to occur between the hours of 3 and 6 in the afternoon, before many parents get home from work.
  • It’s important to set parameters that your child can understand. Give them clear rules on who can come to the house when you’re not there and who can’t.
  • Giving your child your trust is also important, let them show you they can handle the rules you have set out. If they show they can’t handle the rules though, make sure they understand the consequences and enforce them at all costs.

What have you discussed with your children about Jamie Lynn? If you haven’t yet, will you use any of these tips in talking to them about it? (Please keep comments focused on talking to children about the Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy, not what you think of her, her parents, or the situation. These comments will not be published.)

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