Studies indicate that by the senior year in high school over sixty percent of teenagers in the United States have had teen sex. It is stated that thirty four percent of teenagers are getting pregnant at least once before the age of twenty and of that number over eighty percent are high school age teens.
These statistics of teenagers getting pregnant are alarming because teen pregnancy can cause severe emotional, financial and academic problems for the teen, the child and the family.
Why are Teens Choosing to Have Sex and Willing to Risk Pregnancy?
There are many reasons why a teenager chooses to have sex at a young age that can either result in sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy or even planned, unwed pregnancy. The idea that they feel a need to conform to certain teenage ideals is a leading cause for high sexual activity in teens and teenagers getting pregnant.
They want to feel like they belong. If everyone else is having teen sex, why shouldn’t they? It can also be a strong need to rebel against the control they feel from parents or society at large. That feeling of “You can’t tell me what to do.”
Studies show that troubled teens with low self-esteem are more likely to have teen sex. They may feel they are unloved at home or not popular enough with their peer group so they become promiscuous to attain a level of acceptance with their peers and often times with hopes of finding the love that is lacking in their lives.
The leading cause of teenagers getting pregnant on purpose is a feeling of being unloved or excluded. They believe having a baby will give them someone to take care of who will finally love them unconditionally. These teenagers are not only risking getting pregnant, but are welcoming it as well.
There are financial, physical, emotional and academic damages to teenagers who become pregnant. Teenage mothers are less likely to complete high school and it’s even more unlikely for them to continue on to college.
They no longer have the education to back them in finding a well paying job. As all parents are aware, having children is expensive. Often teenage mothers are on welfare and live in substandard conditions or they continue to live with their parents.
Teenage pregnancy can also put a financial strain on the teenage father and his family as well now that society is requiring more fathers to share in the responsibility of supporting these children born out of wedlock to teenage girls. These difficult circumstances can put a critical financial strain on the parents of these teens as well as the teenage mothers and fathers themselves.
The pressures of being a teenager can be a heavy burden. Adding a child that needs constant attention and care to this time of turmoil can be overwhelming to a teenager. Feelings of guilt and resentment are harbored and can do damage to the teen parent, the baby and even the parents of the teenager.
On top of everything else, babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to weigh less and be underdeveloped at birth. This can give them a poor start from the very beginning of their lives.
Statistics also show that teenage birth mothers have a higher rate of female issues later in life than if they waited until they were older to get pregnant.
How can teen sex and teenagers getting Pregnant be prevented?
The most important and effective way to prevent teen sex and teenagers getting pregnant is to talk with your teen about these issues. Since teens can become sexually active at a very young age, it’s important to talk early and often.
Studies indicate that teenagers who have open, positive communication with their parents are less likely to become sexually active or become pregnant. This means you need to listen to your teen’s point of view not just talk while your teenager listens. To be effective, these must be two-way conversations.
It’s important to discuss your own standards of behavior with your teen and to make sure that you give your teenager the correct facts about pregnancy and teen sex. These talks need to include discussions of sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid them.
Most parents agree that abstinence is the preferred choice. However, no matter what your own belief system may be, it’s important to also discuss the benefits and limitations of contraception. If sixty percent of teens are having sex and thirty-four percent of teenagers are getting pregnant, you need to do everything you can to help your teen be well informed and emotionally strong to ensure they have all the tools and resources needed to make the right decisions and not become part of these alarming statistics.
Teen pregnancy and teen sexual activity are highly concerning to parents today, especially given the alarming statistics. It is important that parents talk with their teens on the reasons for why they should remain abstinent and the dangers of teen sex and teenagers getting pregnant at an early age.
With open communication and a supportive environment, you can greatly reduce the risks of your child becoming sexually active, resulting in pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease.