The modern day adolescents are becoming of age in a world that is contrary opposite to that of their parents. The communities around the world are rapidly transforming, thereby bringing about challenges and new responsibilities to the modern age adolescents of 10 to 19 years. However, this change varies differently in the various regions of the world. The birth of a child creates celebration, joy, and astonishment, which are some of the great experiences in the life of humans.
These celebrations occur naturally and easily in the sense that it is difficult for most of us to resist the primal energy released when we are around a newborn. In addition to this, the process of giving birth solidifies the bond shared with the newborn, to one another, to our history, and to the future ahead of our children. Intuitively, perception is created that suggests that every child is part and parcel of the society and a connection to eternity.
In this sense, it is important to understand experiences undergone by children not born inside particular community. Teenage pregnancy is considered as one of the situations affecting celebrations of a child’s life, the people around the child and the community at large (Cherry, 2001).
According to REPROSTAT 2, teenage pregnancy is defined as pregnancy that takes place between 13 to 19 years (Wilpers, 2010, p. 4). Teenage pregnancy was considered a social and public health menace in the past decades of the 20th century by majority of the developed nations. In the United Kingdom for instance, teenage pregnancy was considered a problem that needed intervention, and the British programme was introduce as a long-term initiative of tackling this problem.
In the past, the childbearing age of a woman was not significant as her marital status. This is because economic protection was offered in marriage in a time when the motherhood burden fell ultimately on local communities thus creating stigmatization of unmarried parenthood. The focus later changed from marital status of mothers to their age, thus creating the problem of teenage pregnancy.
The shift of the marital status of the mother to their age was contributed by a number of factors. Popularity increase of cohabitation among the working class made it difficult to condemn unmarried child bearing. Dependency of the youths on their families for economic support and the extension of their adolescence have also contributed to making youthful parenthood a problem (Arai, 2009, p. 3, 4).
The research on this family issue of teenage pregnancy will be conducted with the aid of information derived from the internet and current university programs and measures. Interviews will be undertaken to elaborate how these university programs are used and their effectiveness in sensitizing the public on teenage pregnancy. Examples of programs undertaken in these study institutions will also be expounded on.
Teenage pregnancy in the modern world
In the US, teenage pregnancies became a central point of policy concern at an earlier stage than in the UK. In 1975, anxiety had already encroached the US on matters relating to teenage pregnancies. A highly influential report was later on published in 1976 that stated “11 million teenagers: What can be done about the epidemic of adolescent pregnancies in the US” (Arai, 2009, p. 4). This hence led to a widespread of the word epidemic in reference to teenage pregnancy thus initiating further policies (Arai, 2009, p. 4).
The unwanted pregnancy problem had an immense impact on the US congress in the sense that it ceased to be a problem that only affected people who were poor and black to one that affected the young whites. Not only did this menace affect the young whites, the daughters of the congressmen and their neighbors were not spared (Checkland and Wong, 1999, p. 93).
Although adults criticize teenagers of being in a hurry to grow up fast by engaging in a lot of sex activities, the reality indicates that the lowest teen pregnancy of the century were recorded in 1970s,1980s and 1990s.
These pregnancies involved teenagers of 15 to 19 years old (Hawes and Shores, 2001, p. 22). Teenage pregnancy rate in America is among the highest among the developed nations; although the teen pregnancy rate is said to be dropping in the past years in the developed world, in the US, rate is contrary, as it is suggested to be increasing.
The teen pregnancy rate in America for girls of 15-19 years is 96 per1000, in comparison to 35 in Sweden, 14 in Netherlands, 43 in France and 45 for both England and Wales. This hence reflects the dominant position of teenage abortions held by United States. The high rate of teenage pregnancy is a clear picture of family modernism and family modernism. In modern time, majority of teen pregnancy happen out of wedlock, this reflects a portion of modern dimension of the family.
Low levels of teen pregnancy rates are connected to nontraditional perception towards sexuality. According to a research conducted by Alan Guttmacher institute, it was found that countries with the lowest teen pregnancy rates had a liberal perception towards sex. In addition to this, these countries have adequate access to sex education comprehensive programs and free access in attaining contraceptive services.
The same study found out that the United States of America had relative traditional perceptions and practices. The focus on American attitude was based more on sexual morality as opposed to pregnancy prevention. In United States, sex education was found to be limited as the American teenagers were not likely to use contraceptives (Popenoe, 2009, p. 290)
According to males, the problem with teen pregnancy is not composed of rational behavior of minorities who are poorer but social policies that have been privatized and invented for the sole purpose of avoiding the question at hand.
In addition to this, Males (2010) suggests that teen pregnancy has turned out to be a racial issue as the high rates of teen pregnancy is indicated among black, Hispanic, and Native teens. The distinctive factor is indicated as the high levels of poverty. Males goes on to suggest that the high levels of birth rates in Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia are mainly attributed to the minorities as well.
In comparison of whites with whites, Males suggests that U.S teen pregnancy levels would be lower than other English speaking nations and among the Western mainstream. Although some people can term the U.S teenage pregnancy rate as not unusual, the fact of the matter remains to be; the economic and demographic structure of the U.S is what is unusual.
This is because, if the United Kingdom possessed the identical demographic as the U.S, then it would be having teen pregnancy rates closer to those of the U.S (Males, 2010, p.117).
Modern efforts of dealing with teenage pregnancy
Having attained a deeper understanding of the numerous and adverse effects of pregnancy among the teenagers, a distinctive approach must be undertaken in order to alleviate this problem. The fact that teen pregnancy has multiple causation and dimensions, this means the efforts must be multifaceted. Instantaneous solutions should not be expected as long term goals have to be established.
These goals should be accompanied with objectives designed to meet these goals. Macro as well as micro planning should be undertaken essentially at the local community level as well as the federal government level. The outcomes of the programs undertaken should be shared with all stakeholders.
This can be done through concerned professional vehicles as well as existing mass media. Of most importance is that the programs undertaken that have succeeded should be emulated throughout the nation. In order to succeed there must be commitment from both the federal and the local government by making teen pregnancy one of the top priorities .Additional funds must be incorporated in these programs and their research and demonstration projects (Jones and Battle, 1999, p. 6).
Among the strength of these multifaceted strategies is that education will develop having attained basic skills. A strategic dimension should also be incorporated that will deal with skills building and jobs, so as prepare these teenagers for the future labor force.
This is through the realization that education will play a significant role in not only enlightening the teenagers on various social issues, but also enriching them with the right skills and competencies that will go a long way in enhancing their future independence. Social support and extracurricular activities should be emphasized to improve self-esteem and provide a strong basis of family values and ties among the teenagers.
The comprehensive health care in question should incorporate parenting skills and sexuality. In this case, the teenagers will not only feel energized to lead normal and complete life, but also have a psychological and emotional confidence and attachment that will allow them to be socially nourished.
Educative workshops should be emphasized to the parents and teenagers as well. In these workshops, educative manuals and curriculum should be adhered to. A good example of these curriculums is “Saying No and Meaning It: A Guide for Parents” a project developed by The National Urban League (NUL).
Sexuality adolescent issues and skills of importance in terms of maintaining proper communication between the child and the parent should also be addressed in these workshops. In the policy sector, the legislation should have an impact on matters pertaining to the welfare and health of teenagers and children as whole (Jones and Battle, 1999, p. 7).
Jones and Battle indicate that in his article, Bruce Hare had suggested that there should be a structural determination in terms of viewing the social system of America. This is for the sole purpose of understanding the disproportionate in allocating the social system lowest slots to the African-American.
In addition to this, Hare indicate that classism, sexism, and racism have had a negative impact on the African-American community and hence they should organize themselves by offering collective activities to the teenagers and demand protection and enforcement of their rights from both the local and federal government in order to save the youths.
Poverty and Racism are the two-twin evil that should be combated in America, as they are responsible for social stratification. The social stratification prevents equal sharing of products and benefits of the community by the African-American citizens.
In order to combat these twin evils there should be responsive militancy as both the tactic and set of the mind should be used by the African-American teenagers to bring the change they yearn for. Moreover, it is through elimination of this social stratification that the society tends to live in harmony and with less conflict of interests.
Schools have a role to play in preventing teenage pregnancies. The special role played by the school in prevention of teen pregnancy is by availing information on sexuality and providing services like counseling. In addition to this the schools should emphasized on the quality of education starting from the levels of elementary school and preschool. Education will hence create a positive experience that will later result to responsive behavior as it enlightens the individual as well as giving him/her a wealth of knowledge.
The church also has responsibility in alleviating teenage pregnancy. According to Jones and Battle, the church should undertake a progressive stance position on issues pertaining to teenage pregnancy as opposed to the conservative position taken (Jones and Battle, 1999, p. 8).
The identified efforts should be embraced not only by the local and federal governments but also by the community at large. Roles played by both the church and the schools should be emphasized. Although there might be some weakness in the church trying to take a conservative position, the fact remains that teenage pregnancy is with us and if we do not do something, nobody will.
The strength of these efforts can be emphasized by the role played by both the local and federal governments. With the government involved in efforts of alleviating teenage pregnancy, issues like availability of funds will be taken care of.
Family planning associates medical group
Family planning associates medical group is one of the institution that is at the forefront in terms of combating issues affecting women. It is recognized internationally as some of its functions include family planning, abortion and women’s health services. The institute offers 24 hour services and is equipped with professionals specialized in gynecology (Family planning associates medical group, 2010)
Planned Parenthood is an organization based in US that deals with health care provision and education to millions of women, teenagers and men. The focus of this organization is mainly on women as over the past 90 years the organization has enhanced women’s health in terms of making informative decisions. In addition to this the organization also offers high quality medical care (Planned Parenthood, 2011)
Future policies and community based efforts of alleviating teenage pregnancy
The government has a major role to play in alleviating teenage pregnancy among its citizens. The twin evil identified as the main cause of teenage pregnancy is poverty and racism. These evils are subject of eradication if only the government has the goodwill. In the 21st century, the government is not supposed to be still fighting poverty and racism; instead, it is supposed to be focused on other social menace. This therefore indicates that the government should first ensure that the basics of alleviating racism and poverty are tackled before progressing to enhance policies that alleviate teen pregnancy.
Dispelling of myths
Commonly held misconceptions should be challenged and done away with to refuse the notions that tend to assert the evils of poverty and racism. In the future myths concerning teenage pregnancy ought to be a thing of the past. This is because these myths tend to apply the notion of a thin line between adolescent system value and poverty. By doing away with these myths, the nation will be achieving by reducing the rate of teen pregnancy.
Media coverage on teenage pregnancy problem
Media coverage of the issues affecting the community is crucial in alleviating the teenage pregnancy problem. The media is a tool that if used correctly it can play a great role in educating and transforming the community at large on issues pertaining to teenage pregnancy. Highlighting the aftermath of pregnancy at a young age and the effects that accompany it are just but a few ways of tackling the teenage pregnancy problem. In this 21st century, information technology is the key to development.
This therefore indicates that information can be transferred and made available at any moment or time. With the use of the available advanced technology, the teen pregnancy problem can be highlighted thus the exchange of different experiences will open doors to solutions.
In the developed nations, the United States is considered as a land of partially family traditionalism, as opposed to a land based on family stability. In comparison to majority of family trends taking place in these societies, the United State is suggested to be a laggard. When compared with other developed nations that reside on the west, the Americans are found to marry more at an earlier age. In addition to this, the Americans possess families that are slightly larger in that, the levels of non-marital cohabitation are partially low.
In respect to family stability, the Americans boast of the highest rate in marital dissolution. In this sense, the United States is trying to reach other advanced societies while on the other hand the rest of the advanced societies are trying to reach the standards of United States. In general, the standards of family change in America are slightly different as compared to other developed nations. While the marriage age is ascending, the rate of marriages is descending.
Arai, L. (2009). Teenage pregnancy: the making and unmaking of a problem. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Checkland, D., and Wong, W. (1999). Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. London: University of Toronto Press.
Cherry, A. L., (2001). Teenage pregnancy: a global view. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group Inc.
Family Planning Association Medical Group. (2010). Family Planning Associates Medical Group: Personal and Confidential for Women since 1969. Retrieved from http://www.fpamg.net/.
Hawes, J. M., and Shores, E. F., (2001). The family in America: an encyclopedia, Volume 1. California: ABC-CLIO.
Jones, D. J., and Battle, S. F. (1999). Teenage pregnancy: developing strategies for change in the twenty-first century. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Males, M. M., (2010). Teenage Sex and Pregnancy: Modern Myths, Unsexy Realities. California: ABC-CLIO.
Planned Parenthood. (2011). Planned Parenthood: Who We Are. Retrieved from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are-4648.htm.
Popenoe, D. (2009). Disturbing the nest: family change and decline in modern societies. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Wilpers, B. (2010). Teenage Pregnancies in the UK and Their Perception in the British Print Media. Berlin: GRIN Verlag.