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16 & Pregnant

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FC: 16 & Pregnant

1: Most teenagers don’t plan to get pregnant, but many do. Teen pregnancy is one of the most difficult experiences a young person might ever face. The U.S. teen birthrate is the highest in the developed world. The birthrate for teenagers (age 15-19) declined from 1991 through 2005, falling from 62 live births per 1,000 teenagers in 1990 to 40.5 in 2005. Teenage pregnancy is the results of many social issues, such as: poverty, poor education, history of physical and sexual abuse, unemployment, and poor self-esteem. The more we understand the factors and causes that contribute to teenage pregnancy, the more likely an appropriate response and solution can be found to this growing social problem. In order for there to be a solution we must first examine how and why the world works by reviewing the four theoretical perspectives: functionist, conflict, feminist, and interactionist.

2: Rosemarie Tong explains that “feminist theory is not one, but many, theories or perspectives and that each feminist theory or perspective attempts to describe women’s oppression, to explain it causes and consequences, and to prescribe strategies for women’s liberations” (Social Problems, Chapter 1; page 15). By analyzing the situations and lives of women in society, feminist theory defines gender (and sometimes race and social class) as a source of social inequality, group conflict and social problems. As stated in the introduction the overall birth rate declined, but for Black and Hispanic teens remained higher than any other ethnic-racial group. Minority girls are more likely to be poor, more likely to come from broken families, and more likely to lack adequate education. Therefore feminist would argue race plays a major role in the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies.

3: Many people credit teen pregnancy to poverty and growing up in a poor neighborhood. Although, poverty is a great factor that leads to teenage pregnancy, the lack of money is not the only reason for teen pregnancies, but pessimistic attitudes and values that comes with low socioeconomic status that leads to poor decision making. Conflict perspective is essentially based on the Karl Marx’s thoughts on class struggle. According to his theory, the society is divided in two groups, namely haves and haves not’s, that is, rich and poor. There is a direct connection to social class and life choices. Conflict theorist would argue that the incidence of teenage pregnancy increases proportionately as ones socioeconomic status decreases. This can be attributed to the effects that a lower socioeconomic status has on ones living environment, education level and future opportunities. Therefore, the socioeconomic status of a teenager can increase the risk of teenage pregnancy and as a result impact their future opportunities

4: From a Functional perspective, parental guidance can be a major step in the prevention of teens becoming sexually active and pregnant. In this perspective, there are several factors we can observe that can contribute to teens becoming sexual active and pregnant, however, it has been documented that the more parental interaction and bonding between parents and their teenagers, the less likely they will become sexual active, thereby, reducing the risk of becoming pregnant by at least 60%. | Many teens have sex and get pregnant due to various social reasons. Some have sex as a result of peer pressure. They do not realize the long-term consequences involved in having sex as well as having a baby and becoming a single, teenage, young mother. The image on right (, date and photographer, unknown) is of a young single mom, who was a teenage mother and have since had two additional children with no spouse. In this image she is distressed and tends to be neglecting the children. Teenagers are not prepared to handle the emotional and psychological demands of having a baby and therefore, have a chance of becoming depressed and neglectful of the baby.

7: From the Interactionist Perspective, teens are pregnant because of labeling. Statistics tells us those teens that live in poverty, comes from a broken home or have little interaction with parents will have a great chance of becoming pregnant. This behavior is common for teens with these social disadvantages. | The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that from 1991 to 1996, the teen birth rate in the United States declined substantially. This decline took place for girls’ ages 15 to 19 in all racial and ethnic groups. But despite improvements, the U.S. continues to have a teen pregnancy rate more than twice as high as that of any other developed country. Across the nation, programs are working hard to keep kids from having kids. We recently visited Wilmington, NC to show an audience how one group called Girls Incorporated, is fighting teen pregnancy. Girls Incorporated has centers throughout the country. The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the western industrialized world. More than 4 out of 10 young women become pregnant before they reach the age of 20. More than 75% of these pregnancies are unplanned. Teen pregnancy costs the U.S. at least $7 billion annually.

8: The many causes of teen pregnancy are often argued throughout the Planned Parenthood sector. Statistics show that if a teen was the child of teenage parents then there is the possibly that they, too, will repeat that cycle. One could argue that the reasons for the high rate of teen pregnancy is because kids aren't taught how to remain abstinent, they group up in broken homes, they are neglected, they aren't taught how to protect themselves, sex is not talked about in the home, peer pressure, curiosity, etc. Most parents avoid the sex talk until it's too late or they provided the wrong information as to what sex is and what the risk are when not using protection.

9: The picture to the right, reflects a young teen moms who has become homeless, living with her young child in shelters and on the streets. (, photographer unknown, date unknown). With the high rate of teenage pregnancy comes the high rate of abortion, the high rate of high school drop outs, and unwanted pregnancies among other things. Teen pregnancy affects education since only one third of teen mothers earn their high school diplomas and 1.5 % earns a college degree by the time they reach 30.

10: The primary reason that teenage girls who have never had intercourse give for abstaining from sex is that having sex would be against their religious or moral values. Other reasons included, fear of contracting a STD (sexual transmitted disease) and not having met a right person. Teenagers with a good emotional attachment to their parents are less likely to have a teen pregnancy.

11: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy released the findings of a new study on sexual behavior among teens. The study found that teens want to hear what their parents have to say about sex, love, and relationships. They care what their parents think. So the National Campaign is offering ten tips for parent to help them get involved and keep their kids from having kids. 1) Be clear about your own sexual values and attitudes-communicating with your children about sex, love, and relationships is often more successful when you are certain in your own mind about these issues. 2) Talk with your children early and often about sex, and be specific! Initiate the conversation and make sure it is a dialogue, not a monologue. 3) Supervise and monitor your children by establishing rules, curfews, and standards of expected behavior, preferably through an open process of family discussion. 4) Know your children's friends and their families; welcome your children's friends into your home and talk openly to them.

12: 5) Discourage early, frequent, and steady dating. Group activities among young people are fine, but allowing teens to begin steady, one-on-one dating before 16 can lead to trouble. 6) The power difference between younger girls and older boys or men can lead girls into risky situations. 7) School failure is often the first sign of trouble. 8) Help your teenagers to have options for the future that are more attractive than early pregnancy and parenthood. Help them set meaningful goals for the future, talk to them about what it takes to make future plans come true and help them reach their goals. 9) Be media literate-know what your kids are watching, reading, and listening to. Remember, you can always turn the TV off, cancel subscriptions, and place certain movies off limits. You may not be able to fully control what your children see and hear, but you can certainly make your views known.

13: 10) These first nine tips work best when they are part of strong, close relationships with your children that are built from an early age. Express love and affection clearly and often, listen carefully to what your children say, spend time with your children engaged in activities that they like, be supportive and interested in what interests them, and help them build self-esteem. Remember, it's never too late to improve a relationship with a child or teenager. may not be able to fully control what your children see and hear, but you can certainly make your views known.

15: There are many options for possible solutions that have proved to be effective in drastically reducing teen pregnancy. Ultimately, abstinence is the cure to teenage pregnancy. There should be abstinence educational classes offered as part of middle school/junior high school curriculum. These classes should be Christian based, which encourages teens to postpone sexual activity until marriage or until they are mature adults that can handle sexual activity and a potential pregnancy in a responsible manner.

16: WorkCited B, Rachel. "Teen Pregnancy and Social Class: A Sociological Analysis." Yahoo! Contributor Network. N.p., 06 June 2011. Web. 30 July 2012. . BizChicks Blog. "Let's Get Real About Teen Pregnancy." Bizchickblogs. N.p., 02 Feb. 29011. Web. 30 July 2012. . EHow Contributor. "How to Avoid Teen Pregnancy.", n.d. Web.

17: WorkCited Family FirstAid. "Teen Pregnancy Statistics and Teen Pregnancy Facts.", n.d. Web. 30 July 2012. . Leon-Guerrero, Anna. Social Problems: Community, Policy and Social Action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2010. Print. Nikki-Nicole. "Teenage Pregnancy in American and Its Effect on Society.", 13 June 2011. Web. PBS Video. "Explore PBS." PBS. PBS, 04 Feb. 2005. Web. 30 July 2012. . Pearce, Tess. "IBSSblog." IBSSblog. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2012. .

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  • Title: 16 & Pregnant
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