Our series on Maternal & Early Childhood Issues continues today with a look the work being done by Morning Star Pregnancy Services in Harrisburg to help kids build a foundation for strong relationships and avoid problems down the road.
We’ve all had our fair share of relationships that have not gone well over the years, whether they were romantic or just friendly in nature. Wouldn’t it be nice to have gotten some advice before sailing on those waters and crashing into the rocks?
The folks at Morning Star Pregnancy Services in Harrisburg are offering just such advice to teenagers and also actually to moms and dads through a program called Unfiltered Truth. Leslie Moyer is the Director of Educational Programs at Morning Star. She works with Ann Deegan from an established curriculum called “Real Essentials” to present different lessons to try to teach kids to build a foundation for strong relationships.
Leslie Moyer : “So what are people expecting and what are your boundaries and do you have boundaries and how do you make sure the person knows?”
The program is –not- lecture based. Moyer says that would never work. They have discussions so the kids will take ownership of the concepts they are presented and make them their own. They are getting a lot of positive feedback.
Moyer : “I believe it was woman, she said I wish I’d had this when I was younger. I needed to know about those relationship red flags, the break up skills, which is two lessons that we do. I needed that two years ago when I was in a really bad relationship.”
One of the lessons is on living together, which is something that many young people see as the go-to route for couples in love.
Ann Deegan : “So many people are living together and so we talk about what are the benefits and what it really looks like and what are some of the myths surrounding living together and why it isn’t a good thing to do.
Most of the classes have been with high school students. Moyer says they’re hoping to get more time with middle school kids to help them build their skills by the time they get to high school. There are also classes for adults.
Deegan : “The focus isn’t just on mothering skills, like taking care of a baby. The focus is on what do your relationships look like? And what do you want to pass on to your children? What is the legacy? What do you want to pass on to your children and have your children receive from you?”
There is also the goal of having kids take a more deliberate and thoughtful approach to having sex. It may prevent many problems down the road, not the least of which being an unwanted pregnancy. Moyer shares a recurring sentiment that she hears from returning clients.
Moyer : “Over and over again I will hear ‘I would not change the fact that I had my child. But I wish I had waited. I wish I had waited just a little bit longer. I wish I was married. I can’t tell you how many times I hear that.”