Pregnancy in adolescents is an issue that has plagued the population for decades. The reasons for these pregnancies happening among teens are numerous. A few teen pregnancies are planned, whether to fill a void in their lives or another reason, but most are not. They can occur when a type of birth control fails, or when contraceptives are just simply not put into the equation. Bearing children is a blessing and a beautiful occurrence; however if it happens at the wrong time, it can be a challenge for everyone involved.
Teen pregnancy has lifelong effects on the mother and father of the child, the families of the pregnant couple, as well as the child itself. Their intentions may not be to become pregnant; however there seems to be little motivation to delay childbearing. These factors start a never-ending cycle of dependency. Financial struggles are common among young parents. Most teen mothers will earn their high school diploma, but fail to further their education in college. Without a college education, finding a career that will support a family is extremely difficult. Working for minimum wage will limit the opportunities of a family. Many young families inevitably end up on welfare because they cannot achieve financial stability alone.
Aside from financial trouble, social and emotional problems can also be experienced. The families of the pregnant couple are also affected immensely. News of the pregnancy is stressing from the moment it is received and compromises every member of the family. When confronted with this news, parents become uncomfortable and angry and while it is not necessarily meant for the daughters, it tends to be directed at them. Their anger usually originates from either feelings of failure in their parenting or the fact that they are faced with a reality that has been avoided. In most cases, the main reason for the pregnancy ensuing is a pre-existing issue of poor communication between the parents and the teen. The pregnancy can also further lessen communication, a “catch twenty-two”. It can also negatively influence any younger siblings.
The family is also the primary support; the ones who are meant to be there for the teens regardless of what are to become of their futures and despite all obstacles. There is good news, though. Most families successfully make adjustments to accommodate the new addition. Good family support systems also give the pregnant daughters higher self-esteem and a greater satisfaction and sense of fulfillment in life.
The child in this particular situation is greatly afflicted as well, and it starts from conception. Complications can arise simply as a result of the mother’s young age. Most children born to teenaged girls have a low birth weight. More than half of those girls do not seek the required pre-natal care in the first trimester, which also contributes to health complications. Aside from health, the children usually show signs of issues in academic performance and other social behavior problems. These children are less likely to be recognized by teachers as favorable students, more likely to receive low test scores, and even withheld a grade. The futures of those children are usually as austere as that of their parents. They can have low incomes, less than desirable homes, and continue the cycle of dependency.
Of course a simple solution to this epidemic of “children having children” is unlikely. The reasons for it happening are numerous and complicated and a problem of this magnitude is far too complex in the first place. Teens lack life experience and knowledge and desperately need guidance in this stage of life. Encouragement to postpone child bearing and to focus on the future will lead to successful lives. Attending sexual education classes is beneficial in lowering pregnancies in adolescents. They provide valuable information about contraceptives and sexual health. I believe teens need to know beforehand that parenting is much more rewarding later in life because they will have more to offer their kids. Perhaps if this issue of adolescents having children is solved, or even just decreased in frequency, it will improve the futures of many lives for decades to come.