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PARENT TO PARENT.

Byline: MAUREEN PEARSON

PARENTLINE PLUS is urging parents to make a New Year's resolution to talk to their children about sex and relationships in a bid to reduce unplanned teen pregnancies in 2009.

The warning comes as figures show that conception rates in the under-18s soar in January following the party season.

Too much festive spirit can result in teenage girls forgetting to take their pill, condoms not being put in bags or pockets before a night out, while relationships can break up and just as quickly make up, all increasing the risks of unintended pregnancies and sexually-transmitted illnesses (STIs).

As part of its Time to Talk campaign, the charity hopes to encourage parents to talk about sex and relationships as a wealth of research suggests the more knowledge young people have, the less chance they have of ending up with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies or STIs.

The campaign also focuses on how parents can help keep their teens safe by highlighting issues such as drugs, binge drinking and resisting peer pressure.

"One of the best things parents can resolve to do is to make sure the messages get across. The under-18 conception rates speak for themselves," said Maureen Pearson, the charity's area manager for the North East.

"We are very aware this can be easier said than done. However, we know from the calls we receive that parents really want to take the initiative. They sometimes just need some support to do so." By doing this, parents can help prevent their teens from getting into risky situations, encourage them to delay their first sexual activity and reduce unintended teenage pregnancies and STIs. "Parents can't be with their teenagers 24 hours a day, but ultimately want to keep their kids safe in whatever way they can but also let them have some fun and freedom as they become young adults," added Maureen.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2009
Words:312
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