Parenting has an impact on adolescent’s development, especially during the peaks of puberty. As adolescents undergo hormonal changes, they become more interest in sex and sexually active. For females, this leads to early pregnancy in the teenage years. Numerous of reasons can be the cause of teen pregnancy, such as the lack of knowledge, non-usage, or improper usage of contraceptives. However, this paper will take a closer look on the adolescents’ interactions with their parents. In the study, adolescents will complete a survey and share their experiences before and after pregnancy. This study will display the various types of parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. It will focus on whether parents have an impact on adolescent’s risky behaviors and decisions. Does it matter which parenting style increase or reduce the likelihood of adolescent pregnancy? The result of this study will be informative for parents handling situations regarding their adolescent’s sex life.
Keywords: parenting styles, authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, uninvolved, teen pregnancy
The Effects of Parenting Styles on Teen Pregnancy
Over generations the age of parenting has become younger. With the lack of sex education and usage of contraception amongst adolescent, it has led to early pregnancy. Teen pregnancy is a social issue in the today’s world. Early pregnancy is contributed to many factors that includes not only non-proper usage of contraceptives, risky decision making due to immaturity/cognitive development. At this age, adolescents’ brains are still developing. During puberty, there is a hormonal imbalance creating sexual desires and urges (Bamurind, 1999). Adolescent may develop romantic relationships amongst their peers without parental consent. Based on the parenting, this may influence how the adolescent engage in sexual activities. According to research based on parenting styles, parents can determine characteristics of the adolescent (Bamurind, 1999).
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A psychologist, Diana Baumrind, researched and established four types of parenting styles. There are four types of parenting styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive and Uninvolved/Neglectful. Each style may influence an adolescent’s choice and behavior (Bamurind, 1999). Authoritarian parents show a little warmth and are very strict. The adolescent is not able to express themselves. The strict discipline is supposed to help keep them in their “boundaries” (Bamurind, 1999). Authoritative parents are often very warm. The conversation is always discussion based. The adolescent can express their thoughts and opinions, but the parent is still able to manage some form of control (Bamurind, 1999). Permissive parents display very warm characteristics, but lack control of the adolescent. The parent always “give” and “grant” wishes to show love to their adolescent. The adolescent makes more important decisions in their life without their parental control. Uninvolved parents are not active in the adolescent’s life. There is no warmth or control in the relationship. There are less interaction and time spent. The adolescent is neglected physically, mentality and emotionally (Louie et al. 2009). All of the four styles can have a major impact on the adolescent life, especially during pregnancy.
Throughout the study, the teens between the age thirteen and seventeen will be evaluated based on their experience and journey from the beginning of pregnancy to the end, whether not their parents influenced their overall judgement.
Review of Literature
According to statistics, 3 out of 10 girls will become pregnant before the age 20 (). This social issue has effect adolescents in high, middle, and low social class. This has impact adolescents throughout history. Female adolescents engage in sexual activity at an early age between the ages 11 to 17, which leads to adolescent pregnancy. There are several causes of teen pregnancy connecting to peer pressure and sexual abuse. Adolescents have stated how their first sexual interaction was based on peer pressure. Sex is used an acceptance amongst peers. The idea of their peers are engaging sex, makes them want to prove their capability. Lastly, sexual abuse at an early age is a developing factor of early pregnancy amongst adolescents (). For most sexually active girls, they experienced some form of abuse (Bogenschneider, 2014).
There are numerous factors that play into the role of teen pregnancy. Majority of the time, these factors are connected to a lack of sexual education (Louie et al. 2009). These factors include sexual disease and adolescent pregnancy. Because of unprotected sex and having multiple partners, sexual transmitted diseases are high risk factor to adolescent’s physical health (Louie et al. 2009). For adolescent girls, this can lead to reproductive problems later in life. Adolescent can learn about these factors and knowledge about sex from their parents that can be beneficial to them in the future. These risk factors are from non-proper use of contraceptives and peer pressure from their surrounding peers.
Parents of the adolescents play a role in the adolescent pregnancy journey. During this time, it is hard for parents to establish a balance relationship with their adolescent. Many adolescents engage in sexual behavior based on how their parents’ perception of sexual activity (Bogenschneider, 2014). Communication amongst family members is not present about sex in many households (Bogenschneider, 2014). The studies have the shown the less likelihood for a female adolescent to engaging in sex from open discussions (Bogenschneider, 2014). The females who conversated with their mothers about contraception used effective methods to prevent early pregnancy.
There are four parenting styles, which are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and
uninvolved parents (). Authoritarian style is when a parent has a strict perspective and less warmth. Authoritative style is when parents provide a balance of assertiveness and warmth to their adolescent. Permissive style is when a parent provides more warmth than parameters. While uninvolved parents do not provide any support or assistance to the adolescent. Parents have a way of influencing their child’s decision and behavior. The adolescent often believed their mother or father engage in sexual relations prior before marriage, which is one of the reason they start to have sex early (Louie et al. 2009).7 out of 10 permissive parents also believe premarital sex is not wrong, while the 30% are more lenient to their adolescent engaging sexual activity (Louie et al. 2009). Also, these parents do not monitor their adolescent’s company or whereabouts. Authoritarian and permissive households shown how adolescents opposed the idea of social norms, which leads to a greater chance of conception (Bamurind, 1999).
There can be contribute factors for the reasoning of pregnancy. Does parenting styles have an impact on early adolescent pregnancy? There will be higher rates amongst authoritarian and permissive parents, however there are multiple factors that can contribute amongst the four types of parenting. This study will demonstrate rather not parenting styles have an impact on adolescent’s indulgence of sexual behavior and pregnancy. The study will examine the reason behind early sexual behavior amongst adolescent and the cause adolescent pregnancies. Also, this study will provide strategies and resources for adolescent to prevent risk factors.
There are 50 female adolescents between 14 and 17 who were pregnant or already had their first child under the age 2 were chosen from two high schools in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The diverse population consist of 53% white, 37% black and 10% Hispanic. Also, the socioeconomic status contained low, middle, high class standing. Parents/Guardians signed consent to give permission for participation. For compensation, the adolescents received a variety of gift cards from stores in their local mall. The participants were given the option if they wanted no longer to continue the study based on their comfortability.
The research lab consists of 25 desks with their name tags labeled. Participants completed a self-report questionnaire survey about their parents’ parenting styles. The parenting styles consist of authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved styles. Then another questionnaire asked about information about their relationship with their parents before the pregnancy vs. after the pregnancy. Questions regarding whether if the parents conversated about sex or if they avoided the conversation.
The research design is a quantitative research. The main independent variable is the four types of parenting styles, while dependent variable determines if each style has an impact on adolescent pregnancy. The study was a between-subjects design. Each participant was measured based on their upbringing parental styles. The data from the chosen styles were measured to examine which style leads a higher association of sexual behavior including adolescent pregnancy.
After receiving consent from parents, each household received a phone call about continuing the study and following directions for the in-person study. A week later, the first 25 students arrived with their parents. While in the waiting room, the parents were asked to fill out a demographic sheet regarding the adolescent’s age, race, and socioeconomic class. Then the participants were directed into the research lab that consist of 25 desks in five rows resembling a classroom setting. The participants sat down in their assigned seat with their name tags. The study began with the experimenter explaining the directions and open discussion for any following questions. The experimenter distributed the first questionnaire survey about their parents’ behavior to the participants. In the waiting room, the parents were given a survey about their parenting styles. Then after the participants finished the survey, the experimenter gave the second survey to the adolescent participants about their relationship with their parents before the pregnancy vs after the pregnancy. Afterwards, the experimenter asked the participants moved the desks into a circle. Each participant gave a summary about their experiences of being pregnant and their relationship with their parents. In the waiting room, parents were asked to sit in a circle. Each parent had the opportunity to explain their parenting style, stories and their perspective on their adolescent’s sexual behavior and pregnancy. Towards the end of the study, the experimenter gave a space for any questions or concerns. Following, the experimenter provided resources in their local area regarding safe sex education and adolescent pregnancy to the adolescents and their parents. They were thanked for their cooperation in the study and granted a gift card to each participant.
Does parenting styles have an impact on early adolescent’s pregnancy? The role of parent has an influence on adolescent’s behavior and choices. Authoritarian and Permissive parenting styles can contribute to a high demand and cause of early pregnancy. This prediction is consistent with the findings of other studies. The questionnaires consist of a wide range of questions about their experience with their parents. Throughout the study, the female adolescents who came from these households believed the lack of communication led to early sexual activity. As a result, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved had similar findings. Permissive was the highest because adolescents were given consent from their parents.
Strengths and Limitations
For the study, parents were aware of the study and provided consent for the adolescent to participate. In the study, the sample size represented the cultural population in the United States. However, statistics of pregnancy are different when comparing socioeconomic status (high vs. low). Parenting styles including authoritarian and permissive can be in both environments. The age population of adolescents is a wide range because puberty starts earlier for some adolescents. The effect size is large and has a stronger effect on the results of the study. The questionnaires are not reliable. The girls can provide untrue information or may perceive their parents differently.
As a result of the study, the goal is to educate young women at an early age about prevention of adolescent pregnancy. There should a plethora of access to information about sex education throughout the school system. It is the school’s responsible to contact parents and develop communication about their adolescents’ behaviors. Authoritative parenting style is a positive, healthy way to establish boundaries and communication. With this style, adolescents can be open to questions and find ways of effective methods during sexual activity. By educating them, it will prevent and reduce the likelihood of early pregnancy.
Based on the framework of the study, these findings can improve the general health of children entering adolescence. Since this development time can be very difficult for parents, there can be parenting classes for new and old parents. By improving parenting, it can create healthy development leading into adulthood. Also, these classes can be offer as courses on the college campus for those who look to have a family with children. This will give insight and reality of parenting. With this knowledge, parents and adolescents can live better quality lives.
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- Sexual behavior in the human female. New York: Ishi Press International Newcomer, S. F., & Udry, J. R. (1984). Mothers Influence on the Sexual Behavior of Their Teenage Children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 46(2), 477. doi:10.2307/352480
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