Have you ever been flipping through the channels and come across one of the many shows involving teen mothers? They are hard to miss these days! I’m sure most people immediately begin ranting about how the media is giving unnecessary attention to these teens that have already made poor decisions. Many people feel these shows actually encourage teen pregnancy because in some cases it is glamorized by the media. Let’s discuss some of the many reasons that there is an increase in teen pregnancy.
With a lot of the media’s attention on bikini’s, short shorts, smooth, bare skin and ways to look good, it is hard for young immature minds to be drawn into the sexual aspects of today’s society. The media promotes sexual activity for all ages but inadvertently pressures teens more than any other age. They claim to be preventing teen pregnancy by placing adds about safe sex all the while their advertisements and movies all emphasize “sex, drugs and rock and roll! ” Alcohol is another area where the media is promoting teen pregnancy. It seems like all activities are shown to be more fun if they are done with a beer in your hand.
Unfortunately teens are drawn in by the thought of having fun or escaping reality. Teens experiment with drugs and alcohol. These products lower a teen’s ability to control their impulses and actions. Alcohol and drugs can lead to teens having not only unplanned sex but also unprotected sex. People under the influenced become impaired and are not capable of making a good decision. They do not think before they act. These are just a couple of reasons that show how today society impacts teen pregnancy is. The media has led us to accepting a whole set of different values and behaviors. Another item affecting teen pregnancy is parenting.
There are several factors and parenting styles that influence and encourage sexual promiscuity. It is not just about how you raise your child; it also involves your actions and your relationship with your children. If the parents are flirtatious, display sexual behaviors, watch movies with pornography or inappropriate behavior, then the teen gets the message that it is okay. Parents need to demonstrate good values, boundaries and the meaning of sharing yourself with someone for love not just gratification. Teens need to learn to respect themselves and their bodies. The respect is so important to developing confidence and personal boundaries.
Some parents are constantly downgrading their child and telling them that they are terrible and worthless. These actions lowers a child’s self-esteem and the teen often acts out and starts seeking the love they feel is missing in their life. Eventually the teen will become sexually active to satisfy the need to be loved and accepted. Parents need to be positive and consistent and turn the negatives into positives. My mom always says, “For every negative, a child needs to hear seven good things. ” I try to remember this when my children are naughty or do something wrong. Children that live in single parent homes are also at risk.
Having solid relationships is important to the development of children. Kids that do not see the other parent will often seek out love to replace the relationship they are missing. Many times girls abandoned by their fathers will seek out boyfriends to replace the missing male figure. They will do whatever is necessary to be accepted so that they can satisfy the emotional and physical love they crave. Education and participation in activities is essential to preventing teen pregnancy. Children who are taught to value education and become active in activities such as sports, music and debate are less likely to be involved in risky behavior.
Active, busy teenagers are more focused and they find value in themselves instead of looking elsewhere for gratification. They become more confident and productive. Parents need to talk to their children and encourage them to participate in activities that interest them or will help them in the future. Activities not only help prevent risky behavior but they also teach teamwork and responsibility. They will learn skills that will be used throughout their lifetime. As disappointing as this may be, poverty is also a huge factor. Girls living in lower socio-economic circumstances are more likely than their wealthier peers to become pregnant.
It has been said that teens who experience “despair” are more likely to turn to motherhood as a way to fit into this world. Many of these girls are not able to see that they have other options. Most of these girls lack the funds to purchase birth control. Families in poverty struggle to pay rent and provide basic needs and cannot provide opportunities for their children. Children growing up in poverty do not always have a strong education and are not exposed to information such as ovulation, menstrual cycles and human reproduction. Some of the schools in poverty areas are overcrowded, underfunded, understaffed and not safe.
Due to poor conditions, the school may not even be able to offer outside activities to promote a healthy lifestyle. A good education is key to a child’s success. The movie “Freedom Writers” is a great example of the effects of poverty on teens and education. Our society needs to be progressive but turn back the hands of time when it comes to morals, values, parenting and family. We need to go back to when the family came first and was the core of life. If we could boundaries in place and family values reestablished then maybe we could start to turn the corner on many issues, including teen pregnancy.