Teen Pregnancy: Educating the Future Parents of Our Society
In 2012 in the United States, the rate of teen pregnancy is at its lowest level in nearly forty years. However, teen pregnancy still remains the highest among the developed countries in the world (Weiss 1). Most teenage girls are getting pregnant at a rapid rate. Pregnancies can occur because of the misusage of condoms, unawareness of birth control, or intentionally. Some pregnancies are unintentional and unplanned because of teens not being educated on sexual activity. In today’s society, teenage girls want to feel accepted and raise their self-esteem.
Engaging in sexual activity and getting attention from guys makes them feel attractive and beautiful. Is there a solution to reduce teen pregnancy and are all precautions being taken? If teens were better educated on sex and teen pregnancy, could pregnancy be prevented? I believe that sexual education classes should be imposed in schools to reduce this problem and help teenagers think about their actions before acting on them. I have first-hand experience on teen pregnancies. My mother was a single, teen parent. My mother birthed my sister at 17 and me at 18.
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My mother was under age 21 with two children. It was hard living in a single teen parent household. Since my mother was so young it was like my sister and I was my grandparent children. My grandparents had to provide for their children and my sister and I. With my mother having two small children at home she didn’t graduate from Data shows that approximately 67. 8 per 1,000 women aged fifteen through nineteen, are becoming pregnant each year (Weiss 1). In 2010, teen birth rates declined for all races except Pacific Islanders (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The consequence of teen pregnancy is: teenagers not graduating from high school, having miscarriages and maternal illnesses, and the newborns are born at low birth weight (Weiss 1). Teen pregnancy can be a financial burden on government assistant programs like child healthcare, WIC, and foster care. Since a majority of pregnancies are unintentional, sexual education is an effective solution because this would teach students about abstinence and contraception. Sexual education should be put into schools so that teens can learn about pregnancy, safe sex, and prevention methods.
Teen pregnancy is a problem in the United States because of teens not being aware of the consequences of sex and not being fully educated on sex. Where I am from sex ed isn’t taught in school. The people in our school system think that is a topic that supposed to stay in the home. I think this idea is crazy because every time you walk into that high school another girl is pregnant. For example, Janaye, my best friend, was seventeen when she got pregnant. She was pregnant by this senior in high school while she was a sophomore.
She was very happy to be pregnant and very unaware of the consequences that came along with pregnancies. Janaye thought they were going to be a small, happy family. The guy was a star track and football player and was promised a full athletic scholarship to the University of Georgia. He was highly upset she got pregnant; he stopped talking to her. She was very hurt, and saw her fairytale life was not so fairytale after all. She became depressed and thought the world was against her. On February 21, Janaye was rushed to the hospital, where she was had her miscarriage at four months pregnant.
It’s true the Lord doesn’t put more on you then you can bear. Now Janaye is a sophomore at Georgia State University and has been on the Dean’s List since her freshman year. When starting middle or high school, teenagers are transitioning into the real world. Teenagers are trying to find a way to fit in with the popular kids. Friends and cliques are formed and either you are popular or unpopular. Also, this is the time where girls become interested in having boyfriends. Hormones are beginning to affect day to day activity, and guys begin pressuring girls about having sex.
When some girls experience heartbreak or does not want their boyfriend’s to break up with them, they will find a way to keep the boys in their lives by having sex to get pregnant. On Lifetime Movie Network there was a showing of this movie called The Pregnancy Pact. The girls in the movie were only teenagers. They made a pact to get pregnant so that they can keep their boyfriends. Peer pressure also makes young teenagers engage in sex because they are afraid of being judged and ridiculed. From being young before, I have experienced times where I almost succumbed to outside ressure and have sex like my friends. I felt left out because when they were conversing. I could not share my own experience. I soon found out that sex was not everything. I learned that a woman’s body and attractiveness does not define her. In the book, Not My Kid, Gabriella encourages her daughters that range in age from seven to sixteen that they should take care of themselves first and then pursue a relationship with someone else (Elliot 94). He advises her daughters to be self-sufficient, have their own career, and interest. I agree with Gabriella because it does not matter how pretty a girl is.
If she does not love herself a guy won’t love her either. Girls should treat their body as a temple and cherish their body. True beauty comes from deep within. There are many solutions that could prevent teen pregnancies. Sexual education in schools is a positive way of teaching teenagers about sex. The two types of sexual education are comprehensive and abstinence. Comprehensive education encompasses topics such as abstinence, contraception, homosexuality, and sexually transmitted diseases (Cozic 177). Abstinence education teaches the topic of refraining from indulging in any type sexual activity.
The classes should not only focus on educating students on sex, but also have a section about self-esteem and teaching girls about loving themselves. This will teach girls that they can wait to indulge in sex, and they do not have to engage in sex to feel beautiful or accepted. Also, the class could teach ways of dealing with peer pressure and how to react forcing situations. However, the class should not solely focus on women. Boys are just as important in this process. The class should teach young men that young women need to be respected.
Young men should not pursue girls with the intent of just having sex or for their appearance. Instead, men should consider their intelligence and personality. Greg, a character in the book, has three daughters and advises them not to fall in a guy’s trap because he only wants one thing. Greg explains that he knows these things because he was a young boy before and has preyed on vulnerable girls (Elliot 94). Making pamphlets and passing them out to teenagers about sexual awareness is another small step that can be taken to prevent pregnancies. Among teaching about sexual education in schools, other solutions are to teach sexual education in churches, invite an experienced speaker to come and speak at a community center about sex, and parents can form sexual education groups. Although this will not resolve the overall problem of teen pregnancy, sexual education will be one solution to help reduce this problem. Many parents are overly concerned about whether sexual education should be taught in schools because it will encourage their children to have sex. Also, parents are concerned about the appropriate age their child should start learning about sex.
Parents who support sexual education feel that the classes are an effective way to ensure their teens are taking all precautions before participating in sex. Many parents do not feel comfortable talking to their children about sex which is why they support sexual education in schools. Parents do have a partial decision on whether sexual education should be taught in schools or not. I disagree that sexual education encourages sex because teens are entitled to make their own decisions and nothing can encourage them do something.
Teaching that something exists is not the same as promoting it and students understanding the difference between teaching and telling them to engage in sex (Cozic 181). Either teens are going to engage in sex or they are not. If teens are not learning about sex at home or parents are afraid to talk to them, they will start looking for answers in the wrong direction through media and their peers. In the article, “What Do Parents Want”, a survey was conducted to determine the level of support for Sexual Risk Avoidance Abstinence Education among 1,002 parents. These results ensured that parents supported abstinence education. out of 10 parents preferred abstinence education over comprehensive education. Although parents feel that abstinence education is better than comprehensive sex education, the choice solely is up to the teens because they are the ones this will affect. Data shows that the rate of teenage pregnancy when compared to other decades has declined to its lowest level due to teens using contraceptives better (Weiss 3). Incorporating both will give teenagers a chance to choose what decision they want to make when it comes to engaging in sex instead of parents making the ultimate decision for them.
Being realistic, everyone has been young before and wanted to have sex. Regardless of the restrictions a parent places on their teenager, the choice is up to teen whether to have sex or not. In an interview with Shunta Orr, a teen mother at 19, admitted that she wished she would have waited until she was established in life to have a child. Now that she is raising a teenager, she says she constantly tries to keep him on the right path which is hard because of him being a young male.
She constantly encourages him to not have sex and creates a relationship that will allow him to discuss his thoughts about sex. Mrs. Orr understands that it his decision at the end of the day which is why she does not pressure him about sex but reassures him of the consequences of having sex. People believe that incorporating sexual education is wrong because teens will become curious and begin to think about engaging in sex. Some people think that teenagers should not learn how to have safe sex and practice abstinence. Others believe that schools should not teach any sex education at all.
In Sexual Values Opposing View Points, Kristine Napier is a health and science writer and president of the board of directors of the Responsible Social Values Program. This is an abstinence based sex education program for middle school students. She maintains the viewpoint that safe sex is untruthful advice and dangerous for teenagers who hide it. Napier argues that while teenagers ignore the safe sex directives, hearing the message encourages them to engage in sexual activity (Cozic 213). This type of sex education leads to increases in pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease among teenagers.
The successful alternative is one that stresses abstinence only. On the other hand, Randy Engel is a longtime opponent of school sexual education. Engel criticizes classroom sex education, including that which stresses abstinence or chastity, for violating the intimate sphere of children. She maintains that “chastity industry” insults parents, the natural and competent instructors of children, by portraying them as sexually ignorant (Cozic 201). I understand that people may believe comprehensive education encourages sexual activity.
However, I still believe that comprehensive education which includes abstinence will still help the prevention of pregnancy. For example, if a young teenage girl is engaging in sex, there are many options that she could seek such as birth control and female condoms. These both are parts of comprehensive education that could prevent her from getting pregnant and possibly getting a sexual transmitted disease. People cannot be naive to the fact that teenagers are going to engage in sex whether sexual education is imposed in schools or not.
Teenagers are going to have sex if they want to, and by being better educated, they will know the precautions to take to prevent sexual transmitted diseases and pregnancies from happening. In conclusion, the problem of teen pregnancy can be reduced with sexual education in school. The problem of teen pregnancy has decreased when compared to other years. However, this is still a problem because young males and females are not well-educated about sexual intercourse. Teenage years are the hardest years because teens are faced with peer pressure, self-esteem issues, and the feeling of wanting to belong.
By having sexual education in the schools this can teach teens about ways to deal with peer pressure, abstinence, and contraception. In order for the problem to be solved, many solutions must be taken into consideration and not avoided because parents are afraid their children will partake in sex. If something can be prevented from happening, parents and schools should do everything in their power to help. The main solution is to incorporate sexual education classes for abstinence and contraception. Remember the futures of our teens are in our hands.