Description: Preferred language style: English (U.S.). Each student will complete a 15–20 page paper in which they will discuss current issues facing adolescents today and how a counselor should deal with these areas. The paper must be in APA style with a minimum of 15 current references (within five years). This paper is to be 15-20 pages in length, and that means the body of the paper itself -not the title page, abstract, etc…The topic is Adolescent Sexuality: PREVENTION OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY.
Adolescent Sexuality: PREVENTION OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY
Adolescent Sexuality: Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy
Abstract: One of the commonest problems faced by teens in the several nations, has been the issue of teenage pregnancy. Although, the rates of teenage pregnancy are decreasing, there are still several problems associated with the issue. As teenage pregnancy can be a huge social issue and most of them do not want a child, such pregnancies can create a negative impact on the quality of life of the teenage couple.
The rise in teenage pregnancy has been due to several issues including faster onset of maturity, greater occasions of premarital sex, etc. Besides, teenage pregnancy is usually not preferred due to several issues such as greater rates of defects in the developing child, greater amount of maternal problems, social concerns, difficulties of the mother in bringing up the child, etc. In all cases, efforts should be made to support the pregnant teenage girl rather than ignore her.
A teenage pregnancy prevention program should look into several areas that encompass teenagers including career development, education, STD’s, contraception, counseling, drug abuse, women’s health, etc.
It should involve several parties including the parents, politicians, social workers, child and women groups, NGO’s, etc. The two techniques that are utilized frequently include abstinence and contraception. Studies have shown that school-based prevention program were successful in decreasing the rates of pregnancy amongst teens. Efforts should be on to include the entire society in the teenage pregnancy prevention program.
There are several factors that may cause the teenager to indulge in irresponsible sexual behavior including social factors, psychological factors, family factors, etc. The counselors should always try to include the parents, family and the entire society in the prevention programs. If abstinence-based programs seem to be difficult, then the contraception-based programs may seem to be effective. The counselor may have to follow a holistic approach in solving the problems of the teens. The counselor should determine the characteristics of the teens and accordingly use these characteristics to motivate them further. Teens whose academic performance is superior may seem to gain more from pregnancy prevention programs.
The teenage pregnancy program should also look at various issues that surround teenagers including STD’s, contraceptives, drug abuse, careers, higher education, etc. It is also important that the teenage pregnancy prevention program helps pregnancy teenage girls to quality life without any problems. They should be taught how to handle the social and family pressure that may develop resulting from unwanted pregnancy. It is important that the teenage program involve the teenagers. The US HHS and the CDC have shown a lot of interest in the teenage pregnancy programs in recent years.
In developing nations, the rates of teen pregnancy are on the rise. On the other hand, in the developed nations such as the US and Canada, the rates of teenage pregnancies are decreasing due to greater awareness levels. In the US, about 97 per every 1000 teenage girls (usually between the ages of 15 to 19 years) get pregnant each year. Most of these pregnancies (about three-quarters) are usually not wanted. During the years 1999-2000, the rates of teenage pregnancies have dropped. The rates of teenage pregnancies are about 28 %, and the rate of teenage childbirths is about 21 %. There may be several reasons for teenage pregnancies (Weiss, 2000 & Huberman, 2005). These include: –
1. Girls are maturing faster, now between the ages of 12 to 13 years.
2. Teenage sex is very common. Before the girl reaches adulthood in the US, about 80 % of them would have had sex.
3. Teenagers are less likely to take precautions in order to prevent pregnancy.
4. Teenagers are not aware of the reproductive problems that can develop during the pregnancy period (Weiss, 2000).
Teenage pregnancy can have serious consequences and implications (Weiss, 2000). These include: –
1. Several problems such as miscarriage, neonatal death, stillborn baby, maternal sickness, etc are higher in teenage girls than in pregnant women.
2. Children born from teenage girls have several problems including developmental problems, congential defects, low birth weight, neglect, child abuse, etc.
3. Socially, teenage pregnancy is not accepted.
4. The teenage mother is more likely not to take care of the child. She is more likely to smoke, consume excessive alcohol, subject the baby to abuse, etc.
5. The government has to spend a huge amount to solve the problems related to teenage pregnancies. These include public health problems, housing, assistance, childcare, legal issues (Weiss, 2000).
Teenage pregnancy prevention programs should have a specific objectives and goals. Studies have shown that from previous teenage pregnancies that the Socio-economic life, standard of living, etc, would be very poor following teenage pregnancy. As it is one of the major public health concerns, the politicians should take up the issue on a priority basis. It is important that the teenage parents be supported rather than being ignored. The main goals of any teenage pregnancy program are to: –
1. To bring down the teenage pregnancy rates by at least 50 % by the year 2010 (this is an objective of the Healthy People 2010).
2. To include the teenagers themselves in the program so that the initiatives made come from this group of the population itself. Teenagers should be educated, trained and employed in the teenage welfare programs. Special emphasis should be made on focusing on the teenage pregnancy prevention.
3. The teenage pregnancy prevention programs should also focus on other areas including drug abuse, gynecological issues, career development, counseling, etc. This would ensure that all-round the teenager is given attention.
4. Voluntary services should be oriented towards understanding teenage behavior and changing them in order to bring about better attitudes and practices.
5. Several stakeholders including the politicians, government, judiciary, social welfare groups, public, women’s groups, etc, should be involved in these programs.
6. Efforts should be organized at the national, regional and the local levels in order to help teenagers to develop appropriate attitudes and behaviors towards teenage pregnancies.
7. Adoption of better prevention techniques such as sex education, contraception, avoiding the risk factors, etc.
8. Supporting the teenagers and their parents so as to help them develop a good future. Also, to ensure that the teenagers get appropriate help in problematic situations.
9. Ensuring that the pregnant teen mother is given special attention during the pregnancy period. This would ensure that both the mother and the developing child is healthy and is able to get appropriate medical attention. Many may think that in a teenage pregnancy prevention program, the issues relating to the pregnancy period need not be considered. However, this should be an area of focus, as it would help to prevent further problems (Blank, 2003).
The Government has begun to include teenage pregnancy prevention programs as one of the priority areas for the social cause. Initially, the government had a lot of problems associated with these programs. However, following a few initial hiccups, these programs have turned out to benefit the teenagers and their families in developing a fruitful life.
One of the programs meant for teenage pregnancy prevention program is the School Health Policies and Programs Study 2006 or SHPPS 2006. It is basically performed to study the various health programs and policies conduced at the classroom level. in the year 2000, about 45 % of the states belonging to various middle schools taught about pregnancy prevention, and in the year 2006 it increased to about 59%. With relation to high schools, this figure similar. The number of hours spent teaching on pregnancy prevention also varied in high, middle and elementary schools. In high schools it was 3.5 hours, 2.7 in middle schools and 1.3 in elementary schools. In high schools, 2.0 teachers were required to teach about pregnancy prevention in the year 2000, which increased to 2.6 in the year 2006.
About 38 % of the districts and about 20 % of the states provided about pregnancy prevention services. These services were either provided on a one to one basis or on a group basis. About 28.4 % of the district authority provided for services on the local property rather than on the schools property. About 97 % of the schools provided for pregnancy prevention.
About 28.7 % of the schools provided for pregnancy prevention programs through arrangement from outside organizations. The number of staff members who received training also varied. About 30.6 % of the staff had training on pregnancy prevention, 17 % had training on prenatal care and 14 % had training in childcare, 2 years before the program started. 20 % of the psychiatric service staff had training in pregnancy prevention and 13 % had training in child care (SHPPS, 2006).
Currently, there are several issues, which could be responsible for promoting teenage pregnancy prevention. Many of the teenage prevention programs may not be successful, as they do not involve the society as a whole. The program strategy may be such that it lacks some amount of reality leading to a failure. Hence, the social blanket needed for the program to be a success should be greater. Furstenberg considers that the conflict present on sexuality needs to be resolved especially the cultural and the political tendencies. As the attitudes and behavior of the society towards teenage pregnancies has not been corrected so far, it may be difficult to control teenage pregnancy. Hence, methods adopted to prevent pregnancy can be adopted. The intervening variables include: –
1. Controlling age of entry to the sexual unions – There has been a dramatic increase in the number of teenagers who have sex before the marriage. In the 1950’s and the 1960’s, this figure was about 10 %, and in the 1970’s and the 1980’s this figure was 20 %. There could be many causes for this including peer pressures, lack of pressure from the home, trend in dating, etc. There has been also a rise in the cases of venereal diseases affecting the teenage population. Many a times, the teenage population is not exposed to family or parental discussions on sex and childbearing. This has created even greater number of problems.
Family discussions usually create healthy practices and attitudes. Studies conducted in schools on teenage boys and girls demonstrated that family teaching had a great role. When family opposition was present without any kind of support or understanding, the teenagers indulged in sexual activity. One important fact to note was that it was not always true when there was an increase in the teenage sexual activity, there would be an increase in the teenage pregnancy rates. In the year 1979, there was an increase by about 50 % in the rates of sex in teenage girls. However, there was also a rise in 50 % in the contraceptive use. Studies have shown that use of contraceptives always did not help to prevent pregnancy, and hence something more was required (Kohli, 2007).
2. Contraception use – Studies conducted in the US and the Western European region demonstrated that even though the teenage sexual activity rates were similar in both the regions, the rate of teenage pregnancy rates were higher in the US compared to the Western European region. One of the main reasons as to why teenage girls become pregnant is that they do not stress upon the need to use a contraceptive. Some teenagers feel that they are not sexually active and feel that they would not need a contraceptive. Teenagers would also not like to make long-term decisions about their life.
They may behave in an immature and irresponsible way due to their young age. Teenagers may always feel shy of purchasing a contraceptive. They may also not consider the risk of getting pregnant as real and may not use their knowledge to help prevent the pregnancy. Many girls fear that they would be losing a boy friend due to rejection if they did not have sex with him. This type of fear has lead to several problems. In true fact, it has been seen that girls usually prefer long-term relationships and boys prefer short-term relationships. Most boys would have no idea of contraception and pregnancy, and would usually leave it up to the female to prevent herself from getting pregnant (Kohli, 2007).
3. Use of abortion
4. Use of adoption
Psychological factors associated with teenage pregnancy – Most of the teenage girls do not intent to have a child during their teenage period due to a variety of factors including the need to grow and develop academically, social factors, etc. Only a small proportion of teenagers would like to have an infant and improve their mission in life. The bringing of a child would also increase the relationship and the bonding to their boyfriends. Teenage pregnancy would also improve the chances of becoming independent, stepping into their motherhood, etc. However, the psychological problems created by teenage pregnancy are more often negative.
It creates a sense of low self-esteem. Teenagers who become pregnant may not be given the same amount of respect and esteem as before. This is mainly due to the engagement in sex. These psychological pressures would invariable lead to poor academic performances. Poor performance in academics may in turn create a lot of psychological pressure for the teenager and may lead to irresponsible sexual behavior. If the sexual behavior is responsible and if the child was intelligent and understanding, it was found that the academic record was also good (Kohli, 2007).
Family Factors – Family communication holds a vital key in helping prevent teenage pregnancy. The mother and the daughter need to hold vital discussions on how should teenage pregnancy are prevented. The teenage girl would use contraception infrequently and incorrectly if not advised by the mother. In the other side, important discussions between the father and the son would hold the key to responsible sexual behavior of the male teenagers. The parents and the child needs to invariable discussion about sex-related issues. This would certainly prevent anything untoward from happening. Frequently, it was found that the sexual behavior of the parents did not have an important role to play in permitting the child to have sex.
Sons were less likely to follow the parental advice on sex than the daughters. Parents, who were friendly and attentive towards their children, resulted in the teenagers becoming less sexually active. If the parents take up the issue of contraception and sexual activity with the teenager at a young age, then the chances of the child staying close to the parents is high. Studies have shown that even if the parents approves of the child’s sexual practice through non-verbal means, the chances of developing healthy sexual behavior was high. In traditional families, the chances of having a binding daughter were higher, than the son. If the mother was a homemaker, the chances of the daughter sticking to the mother’s advice were higher.
It was found that in the males, peer involvement had an even greater role to play than family factors. This is because boys may not want to discuss any sexual issue with the parent and instead prefer to discuss it with the friends. Boys may only want to discuss sexual issues with individuals of the same age and belonging to the same sex. Any bad company would create irresponsible sexual behavior.
On the other hand, when it comes to girls, they are more often affected by the advice of the male teenager than with the advice of their female friends. When a single parent existed at home, the chances of developing irresponsible sexual behavior was higher. Sexual abuse and problems in the family, was more likely to be responsible for undesired sexual behavior in the teen. The teenager was likely not to give importance to self. Teenager who previously suffered from certain mental disorders or those who were involved in crime were at a greater chance of becoming pregnant (Kohli, 2007).
Social factors – Children belonging to certain social groups are more likely not to indulge in sexual activity or use contraception as a mean to prevent pregnancy. It is usually seen that in restrictive societies, the chances of becoming pregnant during the teenage period are lesser. This is due to the restrictions placed by the families on the child to stay away from sex. Socio-economic status also plays an important role in helping to prevent getting pregnant. Hispanics and other sexual minorities due to their lower Socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to receive sexual advice from home and from school. They may also lack medical facilities and contraception (Kohli, 2007).
A counselor conducting teenage prevention programs should use various methods to prevent the teenage girl from becoming pregnant. Some of the most frequently utilized methods of preventing teenage pregnancy include use of contraception and abstaining from sex. The counselor needs to ensure that both these methods are used either alone or in combination with one another, depending on the situation (Kohli, 2007).
Children who belong to societies, which are having strict sexual code, would like the teenagers not to indulge in sexual activity. There may pressures from the family, school and society for the teenager to abstain from sex. The teenagers may be told to delay all sexual relationships until marriage. In such a circumstance, the counsellor would have to create attitudes and behaviors in the teenager so that they would delay all sexual activity until adulthood. One of the laws developed in the year 1996 was the Welfare reform law and this gave birth to the development of the Abstinence education program.
Federal funds were being utilized in such a program to counsel and educate the teenagers of premarital sex and the need to abstain from it. Every year about 50 million dollars was spent on the program. Several activities were a part of the program. The HRSA developed a community-based abstinence program in the year 2001. Federal funds were utilized to educate the public about premarital sex. They also conducted education programs for students between the ages of 12 to 18 years. More than 20 million dollars was being spend every year on such programs (Kohli, 2007 & USHHS, 2002).
The counselor would have a role to play in addition to that of the family. He should work in close association with the family and the school-based activities. Frequently, the counselor would be advising the school of the increased need to have school-based sex education classes. Some parents may not want their children to have school-based sex education classes and instead prefer to give them advice personally. In such circumstances, it is the duty of the counselor to advise the parents of the importance of such activities. In teenagers it is found that abstinence-based program may be difficult to prevent them from indulging in sexual activity, but would definitely help to prevent them from indulging in sexual activity until the age of 18 years (Kohli, 2007 & USHHS, 2002d).
As teenage pregnancy has multiple factors responsible, the program to be successful and effective needs to adopt a holistic approach to solve the problem. One of the issues that the counselor needs to emphasis on is the need to continue education and literary to a higher level. Teenagers having higher intellectual capacity are more likely to get motivated and continue with education on a longer term.
Some teenagers may also like the issue of getting employed and standing on one’s own feet. It is found that such students are more likely to follow the advise of the counselor and respond. The counselor should continuously motivate the teenager to use contraceptive during sexual activities or if possible to abstain from sex (Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, 2006).
The counselor should also use the family as a role model to ensure that the teenager adopts healthy sexual practices. The teenager should be convinced about the strong family ties that are present. They should be told to take their mother and father as role models and lead a life that is going to be constructive in the future. Students belonging to various colleges may have a lot of creativity housed within them. They would like to use this skill to build a future. This could also be used as a point on which further motivation can be performed (Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, 2006).
The intervention performed should not be single measures as a number of factors are involved that are related to teenage pregnancy. Some counselors would utilize various psychotherapy techniques to help the teenagers to adopt healthy sexual practices. Some of the psychotherapy techniques that could be utilized included family therapy, group therapy, support groups, couple therapy, etc (Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, 2006).
All the issues that encompass sex and teenage matters need to be sorted out in a teenage pregnancy prevention program. Some of these issues include HIV/AIDS, responsible sexual behavior, use of contraceptives, drug abuse, etc. The teenagers should be motivated to lead a fruitful and a productive life. Many teenagers may feel depressed and hopeless in case they fall pregnant. However, a counselor should also be available to tackle such situations and offer the teenagers a way out. The counselor would have to adopt a stand that would encourage the teenager. Some of the points over which the teenager could be encouraged include: –
1. Make the teenager understand that young blood could be utilized for constructive purposes.
2. Helps the teen to build a life filled with purpose and responsibility.
3. Building a very promising future.
4. Helping teenagers who have had previous pregnancies and abortions to lead a life filled with hope and quality (Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, 2006).
However, this is not always the case with teenagers who have had previous pregnancies. Teenagers who have had previous pregnancies may be pressurized from various quarters. They may be forced to lead a life filled with poverty, misery, hopelessness and depression. The counselor should in such situations be available to uplift such teenagers to lead a quality life. The counselor should consider such teenagers to be at a high risk for depression and suicidal tendencies.
He should be able to assess the presence of such risk and accordingly take measures to protect the teenager. Teenagers under the difficulties of life, require love and care. For this reason, they may indulge in sexual activities. However, the performance of such activities may result in a critical error leading to the female girl becoming pregnant. The counselor should provide hope and motivation for the teenager to lead a fruitful life (Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, 2006).
One of the most effective programs when it comes to social issues such as teenage pregnancy, community-based approaches seems to be very superior. The US Health and Human Services is one organization that is supporting the use of community-based programs for the prevention of pregnancy amongst teenagers. They would be using various resources such as financial, human, supportive, infrastructure, material, etc, to perform various activities such as building partnerships, researching, monitoring, evaluating, planning, disseminating knowledge, etc (Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, 2006 & US HHS, 2002).
The CDC has taken the issue of teenage pregnancy prevention on a priority basis since the year 1995. The programs support various activities in order to help prevent teenage pregnancies. These include community actions, coordinated efforts, identify shortcomings, identifying and allocating resources, evaluating the project, etc. Several governmental and non-governmental would be taking part in such activities, including local, regional and federal (US HHS, 2002).
Several other issues need to be considered in the teenage pregnancy prevention program. For the provision of reproductive health services, several health insurance options should be available to the teenagers (such as Medicaid and Medicare Services). Several of the State, Regional and Federal Public Health programs such as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, etc are meant for adolescent health and to prevent pregnancy in young teenage girls. Teenagers should also have facilities to help them with several other issues such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, legal issues, etc (US HHS, 2002).
In a teenage pregnancy prevention program, during the implementation certain principles need to be adhered to: –
· The objectives, goals and the expected outcome of the program should be clearly defined.
· The mode by which these objectives are to be achieved need to be determined.
· Collaboration should exist between the governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and private organizations.
· The involvement of teens in the program.
· The activities and the content of the program performed should be attractive to the teens.
· All activities should be constructive in nature.
· Cultural activities and local resources would provide huge amount of benefits.
· Use of local volunteers and counselors would also help in the program.
· Long-term support should be provided to the teens in helping to carve out something constructive for the future.
· The two measures by which the program would be acting include abstinence and contraception. Abstinence can delay the interest in indulging in sexual activity by the teen. Contraception methods and techniques should be taught. Males should be encouraged to take up contraception use, as it is more convenient and reduces the load on the females.
· The programs should be developmentally appropriate.
· Decision-making skills and problem-solving methods should be taught to the teenagers.
· Several health services such as gynecological services, obstetrics services, adolescent health, pregnancy testing, prevention and treatment for STD’s, contraceptive counseling, etc. The health services should incorporated certain features including confidentiality, informed consent, flexibility in appointments, free services, etc. (Davies, 2007).
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