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PARENT TO PARENT.

Byline: maureen pearson

PARENTLINE Plus is urging parents to talk to their children about sex and relationships in a bid to reduce unplanned teen pregnancies in 2010.

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

Too much festive spirit can result in teenage girls forgetting to take their pill and condoms not being put in bags or pockets before a night out.

While relationships can break up and just as quickly make up, this increases the risks of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs).

The Tyneside-based national 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.

It's Time to Talk 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 talking the initiative and talking things through, 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 children safe in whatever way they can but also let them have some fun and freedom as they become young adults," added Maureen.

For more information about this, or for advice on a range of parenting topics, log on to www.parentlineplus.org.uk or call the 24-hour Parentline on 0808 800 2222.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 12, 2009
Words:338
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