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7.1: Planning

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Key Ideas

  • Family planning refers to deciding when and how many (if any) children to have. Some of the considerations are population control, careers, financial situation, religious views, and personal preference. Decisions about sexual activity involve taking control of a crucial part of your life.
  • The rate of population growth has slowed, but the numbers continue to rise. People are having fewer children at later ages. Having children is a function of culture-most people do it. So if your culture tends to have large families and not practice birth control, the same is apt to apply to you.
  • The only absolute way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence. Abstinence means making an active choice which one commits to, just as one commits to any personal goal. It does not mean one will never have, or never has had, sexual intercourse-it means, for now, one is not willing to accept the risks involved in sexual activity.
  • Birth control greatly reduces, but does not eliminate the risk, of pregnancy.


This section focuses on why both adolescents and adults choose NOT to become parents at a particular stage in their life. Individual and societal issues for not having children, such as overpopulation, are addressed. Although 97% of all adults do eventually become parents, some make a conscious choice to never have children. These choices are examined in an activity. The second half of the section addresses abstinence in detail, and makes it clear that abstinence is not a permanent condition, but a conscious choice for a person who does not want to risk pregnancy at a particular time. Reasons for and against abstinence are given, as well as guidelines for how to make sure you remain abstinent if that is your choice. The last activity looks at the societal impact of teenage pregnancy. Students address the issue of what the government should or should not do regarding the issues of adolescent parenting and welfare reform.



identify reasons people give for not choosing to have children.

identify similarities and differences for the reasons given by gender.

examine the societal issues raised by teenage pregnancy.

propose solutions or interventions.

examine abstinence as the only sure way to not get pregnant.


abstain, environmental degradation, family planning overpopulation, sexually transmitted disease (STD), zero population growth

Student Materials

Activity 6-1: Reasons for Not Wanting Children

  • Activity Report

Activity 6-2: Who Decides?

  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

Activity 6-1: Reasons for Not Wanting Children

  • None required

Activity 6-2: Who Decides?

  • 5 Activity Reports per class

Advance Preparation

See Activities 6-1 and 6-2 in the Student Edition.

Activity 6-2: Who Decides?

  • Determine if there are certain students you want in specific roles. Decide how you will arrange the room for the hearing. Think about possible resources to which you can direct your students for research.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts Role-playing and discussion groups help students develop communication skills and can lead to essay or journal writing.

Social Studies The issues of overpopulation and population control are addressed and can be discussed in more detail. One activity centers on a mock congressional debate.

Math Graphs show population growth and can be used to create math problems. A Mini Activity involves calculation and projections.

Background Information

Peer pressure is generally assumed to be the main reason why teenagers have sex. Actually, national surveys do not bear this out. In one representative sample, “peer pressure” accounted for less than 5% of the reasons given for first sexual intercourse. “Affection for the partner” led the list (48% for women, 25% for men). However, studies of teenagers show that sex among young adolescent girls is usually coerced, often by an older male partner. Thus, among girls ages 13 or younger who have had sex, 60% have done so involuntarily. These percentages decline to 10% by the age 16. The element of coercion is thus a critical factor to consider.

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