As a teen leader in the "STARS" program for the past two years, I have had the pleasure of working with a great group of younger students.

"STARS" stands for Students Today Aren't Ready for Sex, and is coordinated through Clatsop County Health & Human Services. The research based curriculum uses teen leaders like me to work with sixth-grade students to promote abstinence. In Clatsop County, there are more than 40 teen leaders in all five public school districts and Star of the Sea private school. Statewide, there are seven Teen Advisory Board members for the program and I am the representative for Clatsop County.

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention month and today) is the national day to prevent teen pregnancy. I understand that sometimes being a parent to a teenager can be overwhelming and talking to them about love, sex and relationships can be difficult. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy has gathered the following tips for parents.

1. Be clear about your own sexual values and attitudes.

2. Talk with your children early and often about sex, and be specific.

3. Supervise and monitor your children and adolescents.

4. Know your children's friends and their families.

5. Discourage early, frequent, and steady dating.

6. Take a strong stand against your daughter dating a boy significantly older than she is. And don't allow your son to develop an intense relationship with a girl much younger than he is.

7. Help your teenagers to have options for the future that are more attractive than early pregnancy and parenthood.

8. Let your kids know that you value education highly.

9. Know what your kids are watching, reading, and listening to.

10. These first nine tips for helping your children avoid teen pregnancy work best when they occur as part of strong, close relationships with your children that are built from an early age.

For more information about National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month visit their Web site at, www.teenpregnancy.org. For local information or statistics contact Alice Beck, Human Services Supervisor at Clatsop County Health and Human Services, 325-8500.

Even though it may be difficult, communication is the key, talk with your children today.

KELSIE SCHINDLER

Knappa High School

Clatsop County STARS Teen Advisory

Board Member

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