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Keeping Teens from Getting Pregnant

Many different people in the United States and many other countries around the world are affected by various public health issues. Teenage pregnancy, which occurs in human females under the age of 20, is one of these health issues. Teen pregnancy is a social problem that has existed for a long time and is prevalent in many communities. Every year, three-quarters of a million teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant, with only a tiny percentage planning to become teen mothers (Martin et al., 2015). This paper aims to see if parents can talk to their children about sex and vice versa and look at ways to prevent teenage pregnancy. Teen pregnancy typifies negative outcomes for children, parents, and the society. The affected teenagers may find it difficult to complete their schooling and as a result, are more likely to become poor adults who rely on public assistance hence initiating the need to have adequate programs and efforts of both parents and children to fight the problem. Affected teens also present poor educational, behavioral, and health outcomes, which in turn affect health care provision.
The problem of teenage pregnancy affects the entire community and hence the need to examine its cause, effects on individuals and the society. It is important to note that the cause of teenage pregnancy is not always the fault of the individual persons affected since there a series of influences, circumstances, and miscommunication found in social dysfunctions, communities, and families that provide a platform for teens to engage in sexual activities that give rise to pregnancy (Aspy et al., 2007).
According to Births research that Martin et al. carried out in 2015, 2014 showed teen births accounting for 6.3% of total births and 13% of non-marital births in the U.S.. Over the years, the birth rate for U.S. teens has shown different variations with an increase in 2006 and 2008 and a drop from 2008 to 2014. Despite the decline, teenage pregnancy is still high in the U.S. and many countries around the globe. Teen pregnancy has often been a priority for the public and policymakers due to its high economic, social and health costs for the teens, taxpayers, and families. As such, there is a need for teens and parents to play a greater role in preventing or reducing the number of teens getting pregnant. There is nothing more important in solving a problem than engaging in constructive communication (Aspy et al., 2007). As such, solving teenage pregnancy requires teens to see the value of seeking advice from their parents. This will help them share their expectations and values, which in turn aids them in having a foundation that can sustain them against adverse influences of peers and popular culture.
Communication that is, between teens and their parents is fundamental in controlling some variables that foster teenage pregnancy (Aspy et al., 2007). Such variables may include taking part in high-risk behaviors such as the use of drugs, smoking, and drinking, choosing the wrong group of people as friends, poor school performance, lack of future goals, low self-esteem, poor decision-making skills and lack of role models. Combating most of these factors that characterize teen pregnancy requires parents to talk to their children about different aspects of life including helping them plan their future, expounding on the negative effect of getting pregnant at a tender age, helping them choose friends as well as installing effective modeling and reinforcing family values in their homes.
Parents need to have adequate and appropriate parenting skills that do not create miscommunication between them and their children on different issues, ways of life and family core values (Aspy et al., 2007). They should create avenues that guide their children’s development and behavior, talk to them about sex as well as ways of preventing sexual advances from male or female friends. Besides, they should be involved in youth education and enforce consistent and adequate discipline to their children while also talking to them openly about issues relating to sex, relationships, love, and responsibility. When such talks accompany questions about what teens want to achieve in life and their interests, teens will be in positions to see the consequences of their choices and decisions, and as a result, they will make good decisions (Aspy et al., 2007).
Furthermore, families, individuals, and communities should play a key role in preventing teenage pregnancy while providing comprehensive solutions to the issue. Teenagers should talk to their parents on economic and social issues that affect their ways of life in one way or another. As such, parents would be in a position to design effective measures of helping their children overcome the problems while also seeking external assistance in cases of adverse concerns. Besides, individual teens should take steps that ensure they are not a statistic. They should dedicate themselves to youth involvement in community activities, social work, employment, good performance in their schools as well as towards developing their interpersonal skills that include communication and problems solving abilities. It is also important that there are volunteer opportunities available for youth that would help them occupy their time.
Apart from the efforts that parents and teens can put to avoid behaviors that lead to sexual activities that would result in pregnancies, the community can also work towards preventing such occurrences. As such, to prevent children from getting pregnant at an early age, communities should engage in building the social aspect of teens through setting up parent and teen support groups, which teach sexual education and life skills that, are relevant to the modern world. Besides, setting up school-based health centers providing easy access to contraceptive services is also another way family and community members can help in preventing the pregnancy. Parents should engage their children on different issues surrounding the use of contraceptives and guide them on their benefits as well as their counter-indications. Additionally, churches and other community organizations should make commitments to support schools and other agencies efforts in preventing teen pregnancy.
Moreover, there is a need to prevent teen pregnancy since early childbearing increases the health risks to mothers as well as their newborns, especially in low-income communities. It also increases long health problems and maternal deaths, babies born by teens become exposed to the risk of dying than those born by adults and experience low birth weight with long-term effects hence health concerns as well as affect income potential and violation of the rights of girls (Kohler, Manhart, & Lafferty, 2008). Such effects deteriorate the future economic prospects of teens and hence the need to take necessary steps towards combating the problems through family initiatives and community and schools programs.
Of all the advances that parents, schools, community programs, and teenagers can employ to prevent early pregnancy, sexual abstinence is the only preventive measure that guarantees no risk of becoming pregnant while also protecting the teens from the risks of sexually transmitted infections. Many individuals may view abstinence as a decision based on moral and religious beliefs. Nevertheless, teaching sexual abstinence in schools and speaking about it by parents as prevention for pregnancies should not be based on such beliefs. Parents and teachers advising teens on sexual abstinence is the sure way of making them realize the responsibility that characterizes sexual activities. The more information teens consume on sexual abstinence, the higher the chances that they may choose to abstain hence recognizing the efforts of preventing early pregnancies.
Primarily, many individuals often find it difficult to wait until marriage before having sex while at the same time trying to avoid rushing into it and make costly mistakes. As such, advising teens to consider delaying having sex until they are older, in a stable relationship with one partner, more responsible, have become independent of their parents or have jobs may help in preventing teenage pregnancies.
Choosing either abstinence or delaying sex requires that teens consider taking some further steps that will protect them (Kohler et al., 2008). Such steps include choosing friends carefully and ensure they are those who want the best for them and respect their decisions not to have sex. They should also be beware of situations such as group drinking that could lead to unsafe sex, partners that want sex as prove of love as well as listen and learn from those teens who have gone through early pregnancy and their parents about their life experiences.
Given the reality of increasing number of teen pregnancies despites many efforts to reduce the problem, it is essential to provide broad information to teens on how to use different contraceptive techniques while engaging in sexual activities. Notably, most sex education- programs have one message, which is, “Do not have sex- but if you do, use a condom” (Khouzam, 1995). As such, they do not give students extensive information about various techniques of birth control, other methods of preventions and condoms. As a result, adequate prevention of teenage pregnancy via this method should entail appropriate information about how to obtain different methods of birth control, how to use them, where there are found and how to use them including the possible side effects of some of them.
Most teens do not know the real consequences of having children at early ages hence the need to expose them to the harsh reality of raising babies and the adverse effects that unplanned pregnancies cause in both the newborns and their mothers. As such, teenage mothers should be made aware of the terrible effect that their offspring will have on society in future as well as the high risk of the cycle repeating once such children become teens (Kohler et al., 2008). Teens must also be made aware of the fact that an unplanned pregnancy will take effect their standard ways of lives such as the inability to finish high school. Therefore, when teens are exposed to such information about the results of an unplanned pregnancy, they will be in positions to analyze whether sex is worth the risk.
As aforementioned, preventing teenage pregnancy may come down to overcoming communication barriers between parents and their children (Aspy et al., 2007). According to the National Campaign reports, teens believe their parents influence their decisions regarding sex, love, and relationships more than the media or their peers (Martin et al., 2015). As such, starting a conversation about sex earlier enough in the life of a child often prove beneficial.
In conclusion, there exist many public health concerns that affect different people in the United States and different countries around the world. Among such health issues is teenage pregnancy. The issue is a social problem, which affects the entire community, and hence the need to examine its cause, effects on individuals as well as on the society to come up with adequate preventive measures for the betterment of communities.
The above analysis shows it is the job of schools and parents to teach teens about the adverse effects of teenage pregnancy through effective communication and other earlier mentioned options. Many parents have abilities to influence their children's decisions strongly when they take adequate time to be involved and committed to their children when the issue of sex arises. On the contrary, the schools should also do their part to provide the necessary information that would help in preventing pregnancies as well as encourage teens to make responsible choices when considering having sex. Besides, teens should also engage their parents or guardians on issues about their sexuality through effective communication and share so that they can accord them necessary assistance and advice on such matters. As such, the responsibility of adults should be that aims at providing teens with a thorough understanding of contraceptive techniques, abstinence, and the consequences of sexual activities.

References
Aspy, C. B., Vesely, S. K., Oman, R. F., Rodine, S., Marshall, L., & McLeroy, K. (2007). Parental communication and youth sexual behaviour. Journal of Adolescence, 30(3), 449-466.
Khouzam, H.R. (1995). Promotion of sexual abstinence: Reducing adolescent sexual activity and pregnancies. Southern Medical Journal, 88(7), 709-711.
Kohler, P. K., Manhart, L. E., & Lafferty, W. E. (2008). Abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education and the initiation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(4), 344-351.
Martin, J.A., Hamilton, B.E., Osterman, M., Curtin, S., Mathews, T., & Division of Vital Statistics. (2015). Births: Final data for 2014. National Vital Statistics Reports, 64(12), 1-64.

August 09, 2021

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