What is Abstinence Education?
- Form of sex education that teaches abstinence as the most effective method (100%) of preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
- Abstinence from sex means not participating in anal, oral, vaginal sex and other forms of sexual activity.
- Providing young people with education, knowledge, and skills to set boundaries for themselves; to refuse peer pressure around sex; to have age appropriate and medically accurate information; and to be able to abstain from sexual activity.
What does Abstinence Education Look Like in Jackson County?
- The Jackson County Health Department (JCHD) receives funding from the Michigan Abstinence Program of the Michigan Department of Community Health to provide intense (14+ hours) intervention to young people aged 10-15 in our community.
The programming offered by JCHD includes:
Puberty and Healthy Relationships Education in sixth grades within Jackson Public Schools:
- 15 hours of classroom intervention
- Utilizes the “Puberty the Wonder Years” curriculum and “The REAL Essentials Starting Point” curriculum
- Lesson concepts include: puberty changes, anatomy, fetal development, parenting, std’s, emotions and relationships, friendship, love languages, healthy relationships, communication, decision making, peer pressure, setting boundaries, and goals and dreams
- Education, Information and Resources for Parents on how to communicate with their children about sex and sexual health
Why Do We Need Abstinence Education in Jackson County?
We utilize abstinence education and programming when working with younger youth in our community. It is a realistic method to use for our target population• Abstinence education is an important step on the continuum of sex education and a strong piece of larger teen pregnancy prevention efforts in our community• Abstinence is the ultimate message we want for our young people. It is the only 100% way to prevent pregnancy and std’s.
- Messages we send through abstinence efforts include: Hope for their future; truth about what is happening to their bodies as they go through puberty; understanding of what to expect in adolescence; and life skills such as good communication, strong decision making, and effective refusal skills.
- We believe that young people should embrace their sexual health. It should be a natural, healthy and positive aspect of life and not something to be feared.
What difference Do Parents Make in Regard to Sex Education/Abstinence Education?
- Research overwhelmingly shows that parents have a tremendous impact on the sexual decision making of their teens.
- Parents are the BEST educators for their children.
- Young people who feel highly connected to their parents and report their parents as warm, caring and supportive are far more likely to delay sexual activity than their peers.
- Parents in our community consistently say that they want their children to be taught about reproductive health and other risky behaviors. They also report that they want the information to be shared with their children while they are young, before they are sexually active.