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TEEN Pregnancy - Growing Up TOO Soon

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BC: REE | RRR | REFERENCES: WWW.EHOW.COM/WAY SOCIAL PROBLEMS, 3RD EDITION-LEON-GUERRERO WWW.BING.COM (all images are from Bing - Dates of photos unknown) WWW.PBS.COM WWW.SERIOUSLYSENSUAL.COM

FC: PORTFOLIO | Teen Pregnancy is on the rise and has been for the last several years. Let's look at some sociological perspectives on this problem and some possible solutions to help minimize this problem.

1: This young single mom is obviously stressed and exhausted. Behind her, her three children are left supervising themselves until mom is alert. Single parenting, which is usually a result of teen pregnancy, leads to child abuse and neglect.

2: From a Functional perspective, parental prevention, or the lack of parental prevention, can be a major step in the prevention of teens becoming sexually active and becoming 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%. Lots of teens have sex and get pregnant due to various social reasons. Some teens have sex as a result of peer pressures; to fit in with other peers of the crowd that are having sex and getting pregnant. 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 the front cover represents a young teen firmly saying no to the pressures of having sex and becoming pregnant. (Image taken from Bing.com, Date and photographer unknown) The image on page 1 (Bing.com, 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 can therefore, have a chance of becoming depressed and neglectful of the baby.

3: The issues surrounding teen pregnancy has always been a heated debate. In 1996, a report done for The Family Connection of St. Joseph County and the Memorial Health System, stated that almost one million teens were becoming pregnant in the US at that time and that was fifteen years ago. Although teen pregnancy has a high rate among the lower income bracket family, it has no respect of person. Just as a teen in poverty is at risk of becoming a teenage parent so are those that are raised in what we consider privilege.

5: From the Interactionist Perspective, teens are pregnant because of labeling. Statistics tells us that teens who 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.

6: The picture to the right, reflects a young teen mom who has become homeless, leaving her and her young child in shelters and on the streets. (www.bing.com, 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. | 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, sometimes sex is not talked about in the home, peer pressure, curiosity, etc. The list can go on for miles. 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.

8: Teen mothers are more likely to end up on welfare; nearly 80% of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare. The children of teen mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school and are at a greater risk of abuse and neglect. | 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. 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.

9: Above and below images of teens positively active in Church and bible study. (Bing.com, dates and photographer unknown)

10: 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. 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. Unmarried teenage pregnancy is rapid throughout the world. One essential factor in preventing it is to educate teenagers. Help them to set goals on how to prevent it from happening to them. Statistics show that 52% of mothers on welfare today were unmarried teenage mothers. That statistic alone should be reason enough to see that unmarried teen pregnancy, no matter how we try to prevent it, will always be around. Society has to stop being reactive and start being proactive in the approach to the prevention of the world wide problem.

11: There are many options for possible solutions that have proved to be effective in drastically reducing teen pregnancy. Restoring the social order by repairing the 'broken institutions' indicated in the Interactionist perspective theory, thereby avoiding a dramatic social change is a major part of any possible solution. One way to do this, which proved to be effective in my own situation, is to teach Abstinence using the Christian teaching, raising children in the Church environment with teachings from the Holy Bible. The church environment teaches children of all ages a sound doctrine and can be a strong support system when that "social order" has been destroyed by divorce, poverty, lack of self-esteem and other basic need deficiencies that can cause social breakdowns according to the functional and interactionist theories. The images on page 9 is of two groups of children that are interacting in church. The bible and God's word, taught at any age will bring about more reverence for morality and good behavior in teens and all children. It providing sound doctrine and guidance that are always the same and never changing.

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