The socioeconomic impact of teenage pregnancy can cause a never ending cycle of poverty as well as continuing the lack of societal support structures. What causes teenage pregnancy? What types of negative effects it may have living as a teenage parent. Many wonder how to overcome the obstacles. Many teenagers often find themselves alone and in a rough patch in their lives. Living as a teenager is difficult as it is, but sometimes it can take a turn for the worse. It is essential that teenagers have all the information they need to succeed in life and to move onto the next step, wherever that may lead. The concern these days is the lack of information they have. Sex Education is a requirement in some schools and has its benefits, but also its downfalls. Sex Education classes are there to inform the students of the correct terms of the reproductive system, sexually transmitted diseases and birth contraceptives rather than the “street lingo.” A negative side is many parents believe that they should not have such a class. There is religious beliefs and values associated with this. Abstinence is the preferred method of birth control, yet some choose otherwise. Planned Parenthood believes that parents and guardians should be the primary sexuality educators of their children. As with other complex issues, many parents may need support, resources, and expertise from schools and other organizations. It is important that young people receive age-appropriate sexual health information and develop practical skills for keeping healthy. Educators can help families by providing culturally meaningful learning opportunities in safe and nonjudgmental environments so that young people can learn about sexuality in a healthy and positive context. (Implementing Sex Education, 2013)
In order to fully prevent teen pregnancy, abstinence is the main thing to focus on. It is very important to know what classes and programs have to offer, but not every teen is going to listen. It is very important for each and every person to protect themselves and to practice abstinence until ready. Many would say practice abstinence until marriage, however just as teen pregnancies happen, so does pre-marital sex. Teens will know when they are ready and some just so happen sooner than expected. Another thing to consider is sexually transmitted diseases. Pregnancy is not the only thing associated with sex. STD’s are quite common and easily spread without anyone becoming aware until it’s too late. Some schools actually have a nurse on grounds which is great so teens can talk with someone or even ask questions to protect themselves. Having known all the preventative methods, accidents do happen and can result in pregnancy. In 2012, just over 305,000 babies were born to teen girls between the ages of 15 and 19. (Adolescent Health, 2013) Living as a teenager you are very limited in what type of income you are able to receive. There are not many jobs available that pay higher than minimum wage. In order to get a higher paying job, it requires a higher educational status. Supporting a child is quite expensive. There are many things to consider when becoming pregnant and how to raise your family. Being a pregnant woman you will need to receive prenatal care to ensure your child is growing accordingly and receiving its proper nutrients. It is very rare that a minimum wage job offers affordable health insurance. However as of the year 2015, businesses are required to have insurance for all employees. This will also be an added expense, but it is also mandatory to have these days. Before this new law came in to affect, having no insurance will lead you to obtaining health insurance through your local health department, also known as Medicaid. You will also have to consider housing and transportation. Many young girls feel its okay to become pregnant and they automatically start thinking about planning a baby shower or decorating a nursery. Understandably for a pregnant woman, however there are many more realistic concerns that need to be addressed rather than a party. Some teenagers have a supportive family, however some may be completely on their own and have to rely on government assistance to get by. This is where the cycle of poverty begins. Many government agencies offer help with housing, food and insurance for yourself and your children. Unfortunately with the younger teen mothers who are under the age of 18 require information from parents. In some cases, that may not be available. This type of assistance is not meant to live off of for the entirety of life, it is meant for assisting people in need and to help aid them in getting on their own. Teen childbearing costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars due to lost tax revenue, increased public assistance payments, and greater expenditures for public health care, foster care, and criminal justice services.
The good news is that teen birth rates in the United States have declined almost continuously since the early 1990s — including a six percent drop from 2011 to 2012 — further decreasing from 2011’s historic lows. Between 1991 and 2011, the teen birth rate decreased by more than half in the United States (from 61.8 to 29.4 per 1,000 teens). Despite this decline, the U.S. teen birth rate is still higher than that of many other developed countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom. (Adolescent Health, 2013) Life as a teenage parent has its limitations. Continuing your High School education can be a far-fetched idea when caring for a young child. There are many distractions. Having to work to support your child and household can be overwhelming let alone having to finish school. You will have to sacrifice many things such as your social life which may be difficult for some young mothers. When having a child young, you not only lose your freedom, but many friendships start to dwindle too. This is something temporary because you will slowly realize you did not need that type of negative energy in your life. You will gain new friendships with others who share more of the new similarities you have. Your child will have to come first. Having a minimum wage job will not allow for a childcare budget, therefore in order to succeed at your education and your job, you will have to once again rely on state assistance to help with your childcare options. Nearly two out of three teen mothers receive some type of public assistance (food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, WIC, etc.) within the first year after their child is born. (Too Young) In the 2010 ACS, 3.3 million households received public assistance at some time in the previous 12 months, an increase of about 0.3 million from the 2009 ACS estimate. (Public Assistance Receipt in the past 12 months 2009-2010) It is very important to prepare for your future. Having to struggle throughout life is not ideal and will hopefully not last a lifetime. Many young mothers or even young parents who are together still struggle as well. Many younger families start to get comfortable with their state assistance and start to use it fraudulently. This is an example of what not to do. Having an education is essential to getting out of poverty and to advance in your career. Having and holding a steady job looks great on a resume in order to further market yourself in the career field. It holds a better life for yourself and your child.
It is difficult to manage all that teenage pregnancy and motherhood have to offer, but it does not always have to remain the way it once began. Teenage pregnancy and motherhood are not ideal, however there are ways to overcome the bumps in the road. Staying focused and level headed is the best way to go. Motivation is the key factor in completing anything you want out of life for yourself and your children. Having a child at a young age does not need to set you back. Having an education will get you further in life and only do better for your growing family. Setting goals will help to see a clearer path of what you want to do and actually put your plan into motion. It may be difficult to do, but not impossible. All things you work hard for are never achieved without effort and will always pay off in the end. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” (Nelson Mandela) This quote written by Nelson Mandela sums it up. You can do anything you put your mind to, but you are the only person that can make a difference. All the actions and choices are strictly up to what you make of it.
Sarah S. Brown. (2013). The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. In undefined. Retrieved January 19, 2013, from http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/default.aspx. . (n.d.). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In undefined. Retrieved January 19, 2013, from http://www.hhs.gov/. Irving, Shelly. (October 2011). Public Assistance Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households: 2009 and 2010. In American Community Survey Briefs. Retrieved January 19, 2013, from http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acsbr10-13.pdf. . (2014). Pregnancy. In Planned Parenthood. Care No Matter What. Retrieved January 19, 2013, from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy-4250.htm.
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