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In the U.S, about one million teenage girls get pregnant every year and this greatly affects the lives of the teenagers, the children they bare and the society at large. The social behavior and attitude towards sex has greatly contributed to the increase of teenage pregnancy since sex is publicly glorified and is even used as a marketing tool. Teenagers are engaging in sexual activities at an early age since they are exposed to it even before they are mature. It is the role of parents to try and bring up their children in a morally upright manner and advice them on the effects of early pregnancies in their lives. The causes and effects of teenage pregnancy are more of the same. They include poverty, unemployment, and lack of education, low self esteem and in some cases, abuse.
Factors leading to teenage pregnancy
The causes of teenage pregnancy are both social an also economical. The lack of knowledge on the consequences of teenage pregnancy among the teenagers is the primary factor that leads to teenagers to engage in irresponsible sexual practices. Another contributing factor is the up bringing of the children. The way parents bring up their children as well as the kind of environment they are brought up in contributes realty to the sexual behavior of a child. Parents who do not communicate openly to with their children on social issues such as sex are putting their children at the risk of being teenage parents.
The lack of open communication between the children and the parents encourages the children to find other sources of information and in most cases, they go to their fellow students or older friends who may end giving them the wrong or misleading information. On the other hand, children who are brought in an environment that consists of many cases of teenage pregnancies or even in situations where the parents are single mothers or were victims of teenage pregnancy are more likely to follow the same course since it is something normal in their ‘world’.
The way a child is brought up defines who they are in terms of emotional maturity as well as their communication skills. When children are not taught how to communicate and air their views openly and boldly, they end up suffering from low self esteem and this makes them easy targets and increases their chances of being vulnerable to peer pressure which is also responsible for teenage pregnancy. This lack of communication and guidance from parents also contributes to the child’s irresponsible behavior.
Poverty is another major factor that contributes to teenage pregnancy. In most low income earning areas, the are no facilities that are used to educate children on the effects of engaging in sexual activities at an early age. In some cases, the children are forced to engage in sexual activities as a way of getting money to support themselves and their families. The wealthier people in these areas take advantage of the young children and promise them a better life in exchange for sex. Ignorance is also another aspect that is come in these areas and is usually brought about by the lack of education. When parents are not well educated, they do not see the importance of educating or discussing sex and other issues that affect the teenagers and the children end up messing up since they were not advised.
The kind of messages that are sent to teenagers about sex are also contributing factors to the early engagement in sex which leads to teenage pregnancy. Today’s culture glorifies sex and does not put into consideration nor is it accountable for its consequences. The social attitudes on the other hand do not provide a conducive environment for open discussions on sex and resources are not also available for the same. From studies, there are some factors such as poor performance in school that force the children to drop out and when they do, the chances o them engaging in sexual activities are very high and they end up getting pregnant.
There are many children who are victims of sexual abuse and this completely messes up with their views and attitude towards sex. These children end up perceiving themselves as sexual objects from an early age and this increases the cases of teenage pregnancy.
Effects of teenage pregnancy
The effects of teenage pregnancy are felt by the individual victims and also the society. When school going teenagers get pregnant, most of them opt to drop out of school due to shame and also so that they can prepare themselves for the coming baby and motherhood in general. On the other hand, teenage fathers are not in a position to support their families financially so they also end up dropping out of school so that they can work and provide for their family. Since getting a job without education is hard, the students find themselves engaging in criminal activities and drug abuse as they try to find solutions to their state.
Most teenage mothers do not have any support from their families so they and up becoming a part of the lower society whereby they are not able to access basic needs such as health care and well balanced diets. This affects their health and the health of their children and sometimes may lead to complications during child birth.
Teenage parents pose a great economic and social risk to the society since they are not financially stable. Dropping out of school, doing drug and also engaging in criminal activities by teenage fathers affect the community in terms of the level of security. Dropping out of school means that one is not well educated and therefore, they cannot secure good jobs and this increases the cases of joblessness and this pull down the economic status of the society. When one is not educated, their level of productivity socially and economically goes down and this affects the community at large.
Ways of preventing teenage pregnancy.
Teenagers should be encouraged not to engage in sexual activities at an early age and they should also be well informed on early pregnancy and its effects. The students should be well educated on the topic of sex as a whole should be discussed in schools and this will help in the reduction of cases of teenage pregnancy. The teenagers should also be educated on the ways of preventing pregnancy and also ways of ensuring safe sex. They should be allowed to access contraceptives as well as family planning services without age being an issue and confidentiality should be assured.
Parents on the other hand have a great role to play in ensuring that their children are brought up morally upright and that they should instill confidence and a sense of responsibility in their children so that they can be able to make wise choices and not be pulled away by peer pressure. Motivating children on positive life options and also enhancing the skills of the children I other ways apart from education is also very important since children know that they have a future despite their performance in school and this reduces the cases of school drop outs who would have otherwise ended up getting pregnant.
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