vii Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson from Scenarios USA (written by youth and produced by award-winning filmmakers) as well as other visual media and role-plays on negotiation and refusal skills that are inclusive. Woven into the program is new content on navigating relationships and intimate life in the digital age. Several topics such as the role of texting, sexting, social media, and internet pornography are explored. A New Message on Pregnancy Prevention Many of our pregnancy prevention messages focus on a young person’s self-interest in how a pregnancy would negatively affect them. Love Notes takes a different track. It encourages young people to step outside themselves and look more deeply at the consequences of unintended or poorly timed pregnancy on children. By placing the child at center stage in a few activities, participants are asked to generate a wish list of needs and wants “through the eyes of a child”. Further, they are challenged to identify what might help parents provide these for a child. This approach taps a more powerful and positive source of motivation to avoid an unintended pregnancy. It helps bring home to all young people why it matters to be a planner—to wait to have a child (or a second child)—if children are a part of their vision—until their lives are more settled with their education/training, employment, and a partnership. In terms of positive youth development, one’s love life is never neutral it’s one of the central developmental tasks on the path to adulthood. Unhealthy, abusive, and unstable relationships, especially if linked with an unintended pregnancy, can derail everything. Helping young people assess their relationships, choose partners wisely, and acquire the skills and insights for forming and/or maintaining healthy relationships (and later healthy marriages if they choose to marry) can help them be successful. Encouraging deliberate planning for their own sexual decisions can reduce some formidable barriers in their personal lives as young people work toward their goals in education, employment, intimate relationships, family, and parenting. Love Notes is dedicated to the success of young people as much as it is to the success and well-being of their children. Clearly, children are affected for better or worse by the parental, partner, and other adult relationships in their families and communities.
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