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Mother Knows Best

Mom deserves a lot more credit than we give her. Here are 10 things that she got right.

Abstinence

"Save yourself for marriage," Mom used to say. And even in today's permissive society, it rings true. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause pelvic pain, infertility, urinary problems, and neurological complications. AIDS kills.

The condom failure rate is thought to be about 5%, but unplanned pregnancy due to incorrect use of condoms may happen in up to one-third of women. And due to the minute size of the HIV virus, which allows it to slip through invisible holes in the rubber, condoms may not reliably prevent AIDS.

"Although mothers think their children don't listen to them when it comes to sex, teens report accepting more information and attitudes from their parents than from any other source," Mike Smith, PhD, tells WebMD. "It's better to develop an open relationship so they'll feel free to come to you with questions, rather than having just one big talk."

Smith, director of AIDS Education Research at Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Ga., has other practical tips to keep the lines of communication open while decreasing risky behavior. Get to know your teenager's friends. Discourage steady dating and unsupervised time, but encourage group outings. Don't let girls date older men, as this is the highest-risk situation for teen pregnancy.

"Learn how to listen," Smith says. "Share your own personal values -- don't preach."

Yes ...

Mom, you were right when it comes to our health and so much more. Thank you for always having our best interests at heart, even though we gave you grief over it. We owe our lives to you, and we love you on Mother's Day and always.

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Reviewed on May 02, 2005

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