TEEN PREGNANCY AND ITS ISSUES
Teen pregnancy is an issue. It is an issue that we must face no matter how bitter it might be. More and more teens are becoming sexually active ever year and the country is directly receiving the damage from it. More and more teens are having babies that they are not ready for. Most of them are not responsible or financially solid people to support another human being while living on their own. The majority can not even live on their own alone. It is a sad but true fact that is around us. “The first emotional state that most pregnant girls face when they find out they are pregnant is shock and then denial. Most girls dont want to believe that this has happened to them. When the panic settles, the girl is faced with an enormous decision, should she terminate the pregnancy, keep the baby, or give it up for adoption once it is born. Panic and desperation can become overwhelming at this point and some teens, due to thinking that there is no other option may try to inflict self-harm or even terminate their own pregnancies. Mood swings and abnormal reactions to things that may have never bothered them before are common.” (1, Teen Pregnancy)
To solve a problem, we must look at the root, the stem, where is the problem starting? Some might say that parents are to blame for not educating their children with the right information or bringing them up the right way to be able to handle themselves in sexual situations or to prevent those situations from ever happening. There use to be virtually no support for teens in struggle before 1985. The US government was not nearly as established at it is today and they had other important issues to deal with. If there is not much to do in the area that you lived in, you were bound to start being curious about sex and eventually trying it and with contraceptives and protection not being as accessible as it is today, many teens were getting pregnant and receiving no support from anyone. Not from their peers, their family, and obviously no strangers. Those teens struggled much more than today’s teens. Sex education was not everywhere and a lot of the school’s did not think that it was even necessary. So with no education and no support for pregnant teens, the situation was very bad for a pregnant teen. There are many different reasons for why things were the way that they were in the past.
When the people of a country are too concerned with things like war and poverty, they will not be starting programs to provide contraceptives to teens because they decided to have sex. It is very logical but the great thing is that the people today are much more thoughtful in a way that they act upon thought with movements to help to educate and support teens all across the nation. “Teenage pregnancy has always been present in society. There is research stating that about half the women, born between 1900- 1910, who were interviewed were non-virginal at marriage. This contradicts some thoughts that premarital sexual behavior is something new. There was another study done in 1953, it found that one fifth of all first births to women were conceived before marriage. Even before our modern openness in discussing sexual behavior and acceptance that it does occur, it was quite routine.” (1, Teen Pregnancy)
I am not one to come and suggest exactly how we should go about solving this problem. I do however believe that I know the source of such a high increase of teen pregnancy is from. In today’s society, we have a very demanding world and the expectations from today’s teen are very high and only growing. The teens obviously realize that the expectations are high and the road has only begun so anything that will provide a temporary escape for a teen seems like a great thing to do for one’s self. It is only natural to for intercourse to take place when he/she needs to feel good. The feeling of love and no worries relieves that person from everything going on around them. The extreme pressure of their peers, parents, and others will not exist during sex. I think the main reason why the teen pregnancy problem is increasing is because we are demanding more and more from today’s teens and expect them to be completely normal. How can people modify the environment of a human being to a point when there is no time for play and when there is, because of extreme competition that teen will feel guilty about that little bit of time, I know I do. I believe that education is very crucial to attack this problem. The best way to go about solving problem such as teen pregnancy would be to do it indirectly. It is a moral decision by that person weather or not to be sexually active. Educators can provide today’s teens with the correct information about the consequences of sex and the results in different scenarios. I think that it is a huge misconception with the educators that the only represent one side of the story when trying to educate teens.
I do not know what they take teenagers for but most teenagers do think in many different ways and have a very open mind to multiple ways of going about every situation that they encounter daily. There are many downsides to only showing one side of a consequence as well. If the educator only shows that one cause and effect, the teenager might think of other ways of going about doing something and the result just might be the same. I truly believe that the educator is to be blamed for this. If we are going to be educated about something, let it be complete and correct. Teen pregnancy is something you can generalize about nor is something you can analyze as whole. It is something that must be experienced to be understood. One of those experiences in your life that changed your mentality completely about something you felt so strongly about. I would most definitely say that teen pregnancy is a subject that will only be full comprehended when experienced. There are many teens having sex today that are lucky and do not have to go through a harsh pregnancy ,but some are not so lucky and are faced with so many problems from different sides that they feel completely hopeless. A good way is to be an educated and to know or to hear people who have gone through a pregnancy during their teens to know how they coped with their problems as a teen that was unprepared for such event. This way others can know what not to and what to do at different times during their time of pregnancy. Many people will give advice to these teens, everyone has an opinion when it comes to a serious issue and will have advice to give to another just because they are older. A teen has to know which advices to take and which ones to ignore otherwise; they will end up doing many wrong things during lifetime. I read this teen’s experience that gave me a new perspective on what a teen feels after they have gone through their pregnancy. “I had to go through the delivery without him. The baby had jaundice, and I had to go through that alone. I also had to experience my son nearly dying from a blockage that he had developed in his lungs and airway. I am very proud of myself. I stayed in school until the day I had my son. I took one week off and then went back to school. Many parents are no as supportive as mine are. Mine let me stay with them. They never once made me think about abortion or even adoption. They even watch him, while I attend school and take part in school functions. A majority of girls are kicked out of their parent's home, unless they follow their parents' decisions. I lucked out in some aspects but suffered in others.
If I knew that I was going to have the same baby and end up in the same position that I am now, I would do it all over again. I know that just telling most teens to wait, to have sex, won't change their minds. I don't want to tell anyone what they should and should not do. They would probably feel that I was bossing them around and sticking my nose where it does not belong. I just wanted to shed some light on the many experiences that, at least some teens, go through when they are put in a situation similar to my own.” (1, Tera’s Personal Essay on Teen Pregnancy) As anyone can tell, this teen has matured very much and wants to help others in coping with their pregnancy issues. “Parenthood catapults teens instantly into adulthood, robbing them of the joys of being a child. Once these opportunities are missed, they are gone for good.” (25, Teen Pregnancy) Teens these days mature very quickly when they need to. I strongly believe that people that are faced with issues as serious as this step up to the plate immediately and fill in the shoes needed to be filled. One thing that is very obvious these days is that there is a lot of effort being made to help those in need in our country. The United States Government and those in charge are constantly starting programs to help the people that need the aid. Teens are the next generation of tomorrow and they will run the country soon enough and one of the reasons why it is worth it to invest so much into them is because the money will flow right back into the country. “The Birmingham Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, a multiagency project involving health, education and voluntary organization representatives, this year received funding of pounds 350,000.It has now been awarded an extra pounds 194,000 which it plans to spend on projects to boost the self-esteem of vulnerable young people and broaden their horizons. The cash is part of a pounds 40 million Government grant to support the implementation of its Teenage Pregnancy Strategy over the next three years.” (1, Blakemore)
The setting where teen pregnancy is a very big issue is places where communication is not practiced as well as in other countries. We learn about pregnancy from the media. We learn from the characters in TV shows, we hear about adopted children, and so on and so on. If people are not exposed to such things, they might not have the insight to think that much through the future before starting to have sex. If you do not know what can happen, it can still hurt you and in this case ignorance is not bliss.
I think that in those parts of the United States, it is the parent’s job to make sure their kids are fully informed about the consequences and risks of being sexually active. “Another large issue parents deal with is when is the correct time to teach their kids about sexuality and sex? Some feel that if they present this information to their children at an early age then we are encouraging them to go out and have sex. However this is not the case because if the parents do not talk to the kids at an early stage of development, the kids will pick up the information from the television and from older kids.” (1, Teen Pregnancy)
Maybe a more practical approach would be to fund the schools with the right program to teach teens about sex instead of having different methods and ideas thought all over the country. Some countries have come up with alternative ways of going about pregnancy prevention.
“British schoolchildren are to be controversially asked to consider oral sex instead of intercourse as part of a drive to cut the country's high teen-age pregnancy rate. Sex education teachers are being trained to discuss with youngsters various "stopping points" on the road to full sex in a bid to reduce the number of pregnancies, the government said yesterday. The idea is to encourage pupils to discover "levels of intimacy," including oral sex, that stop short of intercourse. But the plan has been criticized as unworkable by family groups. “(1, Britain schools to suggest oral sex to cut teen pregnancy rate)
How can the country put so much money into something and not have it be done right. Some of the methods that are being thought are so contradictory. The result of all those different ways of teaching teens can not be the same and if the government feels like they can teach all these different things and still be improving the country, they are dead wrong. They are in no doubt in the right direction; it just needs more and more organization. Out of all the governments around the world, I believe that the United States cares most about its own teens and takes the quickest and most effective steps to better the living of their youth. We can all criticize each other’s methods of doing things but with so much education and results, we should be able to come up with an idea of the general direction of how sex education should be thought. Some places are teaching abstinence, some are teaching contraceptives, some are teaching both, some are not teaching at all, but they all have one thing in common, that is that they all have the same good intentions. The United States population is growing more and more every year.
Our maximum capacity will be reached before we know it if we go at this rate. If we have organization with teen pregnancy, maybe we can control the population and help the kids that have already been affected by it. We can not forget the large population of kids that are affected by this every year. Kids without parents are more prone to go in the wrong directions through their life which can be directly blamed on that irresponsible teen. I predict that medical technology will help our situation more and more, however, I will also state that I do not think that we have a real good chance at reaching the teens of this country through the ways that are being practiced in our time. Teens are going more and more apart from their parents and trying to enforce harsher and more limits will never work and these passive methods will only return weak results so we should hope for new medical science technology to help control teen pregnancy growth. I truly believe that the problem will be solved in the future.
Let’s take into account all the people that are sexually active in this country that are teens. So then we must ask the question, is teen pregnancy really an issue. Does it really matter when a human reproduces and starts new life? Well I believe that in this society, it truly does. There are standards and rules that everyone must obey by and those teens will face many issues in growing their children to be normal. Their kids will not have access to the same kind of opportunities that older parents would. An older parent would have an established structure of living that would set good standards for the child and create stability within in the family to keep everything together. Today’s society is not an easy to live in even with a normal family, if one exists, or you can set one to be a standard normal family. Today’s world is filled with chaos and structures on the basis of efficiency. If you are an individual with a chaotic life trying to raise children into a chaotic world, your chances of raising a good citizen to be is not very likely. I am not one to say that is not possible to grow a child in an unstable family, but children learn a lot from their parents and peers at a young age, and having instability within the family at a young age most probably will not have a good effect on the child. We must not forget the man in the relationship because with the help of the man, the relationship can be a lot better than it would be alone.
So communicating with the men as well and making them understand their woman better, is a very a good idea. “The months of pregnancy can be disorienting, even frightening. As such, this is an especially important time to reach out to friends, relatives, and your partner for multiple doses of the nutrients you ordinarily need to sustain your sense of well-being and enthusiasm for life.” (35, Pregnant Fathers)
With every problem, there is usually somebody to blame, someone that came up with a plan that did not work through or someone that didn’t see all the negative effects appearing all over the place. In the case of teen pregnancy I do not believe that there is a single person to blame for such high rates in teen pregnancy in the United States and still rising. If I had to blame one person for the raising teen pregnancy rates, I would blame the media. If it was not for the media promoting sex so much, the kids would not be so stimulated to have sex. I specifically would blame the advertising and marketing people that blatantly use sex to sell their products to their young consumers. The advertising industry knows really well that sex sells and it is a very easy to sell rather than try to directly target one audience with an interest that everyone might not have. Everyone is interested in sex, it’s free, it’s stress relieving, it’s natural, the reasons or excuses you might say, go on and on. I guess if you try to compare the overall market with our teen pregnancy rates, you might see some patterns. As the years passed by, the advertising industry realized that sex sells really well and used it more and more to succeed in selling their products. Today we have millions of products that are screaming for a consumer in their places and there are advertisements that directly or indirectly relate to every one of these commercial products which will equal a lot of advertisements. A massive amount of adds leads into more and more promotion of sex. The teens have the most potential to buy and try new products. I think there is a strong connection between more technology growth and sexual activity amongst teens in all countries, especially the United States. This is why I believe that teens need to be educated more in environments that they are most likely to listen to sex education. Sex education is not effective when the listener, teens, know that they are being educated about sex.
When teaching a teen about something that they are uncomfortable about, the educator must put themselves in their position and try to relate everyday situations of each of those students, combine them, and create a lesson that in tales not only sex but also how things lead to sex. This way the teen can be aware of signs or notice things from their own view.
Teens have different reasons for having sex. They can vary in every situation by a lot. Every person has their own reasons but once they have it once, I think it is pretty common that they will want to have it again unless their first experience was something really terrible. We are all curious people and want to try something like sex as soon as possible if it not going to hurt us. Basing on that, I believe that a strong reason why people do not have sex is because they believe that it is going to hurt them in some way and damage their life. I truly believe that making people think this way is very wrong and all sides must be presented when talking about using protection. If protection is used correctly, it will work. It is as simple as that, but I know that at many high schools and other places where experts on the area give lectures, they only present the diseases that one can contract if they had sex and their condom somehow broke. The people teaching the teens about sex need to be more specific; today’s teens are much smarter than the previous generations and will do things down to the specifics if they are explained correctly to them. For example, one might argue that avoiding abortion then adoption is a much better choice than abortion. “Many pregnant teens avoid having an abortion, but then turn to adoption. It is estimated that approximately 3% of pregnant adolescents will place their infant for adoption. Some authors say that increasing the difficulty of having an abortion will have an effect on adoptions. They argue that pregnant adolescents will turn to adoptions instead, but then again the reason that there is such a low adoption rate is because of the legalization of abortions in the United States. According to a national survey data for 1986 and 1987, there are approximately 50, 000 unrelated adoptions per year in the United States.
Of that 50, 000 adoptions, one half involved an infant.” (1, Abortion And Teenagers)
The teens know the consequences, and some decide to take on the risks but if we are on the side of the teens, we must inform everyone, even the sexually active, about exactly how to protect themselves from STD’s.
So overall, when trying to educate students, do you move more towards the passive side or active side when using protection? Do you tell the kids to never have sex or do you tell them exactly how to use protection? I believe that teens are very rebellious and saying to never have sex will probably stimulate the thought of having sex. I say lets not teach either side let the process of sex education be more interactive. Use technology to better educate these kids because different things are going on in each of their heads. How does any educator know how to teach each kid about sex? We were are grown up different families and have different moral systems, the system of sex education must be constructed around every one of these teens rather than one system for all teens. Technology has done a lot of damage; it’s about time it gives back to the people.
When thinking about the future of pregnancy, specifically teen pregnancy, I see more advances as far availability of prevention products and better ways of communication and education of sex. As I researched for this paper, I found out more and more solutions that are already in progress and will be more widely used around the nation but we must be aware of is that the rates of pregnancy are very high at places in rural places and those are the places that will not have access to these great advances. I think that the best thing will be to make sure that those places are at the same level that the urban and suburban areas are at before starting to make further advances in the field. Many methods have proven affective such as,
“In the first year that condoms have been distributed on Santa Fe public high school campuses, the number of reported student pregnancies has dropped by two-thirds” (1, Aaron Baca) but we will always be facing counter solutions that will set everything back. The most obvious motive of all that runs this idea is money and it will be a motive for as long as humans want better living ,but the point is that good is always stronger than evil. MTV is a good reflection today’s youth and will be for a quite a while. “MTV, the first 24-hour music network, has been structured around youths ranging from the age of 12 to 34. In fact 28% of their viewership is under the age of 18. You ask why bring MTV into something sexual? Well, the music videos shown tend to center their theme on gender portrayal sand sexual or violent content. Women are portrayed as passive characters and sexual objects. 81% of the videos that contain violence also contain sexual imagery.” (1, Sex in the New Millinium)
Many people are there to just criticize the way of life of these teens and draw conclusion about why or how they are pregnant.
Some maybe right and most are wrong but at the end we all know that pregnancy is not something that most teens look forward to. Now that I am ending my research paper I found somebody who felt the same way I feel after all this research and expressed it very well taking into consideration that I feel like everyone is being too supportive of teens having sex without caring or realizing any consequences. I find that support is needed for these teens but society might be encouraging teens to have sex instead of supporting them.
“Birth-control failure? Pressure from their partner? Ignorance about birth control? No. Forty-five percent of these girls had no higher aspirations than having a baby so why wait?
Among members of the general community, only three percent would have guessed that teens would want to become pregnant. Nearly half of the public at large appears convinced that pregnancy was a case of youngsters thinking it couldn't happen to them. Among the teens themselves, only 23 percent fell into the can't-happen-to-me category. Not surprising, after that first blast of cold water, the med students note that those most likely to become pregnant are the teens that aren't doing that well in school, and have no plans beyond high school or beyond the next nine months, for that matter. This should serve as a challenge to parents, teachers and counselors: give all youngsters some clear lessons lots of them in life's hard realities.” (1, SOME STARTLING NEWS ABOUT TEEN PREGNANCY).