Shebah is a trained teacher and a mother to two boys, who interacts daily with teenage girls during their learning.
Should Absentee Parents Be Blamed for Teen Pregnancies?
Cases of teenage pregnancies have hit the headlines recently. The girl child is once again in focus; for the wrong reasons! Unfortunately, this has been long coming. It is the trend in most states and what is mind-boggling is just what has become of our teenagers lately! Should absentee parents be blamed for teen pregnancies?
The causes of teen pregnancies
A teen's self-esteem, emotional development, and decision-making become stunted when parents are not involved. Parents seem to have lost the plot entirely due to complacency or peculiar addiction to the trending WhatsUp craze. Their role of guiding and counseling has been left to clueless caregivers, peers, and teachers in most cases.
Parents have abdicated their responsibility to instill discipline, dignity, self-control, and other good moral values in their children.
Neglected by parents
Research shows that a child whose parents are absent tends to have lower test scores and self-esteem and is prone to teenage disorders. The impact is more on girls than boys. As such, girls become more vulnerable to hawk-eyed men who purport to offer a shoulder to lean on. Girls 18 years, especially from the middle class, run the risk of getting entangled in the early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases web!
Lack of community responsibility
The teen girls that lack community involvement lack social skills to interact with people. They will also lack knowledge on how to avoid pregnancy. A community that is not responsible enough for its girls puts them at risk of sexual abuse and other risky behaviors.
Social media influence
The use of mobile phones, laptops, and iPhones, among other digital devices, to get to social sites expose teenagers to prolific adult content. They become curious and tempted to experiment without realizing the far-fetching consequences of the same.
Peers play a vital role in shaping teenagers' behaviors. Teen girls may pick up positive or negative behaviors from peers as they interact. Negative peer influence is at an alarming rate and is the cause of delinquent behaviors among teenagers.
Cultural beliefs that promote early marriage
Every society has a culture that the people believe in. some cultures encourage early marriages leading to early teenage pregnancy.
Parent's educational level
Parental occupation affects how that particular parent brings up their children. Parents with different kinds of professions approach children rearing in different ways. For example, research shows that parents with managerial positions have more efficacy when raising their children than those who do service work.
As such, they allow for negotiation with their children about what to wear, eat, and activities to engage in compared to the latter group, which might teach their children to follow directions due to less autonomy.
Successful strategies to prevent adolescent pregnancy
Parents should allow their children to participate in community programs promoting a broader social development spectrum. The teen girls will be able to learn social skills to cope with pressure.
Responsible sexual behavior education
Parents, caregivers, and learning institutions should teach sexual education to teen girls at an early age. The proper family planning methods and be encouraged to engage in safe sex.
Use effective contraceptive
Teen girls need to be encouraged to use contraceptives, especially those already sexually active in their prime years. Using condoms, birth control pills, and the vaginal ring, among others, will reduce the chances of teen pregnancies.
Deal with outdated culture
Some cultures encourage forced sex through early marriages. Legal action against such a culture will reduce forced sex and prevent early pregnancies.
The role of parents in teen pregnancy prevention
The decision-makers around sexual behavior
Parents have a role regarding their teens' sexual behavior. They need to help the teens make an effective decision on the kind of friends to have, the use of contraceptives, and engaging in premarital sex. Parents need to equip their children with information regarding sexuality and contraceptives.
Provide a safe and stable environment
Parents need to prevent family violence and protect their children. Protect children from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and maltreatment of teens, which may lead to early pregnancy. When teen girls are faced with a lot of pressure, they may look for alternatives to pour their grief and relieve stress and become victims of the same.
There are tough economic times; however, as a parent, do not let your teen girls wallow in poverty as they may go for alternatives to fend for themselves.
Poverty has made it difficult for mothers to care for their teens by providing essential basic needs. Such teens will turn to a second party for assistance, where they end up being victims of circumstances.
Know her friends, peers, and educators
While it is good to have them form social groups and go out and play, it is important to get engaged. Know whom they play with and what kind of activities they engage in while outdoors. Know your teen's friends and her family and get to connect with them for practical girl rearing. Some family friends are the very cause of your girl's unfortunate turnouts.
Do not over parent
Parents need to equip themselves with communication skills to discuss sexuality comfortably with their girls. Hold frequent family talks with the teenagers as you strive for warm relationships. It will help connect, and they will confide in you about their deepest fears, secrets, and decisions they make.
Encourage them to have safe sex and tell them the effects of irresponsible sexual behavior. Please do not assume they will learn from their peers or teachers at school. Your emphasis as a parent on such matters, even if they already know, plays a vital role.
In conflicts, parents need to have a soft spot and not impose punishments such as curfews and grounding their teens. Such punitive measures may cause rebelliousness among teens.
Supervise and monitor their online activities.
Digitalization has made everything easily in reach to everyone everywhere. The teenagers have also joined the frenzy. It is imperative as a parent to know what your teenage girl is reading, watching, and listening to while alone.
Do not allow televisions, phones, and digital gadgets in their bedrooms or to be used in privacy. Have strict parental control and guidance while they operate. They are avenues to exposing them to risky sexual behaviors.
Children at a tender age learn things by observation. Unfortunately, most parents are never there to act as role models for their kids. It is common these days to find school-going children putting up with their grandparents as their parents eke a living far away in towns. Some are left with caregivers or distant relatives. Some children even stay alone, vending for themselves! The independence gives rise to a 'sponsor' mentality in children as they somehow have to survive!
The absence of parental care in a girl's life impacts negatively on their development, mentally, academically, and socially. They end up lacking social skills and knowledge on how to avoid pregnancy. The girls may show low acceptance or use of contraceptives and become victims of sexual abuse, promoting teen pregnancies.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Shebah Mmera