In 2011, a total of 329,797 babies were born to women aged 15-19 years, for a live birth rate of 31. 3 per 1,000 women in this age group (Center for Disease and Control Prevention). Flashing red and blue lights and noise from the ambulance have people from the neighborhood outside looking to see what happen. They see a paramedic pushing a petite woman, on the gurney, towards the ambulance holding her hand. What everyone begins to realize is that this is not a grown pregnant woman, but a pregnant teenage girl. Some neighbors are whispering with disappointment, while others do not care.
Teenage pregnancy is one of the biggest issues that we face in our society today from numerous reasons. “Recent estimates of teen pregnancies amongst teens reveal that an estimate of 1 million teens end up pregnant every year” (East and Felice). Many teenagers engage in sexual intercourse with the opposite sex because they are following the “in” crowd. Some countries, in their culture, early teenage pregnancy is acceptable and is looked at as a sign of fertility. In other countries, in their cultures, it is consider a shameful act, children having children.
Teenage pregnancies are due to these reasons: no parental guidance, raging hormones, peer pressure, and not utilizing birth control contraceptives. As adults, we all have been there where we first experience raging hormones. Some of us have parents that talk to us and help us get through this stage in our lives. During this stage, we have a huge flood of hormones that rage our emotions and change amongst teenagers. It is a natural sense of rebelling against order and rules. With this, the sexuality and liberation, causes teenagers to express their feelings through sexual acts.
Over the past years, sex has influences our teens in a major way. They can easily find sex where ever they go. They can watch on TV shows, newsstands, movies, and internet. This is due to the industry realizing that the 21st century teens are having sexual intercourse (unprotected). “1 out 4 teens have sexual intercourse by the age 16, even though they say this age is too young” (Manlove, Terry-Humen, and Ikramullah 197). So many factors play a part to the statistic of teenage pregnancy and peer pressure is one of those factors.
So many teens, nowadays, rather be part of the “in” crowd then to “stand out”. Peer pressure of sexual intercourse is the same as peer pressure to do drugs. Some teens are faced with being bullied because they choose not to have sex so early, by their partners or peers. A friend of mine’s son was bullied because he chose to remain a virgin and “stand out”. One in three boy’s ages 15-17 say they feel pressure to have sex, often from male friends. Teen girls feel less pressure–only 23 percent said they felt such coercion.
Researchers questioned 1,854 subjects between the ages of 13 and 24 in a national survey (Allen, C. 2003). I asked my friend’s daughter her thoughts of peer pressure to have sex. She stated, “Most teenagers think this the only way to have a relationship with their partner. They do not understand that this is not a requirement. It is not that serious”. In today’s society, young people with partners, especially girls having boyfriends, will have sex because they see or think this will change their relationship from a rocking relationship to a loving one.
These behaviors just lead to unwanted sex and pregnancies. Parents have a huge impact on their child’s life in all aspects, even sex. Nowadays, teenagers are lacking parental guidance due to lack of communication. “The impact of parental sex instruction was marked by a later age of onset of sexual activity and effective use of contraception” (Hutchinson and Cooney). One parent’s neglect can have a change the course of his/her child’s life. This can be due to a single parent household, who is probably working more than one job just so that they can live comfortable.
From personal experience, I have grown up in a household such as this. In the United States, about 35% of children are raised in a single- parent family (Annie E. Casey Foundation). Our teens need their parents help in understanding their feelings, how to say no when peer pressured, what exactly is a peer pressure, and how to get helped if they feel like they are being forced. Teens want their parents to talk to them about relationships and sex. I talk to my teenage daughter about it freely and openly. I show her respect in her opinion and let her ask any questions that may raise concerns.
With that being said, it can help reduce the number of teenage pregnancy, but not guarantee that a teen will not have sexual intercourse or become pregnant. We all know as a baby grows up, they mimic what their parent does. The famous phrase “monkey see, monkey do”. “Compared with young women with no family history of teenage births, young women whose sister had had a teenage birth and those whose sister and mother both had had teenage births were significantly more likely to experience a teenage pregnancy” (East, Reyes, and Horn).
As parents, we should not just leave sex education up to our child’s classroom teacher. Finally, you have birth control contraceptives that are not being used properly, which cause them to fail, classic reason for teenage pregnancy. There are so many brands and ways of birth control contraceptives that is easily obtainable, but most teenagers are too afraid to utilize them because they don’t want their parents to find out or anyone to look down upon them. I blame lack of knowledge on not knowing that clinics and doctors have to keep stuff confidential and the misuse of birth control contraceptives.
Even though, birth control contraceptives are not 100% preventable of pregnancy, they do have a high percentage of preventing unwanted pregnancies. An encouraging new report shows a big decline in the rate of teenage births. From 2009 to 2010, the birth rate among young women ages 15 to 19 fell 9 percent, to 34. 9 per thousand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is a record low for the 65 years that data have been available, and a remarkable 44 percent drop from the 1991 rate.
This good shift is largely the result of an increase in teenagers’ use of birth control — a fact that Congressional Republicans ignore as they seek to dismantle reproductive health programs (New York Times, 2012). The teenager stares at her new baby boy, not realizing the life she will occur in the future with her son. The various issues that aide to large range of teen pregnancy in today’s society should be a major concern. Adult pregnancy is no longer an “in” thing in our society. Every day, a teen is getting pregnant, which is a major social issue in our world.
Abma J. C. et al. , Teenagers in the United States: sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006–2008, Vital and Health Statistics, 2010, Series 23, No. 30. Allen, C. (2003, May). Peer Pressure and Teen Sex. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 24, 2012 from http://www. psychologytoday. com/articles/200305/peer-pressure-and-teen-sex Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n. d. ). Retrieved November 22, 2012, from http://www. cdc. gov/teenpregnancy/ East, P. L. , & Felice, M. E. (1996).
Adolescent pregnancy and parenting: Findings from a racially diverse sample. Research Monographs in Adolescence. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates East, P. L. , Reyes, B. T. , & Horn, E. J. Assoiciation between adolescent pregnancy and a family history of teenage births. Source: Dept. of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA. Retrieved December 2, 2012 from http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pubmed/17565624 Hutchinson, M. K. , & Cooney, T. M. (1998). Patterns of Parent-Adolescent Sexual Risk Communication: Implications for Intervention.
Family Relations, 47, 185-194. Manlove, J, Terry-Human, E, Ikramullah, E. 2006. Young teenagers and older sexual partners: Correlates and consequences for males and females. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 38 (4): 197-207 The New York Times (2012). Birth Control and Teenage Pregnancy. (n. d. ). Retrieved November 24, 2012 from http://www. nytimes. com/2012/04/19/opinion/birth-control-and-teenage-pregnancy. html The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Datacenter Kids Count . (n. d. ). Retrieved November 23, 2012 from http://datacenter. kidscount. org/data/acrossstates/Rankings. aspx? ind=107