Avoid Teenage Pregnancies
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn
Teenage pregnancy is a world-wide problem. It happens to girls coming from the upper strata of society down to the disadvantaged sectors in cities and rural areas. Differences in the way teenagers behave toward sex are noted across populations and cultures, but the bottom line is unwanted and/or unintended pregnancies of adolescents.
Among industrialized countries, the United States has the highest number of teenage pregnancies; more than those in the United Kingdom and Canada. The American College of Obstetricians estimated that approximately 750,000 of girls ages 15-19 years become pregnant each year. That's no number to sneeze at, as it means a loss of the unborn for those who opt for abortion, education set aside with school drop-outs, and impending or ever-present poverty for some teen parents and children, among others. This does not cover only emotional, financial and psychological stress for the affected families, but health issues as well that result from all those stresses.
The U.S. government has expended huge amounts of money in education just to impress on the young population that it's in their best interests to avoid teenage pregnancies. Recent U.S. birth data indicated a historic drop of more than half in the last 20 years, except for a brief rise in 2006 and 2007. The rate cited for girls ages 15-19 was 29.4 births per 1,000 last 2012 from 31.3 per 1,000 in 2011 - less than half recorded in 1991 of 61.8 births per 1,000 teenage girls. Among the ethnic groups, the rate of unintended pregnancies for Hispanic teenagers dropped 39 percent since 2007 to 46.3 births per 1,000 in 2012 compared to declines of 29 percent for blacks and 25 percent for white adolescent girls.
Parents are cautioned not to let down their guard just because of the drop in teenage pregnancies. A reminder is that a national policy and strategy has done a lot to preventing teenage pregnancies, but primarily, it is the domain of parents. Look at some causes of pregnancies to shed light on this social problem.
Why kids go the path of least sex resistance?
Hype on Sex
Sex is a fact of life, but has an appointed time. Many adolescents apparently ignore this, given the rate of teenage pregnancy. The way sex is portrayed in movies, books, and interviews of unwed teen parents seem to give the impression that it's alright. Sex has become a casual activity rather than one to avoid, having acquired some kind of distorted glamour among a circle of like-minded friends.
The need to belong has pushed teenage girls to be sexually active just because their peers are into it. This kind of circle makes sex an "in thing" and to take the step is to be glamorous, "mature" and sophisticated. Yes, for a time, until one gets pregnant and stands out like a sore thumb with so-called friends hardly around to give support.
The parents may be at home, but lack of communication sometimes makes a teenage girl feel that she is not loved and her parents don't care what she does. This can be a driving factor for girls to seek attention outside the home from friends, a boyfriend or an older man who takes advantage of her.
This may be due to lack of parental attention in meeting the needs of a child to her adolescent years, like expressing affection and helping out in improving school performance. This may result in low self-esteem, which is compensated by going all out for peers' decisions and actions.
Lack of Rules and Supervision
One does not have to appear as a tyrant in imposing rules like being home at a certain time, no dating and unsupervised parties, and no hanging out with friends just for the sake of being out of the house.
Lack of Knowledge or Misinformed
In this day and age, teenagers may think they know all about sex and its consequences. If they are not properly informed by their parents and have not undergone sex education, then they are likely to think that there's no danger associated with engaging in it at such an immature age.
It is recorded that about 5 percent of teenage pregnancies are a result of rape by men as old as 27.
Teenage pregnancies not only affect the teen parent, but the family itself and society as well. It is one problem that carries layers of problems with it. It leads to a lack of education as many drop from school, which in time, leads to unemployment due to not having the education and skills criteria for jobs. It will be a cycle of being poor, which will in turn affect the child. Going on welfare and availing of shelter are ways that government helps and it can amount to big expenses. Don't forget that there are emotional and psychological traumas that a teen parent is burdened with, aside from health issues. Before finding yourself in such predicament, it would help to look at some tips to avoid this.
Tips, Tricks and Warnings
- 1Be present for your child:
- Communicate and interact.
- Listen to her stories, and make her feel precious and loved.
- Attend her school activities.
- Be firm in applying your rules on behavior, while making her feel that she is loved and that it's for her welfare.
- If things turn bad and you find yourself with a pregnant teen, give the support she needs to be able to deal with it with maturely.
- 2Know her friends. Invite them to your home and let them feel accepted. If you feel that she is in the wrong crowd, be diplomatic in your approach and find ways to steer her toward the right kind of group. One way is through being active in church and encouraging her to join the youth members whose parents you know also supervise their children's activities.
- 1Don't Give in to Pressure. Peer pressure is one of the major causes that leads teenagers to committing premarital sex and ultimately lead to unwanted teenage pregnancies. Many teenage girls feel left behind when they are told by their friends that they are already having sex. Since no one loves to be left behind, many give in to premarital sex.
- You should not allow your peers to mislead you.
- Having unprotected sex may lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
- As a teenager, stand your ground and wait for the right time to engage in sex.
- 2Learn To Say No. You should learn to say no to sex as a teenage girl.
- Do not let your boyfriend or peers convince you to have sex, and do not let your peers talk you into trying drugs, which is one of the main causes why rape and unprotected sex are committed.
- Most teenage girls are usually intoxicated by their boyfriends before they take advantage of them.
- As a teenage girl, avoid accompanying your peers in isolated areas and dark places where they are likely to take advantage of you.
- 3Know the Causes of Pregnancies. There are lots of myths associated with sex that you will be told by your peers. It is important to note that having unprotected vaginal sex is likely to lead to pregnancy. It is also important to understand the risk of having unprotected sex; though anal and oral sex may not result in pregnancy you may still end up getting an STD (sexually transmitted disease if your partner is infected.
- 4Avoid Alcohol and Substance Abuse. Alcohol and substance abuse may also lead to teenage pregnancy.
- Many people who are under the influence of alcohol and other drugs have been known not to make informed decisions.
- You may end up having unprotected sex due to the influence of drugs.
- As a teenager, it is important to stay off alcohol and other drugs and concentrate on your studies.
- 5Birth control methods. Understand the effectiveness of different forms of birth control methods. There are certain birth control methods that work for some individuals, whereas there are some that do not. As a teenager, it is important to know more about these birth control methods and their effectiveness. This will help you make an informed choice.
- 6Be spiritually fulfilled as a person. People who have spiritual guidance and are having regular attendance in peer groups that encourage morally uplifted lives have a much better chance of avoiding teenage pregnancies. This is because they are exposed to others from their generation who live happy lives in spite of having strict controls over their own moral habits. They are made conscious of the belief that there is a Higher Being, who above anybody else, is the One they have to please. It would be a sad day for all if a beloved daughter got pregnant without the benefit of marriage. This moral consciousness leads to a life that is simpler, but happier.
Parenting is crucial in the adolescent stage as teenagers become curious about sex. This is also the time that many of them have unstable emotions and become difficult to understand, even for a caring parent. You can imagine how it would be for an adolescent who comes from a dysfunctional family. The home is the first environment where a child learns about love, feels secure and knows about moral and spiritual values. This shows how valuable it is for parents to be loving but vigilant to avoid teenage pregnancies.
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Categories : Teens
Recent edits by: Eng, Nerissa Avisado