The Problem of Teenage Pregnancy
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Sirens and the flashing lights of ambulances impel everybody to a certain point where they have to look outside to see what is happening as if a supernatural force was compelling them. From what they can see, a paramedic is holding a young girl and telling her to hold on. As the stroller rolls and the adolescent girl passes by, the onlookers notice a ball as they say, or a huge lump under the covers of the cotton sheets. What really caught their eyes is that the pregnant girl is not a woman but a teenager. Some of the onlookers are stunned by the fact that a child is going to give birth to another child. For others it is a blessing in disguise, because there are people out there in the world who want a child, but they cannot have one.
The case of teenage pregnancy affects our society to such an extent that it is going to be a nationwide issue. In the United States alone, the cases of teenage pregnancies are hitting an all-time of 1 million teenage pregnancies per year (Leishman, 2007).
The influence of sex is having a really intense effect on a teenager as the time progresses. Sex is everywhere these days: in movies, television programs, on the Internet, and in magazines. Movies and TV shows contain sex scenes (Arai, 2009). The film industry realised that teenagers are having unprotected sex. They are currently producing a number of commercials with sexual content in order to increase views of their advert and the sale of their products. This sexually explicit content on our television has made children, as long as they are old enough, watch television and be exposed to erotic contents. Although children are too young at the age of 16 to have sex, one out of every four teenagers has had sexual intercourse at 16 years.
The other impact that contributes to teenagers’ engaging in sexual behaviours is peer pressure. With the increasing number of teenagers having sexual intercourse, teenagers feel like they fit in with the rest rather than stand out from the rest (Thompson, 1997). Peer pressure works like that of drugs and alcohol drinking. Some of teenagers will go to such extents as bullying teenagers who have not had sex with their partners. So many teenagers just go out of their way to have sex just to prove their peers wrong. Young people in today’s society seem to have boyfriends as a desirable and normal thing to do, it is very important for a youngster to be seen with a boyfriend or a girlfriend; it makes them feel important and wanted (Farber, 2009). Having a partner is usually pleasing in many ways; couples spend much time together, they drink, smoke and make out, kiss each other passionately. This will ultimately lead to a sexual intercourse. Teenagers expect that having sex will turn their relationship into a blissful excitement or change one of the partners into a devotee. Boys are not only the ones who demand sex from their girlfriends. Girls also ask for sex, girls who have the need to feel loved usually demand sex from their partners.
Parents play a key role in teenagers’ sexual lifestyle. The children, whose parents are completely honest, friendly and open with them, feel more secure and loved, and they do not get into early sexual relations (Thompson, 1997). The complete neglect of a parent can lead a child to have a completely different life. When a parent is not around and pays more attention to some other activities more than children, the children turn to boys in order to feel treasured. Most parents do not know that their children are having sex; teenagers always lie to preserve their innocence. Talking to your child will help prevent pregnancy, but even this move is not guaranteed that they will not engage in sexual activity. As to where these children get their behaviour from is that most of them saw it when they were growing up and hence now they are just practicing what they saw. Sexual education should not be limited only at schools; children should be taught about it at home as well.
Adjustment to a teenage mother is not easy. Teenagers have to miss school because of their appointments with doctors. When a woman is pregnant, she undergoes some emotional changes in her lives such as the rapid growth of hair and the appearing of acne on her face. This effect causes her to feel like she is unwanted by her own society and her parents as well. She starts contemplating her actions and starts preparing for pregnancy (Leishman, 2007). By preparing for pregnancy, teenage mothers start going through financial, emotional and psychological responsibilities of being a mother. Most teenage mothers end up eventually dropping out of school, and most of them do not return. Since they have a low level of education, most teenage mothers face a bleak future. They have to work about two to three jobs in a day just to provide for their children. Despite the fact that there are numerous options for a teenage mother like abortion and adoption, most of them are unaware of this option that they have or they choose to raise their child on their own.
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There are unexpected circumstances that a teenager has no control of. Rape, prostitution and molestation are some of them. Some teenage pregnancies are as a direct result of rape or sexual abuse. Carnal abuse victims tend to have a low self-esteem and are led to believing that the purpose of their lives is to fulfil the needs of others (Farber, 2009). They become more vulnerable to sexual advances, and also victims of incest may plan to get pregnant as a way of escaping from their victimisation. Teenage mothers stare at their newborn babies not sure what kind of lives they are going to live in the future. This makes them have much stress, which eventually will lead to depression. Teenagers become pregnant for various reasons. They are many factors that have to be taken into account to know what kind of situation made them pregnant and the various options that they face. Getting pregnant as an adult is not conventional anymore, the society is moving very fast and instances of adolescent mothers is becoming really widespread in our societies. Every day adolescent children become pregnant, which is why teenage pregnancies are a social issue today.
Teenagers who became pregnant should be taken to counselling sessions. This session will enable them to cope with their situation. Teenage mothers will come to terms with their situation, and this will eventually lead to accept what they face and understand that the society does not hate them as much as they think it does, they do not have to feel like they have to serve anyone in the society anymore (Thompson, 1997). This will also mean that they can also go back to schools and continue with their education, so that they can have an adequate future and be able to provide for their children. Rape victims and victims of sexual abuse should go to counselling sessions, this will make them overcome their terrible experience, help them become better mothers for their children, because some of young mothers that became pregnant through rape tend to take it out on their children when they grow up. Babies are innocent, they are just victims of circumstances in situations like this, they should not be treated badly or face any form of discrimination from the society because of the circumstances in which they were born.
Fathers also take responsibility for taking care of such children. Most teenage mothers end up taking care of those children alone without any form of emotional and financial support from the father of the baby. Parents should be caring and supportive of their children, many children become pregnant due to the parents’ neglect, children need to feel loved, cared for, and needed by their parents. If they do not feel that way, they will search for that feeling elsewhere; and this usually does not end well. In today’s society, teenage pregnancy is a common feature. Necessary measures should be taken into place to make sure that children are not exposed to sexual content at the early stages of their lives. Sexual education should be taught in schools and also at home, parents should have a responsibility of talking to children about sex and its consequences, teenage girls should know what they will be facing when they become pregnant and how much they will lose in those situations.
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