Teenage pregnancy and its consequences Essay

This paper is primarily based on contemplating the issue of teenage pregnancy along with scrutinizing the consequences it produces as a result of prevailed delinquency debauchery in the teenagers presently. This remains an unequivocal fact that the horribly agonizing issue of teenage pregnancy forms a hotly debated topic in the present age around the globe which is thriving with time and creating much grave troubles, thus shaking the solidarity of the societal structure in a ruthless and traumatic manner. Discussing the actual incidence of teenage pregnancy in both eastern and western societies along with identifying the major horrific consequences this issue produces, while taking care to mention how differently those particular consequences are perceived in the eastern and western societies form the bulk of this paper.

Introduction:

Granting appropriate rights to teenage mothers is not a facility entertained in many countries even in the present world since much hatred and conservatism exist towards the issue of teenage pregnancy especially in the eastern world where even discussing this critically sensitive issue is considered and perceived more like a social taboo. How the overall intricate and worse situation produced by teenage pregnancy can be overturned by granting proper and officially approved rights to the teenage mothers can change the dramatic situation brought on by this issue is a debate much worked on by many scholars and sociologists. Moreover, child abuse, neglect, and poor parenting are important negative outcomes of teenage pregnancy and are shown towards children born to teenage mothers, thus forming a grave consequential problem produced by teenage pregnancy (Britner & Reppucci, 1997, p. 165). This serious issue raises much concern for the upbringing of young children who have to become responsible citizens later in the future. This also remains a plausible reality that the incidence of teenage pregnancy is much higher in the western world in comparison to the eastern world and valid reasons backed up by research reports for explaining this difference in teenage pregnancy incidence also forms a part of discussion contained in this paper.

Thesis statement:

Facts and discussion presented in this paper are basically meant to illuminate the reality of the claim that “teenage pregnancy is an issue perceived differently and while the teen pregnancy has a higher incidence in the developed world, the severe consequences produced by this grave issue are better handled in the modernized western society than they are in the more conservative undeveloped countries.”

Incidence of teenage pregnancy in the western world:

The fact that the risk of teenage pregnancy in America is twice that of any other industrialized country presents a scenario which is both increasingly grave and attention-demanding and illuminates the profound need to raise awareness about the sexual caution measures which the teenage girls should be familiar with in an order to avoid the risk of pregnancy. “Available national survey-based information for the United States shows that 78 of all pregnancies and 66 of all births to adolescents in the early 1990s were unintended” (Henshaw, 1998, p. 24). Teenage girls are certainly less mature and sensible to take care of their children in an appropriate way which is one of the reasons why reducing teenage pregnancy is highly important. This sad reality also illuminates the prevalence of promiscuous behavior among teenage girls in USA which has increased over time, thanks to an increase in the party culture and sexually explicit material very often presented in a highly glamorous manner on various television channels. It is understandable that getting pregnant due to carelessly engaging in dangerous sexual activities and one night-stands can rob the young women of their education, respect, and family support. A terrible hand-to-mouth existence awaits for such teenage mothers who obviously cannot depend on their partners for financial help and are often refused employment due to the heavy family responsibilities which need to addressed by them back at homes.

Incidence of teenage pregnancy in the eastern world:

Obvious differences between societal attitudes towards adolescent sexual activity and hence teenage pregnancy serves as the primary reason as to why there is such a difference between the incidence of teenage pregnancy in the eastern and western societies. While many facilities are offered by the western official authorities to teenage expectant mothers like availability of free contraceptive supplies and services, hatred and harsh criticism are the only things which are to be received by the teenage girls if they become pregnant by engaging in sexual activities before marriage. Even considering the ideas of sex or cohabitation which could lead to pregnancy is thought of as a taboo subject, which could readily lead the elders to socially isolate such teenagers may be for life, let alone providing reproductive services to the expectant teenage girls. Variation in sexual behavior alone does not explain the difference in level of teenage pregnancy between the eastern and western world, rather the type of societal response and availability of contraceptive services for teenage girls prove to be a more powerful indicator of how probable teenage pregnancy can be in any society. “Differences in societal attitudes toward adolescent sexual activity can influence provision of reproductive services for adolescents” (Darroch, Singh, & Frost, 2001, p. 247). This difference in the societal attitude explains why the risk of teenage pregnancy is much lower in the eastern world, particularly in the more conservative Islamic nations.

Major consequential problems produced by teenage pregnancy:

a. Traumatic and agonized bonding between teenage mothers and children:

Considering the type of tight societal pressures along with guardians’ and friends’ negative, biased, and harsh attitudes suffered by teen mothers after the pregnancy tests are confirmed to be positive, it does not remain hard to imagine the influence produced by those sufferings on the children born to teen mothers. Projection of emotions is a widely acclaimed psychological reality and that emotional turbulence suffered by pregnant teenage girls has to be projected out on someone later when they become mothers. That emotional projection is deplorably suffered by the children born to teen mothers resulting in a troubled and painful relationship built between teen mothers and adolescents. “The children of adolescent mothers are at higher risk for problems in affect

regulation, including both flattened affect and aggressive behavior” (Zahn-Waxler, Kochanska, Krupnik, & McKnew, 1990). Long depression periods based on many months lead to delayed parental care to the point when nothing can be sorted out for good. Transformation of pregnant teenage girls into single mothers is not devoid of unforgettable pain and hard sufferings, all of which inflict on the children in many harmful ways like child abuse and parental neglect. The children born to the teen mothers, who also prefer living apart from their related adults, are at greater risk of being affected with child abuse than those born to more mature and older mothers. “Adolescent mothers

living with a related adult were much less likely to abuse or neglect their children than were those living apart from related adults” (Flanagan, Coll, Andreozzi, & Riggs, 1995).

b. Educational problems and high school dropouts in teenage pregnant girls:

The painful relationship between teen mothers and children as discussed above is further led down a very perilous path as teen mothers happen to be quite raw, immature, emotional, and aggressive as the research studies done on them suggest. (Doyle, 2011) lays stress on development of a happy and harmonious relationship between teenage mothers and children with the help of actual case studies included by him in his research study. Those case studies contain various hardships and psychosocial pressures faced by the teen mothers during pregnancy along with identifying myriad ways they employed to build a healthy bond with their children as single mothers. It is stressed by (Doyle, 2011) that in an order to prevent child abuse or neglect, there should be early bonding between teen mothers and young children. Now, this early bonding can never be developed without providing before healthy psychosocial and educational environment to the teenage pregnant girls. High school dropouts are highly common in teenage pregnant girls owing to the uncomfortable environment offered to them at the educational setups by both the teachers and students. It is obvious that high school dropouts have nearly zero possibility of employment and while they can also not rely on their male partners more than often for financial support, stress while being pregnant mounts for teenage girls. “When it’s tough for the parents to find jobs, it’s even tougher for them to put diapers on bottoms and food in mouths” (Beilfuss, cited in Doyle, 2011, p. 15).

c. Increased drugs and alcohol consumption can create problems for teen mothers:

According to a research study containing analyzed data collected from many children and their mothers, it was deduced that children whose mothers consumed alcohol very often during the first trimester have a three fold increased risk of developing aggressive and defiant behavior leading to even developing criminal tendency in later years (HealthDay, 2011, p. 1). Now, the level of psychosocial and educational hardship suffered by teenage pregnant girls even in the modernized western societies can be easily associated with them consuming more alcohol and indulging with substance abuse as a way of coping with emotional turbulence, which could lead to severe problems both during labor and afterwards for the children who are born to teen mothers. Considering the fact that the unborn baby directly consumes a share of what the mother consumes, consuming alcohol and drugs for psychological relief by teenage pregnant girls can produce drastic results for both them and the unborn babies. Moreover, indulging with alcohol and drugs can lead teenagers to engage in sexual activities which could afterwards lead the young girls to teenage pregnancy. “Teens who drink and smoke are more likely to hang out with other teens who are seen as ‘sexually advanced’ and are more likely to have sex themselves” (Smith, 2001, p. 1).

Differences in the way teenage pregnancy consequences are perceived:

Grave consequences produced by teenage pregnancy are perceived hugely differently in the eastern and western world. Many research studies have been done so far on cross-country analysis of teen pregnancy consequences, all of which identify the reality that the primary factor, which makes people from different cultural and religious backgrounds perceive teenage pregnancy in varying ways, is formed by different beliefs and norms they are taught while being brought up by their elders. According to a study done by (Domhnaill, Hutchinson, Milev, & Milev, 2011, p. 201) on the risk and social context of teen pregnancy, it is mentioned that though teenagers from the underdeveloped countries hold a lot of respect for their parents and other adult relatives, they are still more influenced by their peers to the point that they feel left out if others engage in sexual activities while they remain hesitant to do so. In more underdeveloped countries, teenage girls may also exchange sexual favors for educational support due to poor financial and economical conditions. Reducing the educational cost can restrain these girls from participating in dangerous and unprotected sexual activities with their boyfriends. Once such teenage girls from the underdeveloped countries become pregnant as a result of unprotected sexual activities, they are often banished socially by their parents and relatives for life. On the other hand, in addition to making teen mothers confident that they can be as good a parent as an older mother, much financial and educational support is provided to teen mothers in the modernized western world which saves such ill-fated young women from living a life of poverty and anguish (Brennan-Tupara, 2011, p. 5).

Conclusion:

Summing up, this much becomes clear from the above discussion that considering the heinous consequences teen pregnancy is capable of producing like profoundly destroying the future potentials of many teenage girls, this issue presents a dramatic emergency based scenario which needs to be addressed in a very mature and sensitive manner. Also, while the incidence of teen pregnancy remains much higher in the developed countries, the consequences produced by it are still better handled there because of more open-minded public and governmental approach towards this issue.

References:

Brennan-Tupara, N. (2011). Teens can be as good a parent as an older mother. Waikato Times, 5.

Britner, P. A. & Reppucci, D. N. (1997). Prevention of Child Maltreatment: Evaluation of a Parent Education Program for Teen Mothers. JOURNAL OF CHILD AND FAMILY STUDIES, 6(2), 165-175.

Darrock, J. E., Singh, S. & Frost, J. J. (2001). Differences in Teenage Pregnancy Rates among Five Developed Countries: The Roles of Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use. Family Planning Perspectives, 33(6), 244-250.

Domhnaill, B., Hutchinson, G., Milev, A., & Milev, Y. (2011). The social context of schoolgirl pregnancy in Ghana. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 6(3), 201.

Doyle, B. (2011). Teen moms get help with parenting :Classes, resources offered by agency. Chicago Tribune, 15.

Flanagan, P., Coll, C., Andreozzi, L., & Riggs, S. (1995). Predicting

maltreatment of children of teen mothers. Pediatrics & Adolescent

Medicine, 149, 451-455.

HealthDay. (2011). Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Linked to Behavior Problems in Teens

U.S. News & World Report, 1.

Henshaw, S. K. (1998). Unintended pregnancy in the United States. Family Planning Perspectives, 30(1), 24-29.

Zahn-Waxler, C., Kochanska, G., Krupnik, J. & McKnew, D. (1990). Patterns of guilt in children of depressed and well mothers. Developmental

Psychology, 26, 51-59.

Smith, P. (2001). Substance Abuse and Teen Pregnancy. Erie Times-News, 1.

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