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Teenage Pregnancy in Malaysia

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    News headlines such as “The trials of teen mothers” and “Teen probed for throwing baby from window” can be seen in our papers every other week as we are faced with the ever-growing problem of teenage pregnancy. In most reported cases, these hapless young women even attempt to abandon their new-born In the most harrowing ways. Sexuality without social maturity often leads to pregnancy. These mothers are at high risk of not finishing school which often leads to them and their children living in poverty.

    Teenage pregnancy has become a rampant social issue ND it has emerged to become a very disturbing trend in Malaysia. A large number of girls have seek help from the Welfare Department about their predicament. Why has this social issue decreased rapidly in the last few years? Is there any co-contributing factor that has allowed this social problem to cause so much concerned to many people In Malaysia? We shall look Into all the aspects and dissect the theories and approach behind this social Issue that has plunged our society with devastation.

    Definition of Teenage Pregnancy Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy of a female under the age of 20 when the pregnancy ends. It generally refers to a female who Is unmarried and usually refers to an unplanned pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy Is defined as a teenage girl, usually within the ages of 13-19, becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to girls who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant.

    A pregnancy can take place at any time after puberty, with menarche (first menstrual period) normally taking place around the ages 12 or 13, and being the stage at which a female becomes potentially fertile. Teenage pregnancy depends on a number of societal and personal factors. Teenage regnant carries social stigma In many cultures of a developing country and It Is mostly outside of marriage. It brings about high risk of poverty, illiteracy or lower educational levels and ones it happens, such girl will ever have a mark that hinders her progress in future.

    How Does Pregnancy Occurs? During ovulation, one of the woman’s ovaries releases a tiny egg that begins to travel down the fallopian tube. During sexual intercourse, a man ejaculates millions of sperm that travel up the vagina, through the uterus and into the fallopian tube where the egg meets the sperm. When the egg and sperm fuse, it is called retaliation. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube. On auto ten Tanta clay AT travel, ten Tarantella egg arrives In ten woman’s uterus.

    A or 3 days in the uterus, the fertilized egg begins to implant in the uterine lining. Upon implantation, pregnancy occurs. If the lining is rich enough with maternal blood, it will continue to grow there and will become an embryo, then a fetus. After approximately 38 weeks, the fetus is ready to be born. The Sociological Theories in Teen Pregnancy For this social issue, we believe that the Symbolic Interaction Approach and also the Structural-Functional Approach is most suitable in dissecting the problem at hand.

    Why symbolic interaction and also structural functional approach you may ask? By definition, a symbolic interaction approach is a theory that describes the family as a unit of interacting personalities. This theory focuses attention on the way that people interact through symbols such as words, gestures, rules, roles, language The symbolic interaction perspective is based on how humans develop a complex set of symbols to give meaning to the world (Larsson & Retires, 1993).

    Meaning evolves from their interactions in their environment and with people. These interactions are subjectively interpreted through existing symbols. Understanding these symbols is important in understanding human behavior. Interactions with larger societal processes influence the individual, and vice-versa. It is through interaction that humans develop a concept of larger social structures and also of self- concept. Society affects behavior through constraints by societal norms and values. Self-concept also affects behavior.

    The symbolic-interaction approach has the roots in the thinking of Max Weber (1864-1920), a German sociologist who emphasized the deed to understand a setting from the point of view of the people in it. Symbolic interactions is also another term used to describe the study of individual human interaction in its social context. The word ‘symbolic’ refers to the fact that people interact with one another in society, they use the range of signs and symbols that have particular meanings in that society-everything from words to gestures to styles of dress.

    The fact that people don’t always agree on the meanings of particular symbols makes life interesting, as each person tries to achieve their social goals by using the symbols to their advantage. Life is a stage, and each person may play a number of different characters. The structural functional approach is defined as a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. Mile Druthers, one of the founders of sociology used what has been called an ‘organic metaphor’ for society.

    Druthers said society is like a human body-one big thing made up of many smaller parts. Your body is made of many different systems (nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system) that are themselves made up of organs (brains, lungs, stomach), and the organs are made f billions of cells of all different types. That’s not any one cell that is you’-you are all of your ells, working together in organs and systems to make up the total person who is sitting there, breathing and thinking and holding this essay.

    The issue of teenage pregnancy is concerned; the structural-functional theory is studied at macro-level (a broad focus on social structures that shape the society as a wangle) sun as Tousling on social Institutions Like religion, Tamely, coeducation, mass media, government and etc. Whereas, the symbolic-interaction theory looks into the Cicero-level (a close up focus on social interaction in specific situations) approach, an everyday interaction amongst family members, friends and peer groups. Teenage Pregnancy, a Social Concern in Malaysia Why is there a significant rise of teenage pregnancy in Malaysia?

    According to a report in The Star newspaper, the Welfare Department in Malaysia has already seen 111 such cases (as of April 2010). This number is a dramatic increase compared to the 131 cases throughout 2009. In 2008, there were 107 teenage girls who got pregnant. They were placed at Atman Series Putter, a rehabilitation centre and shelter hat provides training for youngsters, especially teenage girls who face social problems. The statistics provided by the Welfare Department are Just the tip of the iceberg, according to MAC Public Seer-wises and Complaints Department head Dates Michael Chon.

    Several years ago, early marriage as 12 years old, which brought to teenage pregnancy, was accepted as normal among publics. “Many cases have gone unreported,” he said, alluding to how Malaysian families viewed the problem with great shame. There is no Hollywood ending for girls who got pregnant here. “They become lost and some even ran away from home. Others threw away their newborn babies,” Chon said. He said he had handled four such cases last year and another three so far this year. “Some of the teenagers opted for illegal abortions when they found out that they were pregnant.

    This is why it is very difficult for us to collect such data. ” “Many of them did not think of the consequences of their action,” he added. He said many of these teenagers slept with their boyfriends out of the misguided notion that they were in love. That was because, not all people were educated enough to think about the effect and impact on the doers. Nevertheless, based on the online sources “Teenage Pregnancy Issue in Our World Today’, stated that: ‘.. In our world today, having sex before 20 years old is the in thing, it is even the normal all over the world.. ‘.

    This can be explained as, even though we are living in the modern society, the issue of teenage pregnancy is still accepted as normal. However, the difference between pregnant teenagers in the past and in the present is about having a legal relationship or not. Most of teenagers nowadays are willing to have sex, which can cause the teenage pregnancy, even without marriage.. In Malaysia, early marriage is considered as something important and they must o it for some reasons. The first reason is because of traditional roles, which plays a big role towards the early marriage, at the same time, teenage pregnancy.

    This is because, in term of traditional culture, early marriage among teenager can be seen as an alternative to get early pregnancy, at the same time proof that she is fertile. Besides that, for those from poor family, they are compulsory to get married early, when there is nobody will take care of them at their early ages. This is because, even though Malaysia is one of the developing countries, there are citizens who live in or Tamely Ana ay not nave sat Ole Incomes. I Norte, ten girl Trot poor Tamely will be asked to get married with someone who is richer than her, so that he can take care of her in the future.

    Teenage Pregnancy in Malaysia from the perspective of symbolic-interaction theory The symbolic-interaction theory studies how people, in everyday interaction, construct reality. According to Max Weber, the basis of social-interaction approach are people’s beliefs and values. Social life is guided by what each person stands to gain or lose from an interaction. This approach looks into the micro-level orientation a close up focus on social interaction in specific situations), an everyday interaction amongst family members, friends and peer groups.

    Family is define as a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the solicitation of children. Extended from the human “family unit” by biological-cultural affinity, marriage, economy, culture, tradition, honor, and friendship are concepts of family that are physical and metaphorical, or that grow increasingly inclusive extending to community, village, city, region, sainthood, global village and humanism.

    A family group consisting of a father, mother and their children is called a nuclear family. This term can be contrasted with an extended family. On the other hand, Oxford Dictionary define friend as a person that you know well and like, a companion, pal, or buddy. Peer groups refer to an informal primary group of people who share a similar or equal status and who are usually of roughly the same age, tended to travel around and interact within the social aggregate. Members of a particular peer group often have similar interests and backgrounds, bonded by the premise of sameness.

    However, some peer groups are very diverse, crossing social divides such as socioeconomic status, level of education, race, creed, culture, or religion. In the case of Teenage Pregnancy in Malaysia, we can study further on how everyday interaction among family members, friends and peer groups play important role in constructing this scenario. Left on their own, and confronted with their burgeoning sexualities and a budding curiosity about relationships, teenagers resort to their friends and peers, the internet, movies and magazines for information they desperately seek on sexuality issue.

    Most times, he information gleaned is sketchy at best, over romanticists and simply does not help young people make the right and safe decision, particularly on their sex lives- which would lead to problems like teenage pregnancy. Cassock. Proof Dry. Fatima Abdullah of Centre for Psychological Studies and Human Development, JIM said that recent study carried out on 8 young local pregnant woman revealed that 5 of them actually come from broken family- either due to divorce or death of father. This proved that less interaction among family members actually contribute to the problem of Teenage Pregnancy in Malaysia!

    Today’s youth are confronted with numerous issues regarding their sexual health, including teenage pregnancy. This is evident in studies done in Malaysia, such as the National Population and Family Planning Board Study on Reproductive Health and Sexuality in 1994 which found that adolescents aged 10 – 19 years old were already engaged in sexual activities, though the prevalence was less than 1%. In 2004, a similar study found that the prevalence of sexual intercourse among adolescents had risen to 2. 2%; and 0. 3% claimed that teen Ana Eden raped or semolina.

    In Malaysia, linage pregnancy amongst girls sees than 15 years of age contributed to 0. 15% of the total births in 2006. And as we all know, early childbearing, especially below the age of 18 years, entails a risk of maternal death that is much greater than the average. Thus, the Confidential Enquiry for Maternal Deaths Report 2005 showed that adolescents aged 15 – 19 years old contributed to 4. 8% of all maternal deaths. Moreover, since the first case of HIVE AIDS in Malaysia in 1986, there had been an increase in the number of infected young people aged 13 -19 years old.

    They now make up 1. 4% of the total reported cases. Factors that contribute to risky sexual behavior and reproductive health risk among adolescents include lack of sexual and reproductive health information, lack of skills in negotiating sexual relationships, inaccessibility to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, and peer pressure. For instance, the National Health & Morbidity Survey in 2006 showed that knowledge on HIVE sexual transmission was only 48% among those aged 15-19 years old.

    Another study by the National Population and Family Planning Board in 2004 found that knowledge of the different parts of the reproductive organs ranged from only 47% to 59. %. While the majority (95. 5%) had heard about HIVE, only 64. 1% had heard about other sexually transmitted infections. On knowledge about family planning methods, 77. 4% of adolescents knew about oral contraceptive pills but only 54. 9% knew about condoms. Knowledge about other contraceptive methods was very low, at less than 10% ( which clearly explained significant rise in Malaysia’s Teenage Pregnancy cases! ).

    Thus, it is important that we give our adolescents the knowledge and skills, as well as the positive attitudes and values that will empower them to care for themselves and their peers. All of us, regardless of what our role in society be it as a responsible family member, a friend or member of a peer group, should step forward and play our own role in preventing this issue As Dry. G. H. Borderland, the former Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: muffing people, especially as they embark upon their sexual and reproductive lives, must be able to protect themselves from diseases, abuse and exploitation.

    They have a right to information and to services. Giving young people information does not encourage promiscuity , rather it fosters mutual respect and hared responsibility’ As a conclusion, from sociological point of view, issue of Teenage Pregnancy in can be studied through Symbolic-Interaction Approach whereby everyday interaction amongst family members, friends and peer groups do contribute to the statistic of this social ill in Malaysia.

    TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN MALAYSIA FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONAL APPROACH THEORY According to EUNICE on a survey conducted in 2008, nearly 40,000 children born from Down marled Ana unmarried girls age a 15 to II around ten world, Ana unwanted teenage pregnancies are becoming a disturbing trend in Malaysia with a large umber of girls seeking help from the Welfare Department about their predicament. The department has already recorded 1 11 such cases this year, which is a dramatic increase compared to the 131 cases in 2009. There were 107 teenage girls who were pregnant in 2008. (Refer appendix no. ). “Many cases have gone unreported, they have disappear and some even ran away from home, while others threw away their newborn babies” The Star quoted MAC Public Services and Complaints Department head Michael Chon, as saying. A teenage girl becomes pregnant as a result of varying situations. Many of them come pregnant during long-term dating relationships. Other girls become pregnant after hooking up from the festivals and parties. And sadder, some girls get pregnant due to rape. Clearly, all teenage pregnancies are the result of unprotected sexual activity, whether voluntary or involuntary.

    In Malaysia, a country that is multiculturalism and celebrates its Asian identity and culture, most adults – parents and teachers – shun from speaking to their children and students about sex and sexuality, considering the topic is taboo and should not be discussed with young people. Left on their own and curious about sexualities and legislations, teenagers resort to their peers groups and mass media such as the internet, movies and magazines for their information. Most times, the information gathered is insufficient, over romanticizes and simply does not help young people make the right and safe decision.

    Let’s looks at the issue of teenage pregnancy using structural functional approach, that is to see the issue at the macro-level and focusing on social institution that are related such as religion, family, education, mass media and government. Religion Many societies, including in Malaysia, disapprove of premarital sex. The lack of religious knowledge and understanding of Islamic morality to be the cause of many teenagers involved in premarital sex that contribute to unwanted teenage pregnancy, even when their well-educated.

    Despite having a degree, it is not securing their future so as not concerned with social problems. Teaching of religious knowledge is more important than everything else. That is why children should be taught about religion since childhood. Early education for youth on the importance of religion is a must. At least, they can understand the danger or threat to come. Family These social issues are often associated with people who with low self-esteem, from a very poor family, children from a broken family, single parents and divorced parents.

    Also the children are exposure to abuse, violence and family strife at home. The role of parent is the up most important. Children should be taught, growing timidity, and performing ‘solar together at none. Parents snouts nave Decode close Travels to their children and share their problems and monitor what they are doing so not involved in negative behavior. Just imagine, some parents do not realize they child is pregnant in some cases. This reflects the low level of concern in the family. The lack of influence of the father role’ in adolescents identified as one of the cause of this social problems.

    According to EUNICE, a studies done on 2008, when fathers are involved in the physical care of their children before the age of three, they are less likely to sexually abuse their own or any other child in the future. Furthermore, in Malaysia society, the unmarried teenage mothers will be depressed when it comes to think about their boyfriend, who starts to leave them. Moreover, the mother will feel that she is being isolated in her own family, as nobody wants to take are of person who deliver baby without any legal relationship.

    This leads to the teenage mother to think that she is a burden for everyone and it is really hard for them to continuing their lives. As a result of depression, they may easily got mental illness, critical depression and some of them will commit suicide. Education With low educational ambitions and goals, its easier teens got into a social problem. EUNICE believes is the way to go is to equip the schools with the comprehensive reproductive health education program plus coupled it with life skills.

    One that addresses puberty and meaningful relationships, to explores gender norms hat shape boys notions of masculinity and equips teens with the skills to negotiate safer sex, if necessary. To ensure success, strategies must be designed to suit all youth segments because there is no is no ‘one size fits all’ application. According to EUNICE Representative to Malaysia, Mr.. Houseboys must take into account that not all teens and young people are in school or single. Some may have Jobs and may be married. Some may live with parents, some with friends or on the streets.

    To reach each and every one of them, we need a range of programs, delivered using a variety of platforms”. Schools for pregnant teens have been established and Malaysia’s very first baby hatch was introduced last year as a place where unwanted babies can be dropped off safely into the hands of caretakers. You can never go wrong with education. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. ” Mass Media I like to quote TIME Magazine, “teens exposed to the most sexual content on TV are twice as likely as teens watching less of this material to become pregnant before they reach age 20”.

    Social networking site now allows greater negative impact on the youth, if not monitored. So it’s no wonder many problems arise from its use. Added to the internet, a world without borders, make it easier to get pornographic materials. The inability of our government to find and block pornographic websites from being access Dye our teenager Is also a cause AT social problems. I nee only need to type a few words in the search engine, then can watch pornographic films. Unlike the hit movie Junco in 2007 about teenage pregnancy, there is no Hollywood ending for girls who got pregnant here.

    Adolescent sexual behavior which may also be influenced by alcohol and drugs, where these are popularize by a socialite in mass media. Government Laws and policies that are set by our government also may restrict adolescents’ access to information and services, for example, by limiting family planning to married people or requiring parental or spousal consent. In this country, pornographic materials are widely available so that everybody that includes children and teenager can buy at a low price. This means that anyone can have it as long as you have the money. These cause social problems in Malaysia.

    In fact, the government should draft and approve a new law “stronger penalties” for child rapists. According to former Prime Minister Tune Dry. Mathis Mohammad, the existing law a long time, and what happening at present is far different from the past, including pornographic pictures and pornography is so readily available. Earlier, the famous lawyer, Carpal Sings asked the government to amend Section 376 of the Penal Code so that the rapist children on death row in which under Section 376 (2) (e) of the Penal Code, the punishment for raping children aged 12 years and under is imprisonment not exceeding 30 years and whipping.

    The government also can’t tolerate the perpetrators of crimes and this issue should not be considered light and immunities need to recognize rape involving children. CONCLUSION Teenage pregnancy became a public issue right after the numbers of unwanted teen pregnancies went up. Teen pregnancy on the rise based on report by Welfare Department in Malaysia, year 2008 until April 2010. (Refer appendix no. L) The rise in the rate of teen pregnancies did not ‘Just happen’ as this report discovered several causes contribute to its occurrence.

    All parties, be it family, education system, government, and etc. Have a tendency of pointing fingers at youth who are in such situations, but have they ever wonder their responsibility itself to overcome the issue ? Since we have obviously identified teen pregnancy as a problem that not only affects individuals, but also affects our society as a whole, it is important to understand what causes the failure in macro level. Most of us agreed that family institution supposed to be a place to educate children to become more responsible towards themselves, family and society.

    Indirectly, it becomes an informal education to guide them to be a better person. But when it comes to topics surrounding sex, most parents are being conservative which is part of the Malaysian culture. Nonobservant or Locutions auto sex In Tamely still something cannot De allocates openly. But today, speaking from the perspective of an adolescent, they are more than willing to listen and discuss about sensitive issues but parents should know how to tackle the issues.

    In addition, parents can take several steps such as develop a tie with their teen especially girl, so communication will flow easily between them. This will also allow their teen to feel more comfortable discussing heavy subject matters, such as teen pregnancy. The consequence of having sex need to be stressed ND of course, archaic terms and ornate language need to be left behind. Besides parents, school can be considered as the second home for the teenagers and the teachers are their second parents. Therefore, the school should teach more about sex education and expose the student on the knowledge about sex.

    Early stage of sex education, the school can organize a campaign regarding this issue at the same time explain the way to prevent teenage pregnancy. This can help students to understand more about sex and the consequences of being young parents when they are still young and not ready to have that big commitment in life. Whenever they teach about sex education, they should explain to the students the hardship of being a young parent. Teachers must always remind the students about their goals in their life and do not ever disappoint their parents because their parents are depending on them in the future.

    One factor that is likely to be related to teen pregnancy but has not received empirical attention is exposure to television/movies sexual content. Refer to TIME Magazine quote, “teens exposed to the most sexual content on television are twice as likely as teens watching less of this material to become pregnant before they reach GE 20”. Movies such as Fools Rush In, Selma Hayes and Matthew Perry’s characters are terribly deceiving. Selma Hake’s character gets pregnant the first night she meets him, and shows up 3 months later on his doorstep to tell him.

    He is immediately supportive and marries her barely 24 hours after. Situations in movies such as these definitely give girls high expectations of men that seldom exist. Young girls need to know that nothing is usually ever like in the movies. The movies are meant to put young girls in an alternate reality better than the one they currently are experiencing, away from pain and anxiety. In addition, the movies definitely do not clarify the trials and tribulations that go along with being a pregnant teenager.

    Limiting adolescent exposure to the sexual content on television and balancing portrayals of sex in the media with information about possible negative consequences might reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. Parents may be able to mitigate the influence of this sexual content by viewing with their children and discussing these depictions of sex. Next, we believe there is a real need for government agencies and Nags to be more aware of the real facts in order to play a meaningful role in finding solutions to teen regencies.

    While proposals for better sex education, more shelter homes and baby hatches do help, they don’t actually deal with the basic problems. More important issues such as societal attitudes, poor reproductive health services for women, molecules government polices Ana regulations on women’s relents Ana Neal are ten real obstacles to any progress in this area. How do women cope and deal with their unintended pregnancies? Abortion services: where to find them, at what costs, how safe are they? These and other questions are unexamined because of the stigma and a conspiracy of silence surrounding these critical issues.

    As a conclusion for macro- level, be it the intervention from a parent, government, mass media and etc. , enough information should be given to encourage protection and provides youths with options if such a situation occurred. However, they should not condone the act itself. Without proper education and awareness, young mothers can only see one way of escaping their problems by abandoning, or worse, dumping their baby. Based on research we did at micro-level such as contribution of peers to teenage pregnancy problems we found that peer pressure is an early stage of pregnancies.

    This pressure causes sexual intimacy for the opposite sex. If a child hangs out with a group who is sexually active, then nine out of ten that child is sexually active too. Most teenagers opt to have sexual intercourse because they need to achieve the acceptance given by the “circle of friends”. The only way to be accepted is to have relationship with the opposite sex and have sexual relations. In some countries, teenagers face too much peer pressure to start having sex at a very young adolescent age. This kind of behavior may lead to unwanted teenage pregnancies.

    Certainly peer influence is one of the realities in children’s lives that seem largely outside of parental control. However parents can impact peer influence. By promoting particular friendships and by engaging in certain strategies parents can affect their children’s relationships with peers or peer groups which, in turn, can affect their risk for teen pregnancy. For example, parents can pay closer attention to their children’s wider circle of friends and help steer them toward more low-risk male and female peers. In addition, parents have a good reason to get to know their children’s friends ND their parents.

    Last but not least, teen pregnancy is a complex social issue influenced by many socio-economic factors and is accompanied by a range of moral Judgments. Teens may be at risk of pregnancy for a number of different reasons. Most teens clearly do not want to be pregnant, however, lack of information, poor access to birth control or birth control failure can lead to an unplanned teen pregnancy. Pregnancy prevention programs should address a number of issues that range from lack of adequate information and access to contraception, to social supports that encourage immunity involvement and educational pursuits.

    Programs should acknowledge and respect community and cultural norms that may include an acceptance of early marriage and/or childbearing. They should equip teens with the knowledge and skills to avoid a pregnancy, while at the same time support their right to make informed choices that may include an early pregnancy. Where teen pregnancy is a result of lack opportunity, lowered educational expectations, inadequate sexual health education and resources, then there is a need to address these underlying issues through discussions, analysis and action.

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