Teenage pregnancy is a growing problem in America. Teenage mothers often drop out of school and end up on welfare, barely able to support their child. Sometimes, teenagers who give birth do not live through the ordeal, as their bodies are not ready to handle the stress of childbirth. Why do teenage girls get pregnant? The answer is, there are many causes of teenage pregnancy.
The lack of education on safe sex, be it from parents, schools, or otherwise, is a cause of teenage pregnancy. Many teenagers are not taught about methods of birth control and how to deal with peers who pressure them into having sex before they are ready. According to the article “Lack of Parental Guidance Contributes to Teen Pregnancy”, many pregnant teenagers do not have any cognition of the central facts of sexuality” (2). Emily claims that she was pressured into having sex with her boyfriend when she was thirteen and that no one had taught her how to deal with this pressure and to say “no”. Emily wound up pregnant but aborted the child, as she felt there was no way that she, at thirteen, could take care of a baby. Felisha went to a high school in the mid-west that did not have sex education classes and Felisha’s parents did not discuss sex in the house. At sixteen, Felisha became pregnant by having unprotected sex with her boyfriend, Jake. Due to complications during birth, Felisha’s daughter did not live. Her parents were very ashamed of Felisha for getting into this situation, but she was upset with her parents for not discussing with her the facts about safe sex. The lack of safe sex education is just one cause of teenage pregnancy.
Lack of parental guidance and supervision is a major cause of teenage pregnancy. Most teenage mothers have not been educated about sex prior to becoming pregnant, due in part to a lack of communication between the teenager and her parents. According to the article “Lack of Parental Guidance Contributes to Teen Pregnancy”, parents sometimes knowingly provide false information about sex to discourage their children from participating in it (2). Kira became pregnant at fourteen because, she says, her mother did not have “the talk” with her and failed to inform her about birth control. Susan’s parent’s only words to her about sex were “don’t do it”. She became pregnant at sixteen and her parents were shocked. Susan claimed that if her parents had been more open with her about sex, she may not have gotten pregnant at such an early age. Lisa became pregnant at seveteen years of age. She suffered a miscarriage when her boyfriend, John, beat her up when she told him she was pregnant and he claimed it wasn’t his. Lisa says it could have been avoided if she had a more open communication line between herself and her parents. Parental guidance and supervision is an integral part of keeping teenage girls from becoming pregnant.
Exploitation by older men is a cause of pregnancy among teenagers. Often times, a girl who is impregnated by an older man has been raped, sometimes even by a family member. In one study, the abuser was six or more years the senior of the victim (Stock 4). Girls who have suffered sexual abuse at some point in their lives are more likely to become teenage mothers. According to Jacqueline L. Stock, “those who reported sexual abuse were three times as likely as those who had not experienced abuse to become pregnant before eighteen years of age” (1). Crystal was seventeen years old when she became pregnant by her brother’s friend, who was four years older than her. She kept the baby and has been in contact with the man. Unfortunately, she also dropped out of high school half way through her senior year so that she could stay home and take care of her son, David. At fifteen years old, Alannah entered a relationship with a man twice her age named Mark. The relationship ended when Mark raped her when she told him she didn’t want to have sex with him. Alannah aborted the pregnancy but lives with those memories everyday. Tanya was sexually abused by an uncle who lived with her between the ages of five and eleven. At fifteen, Tanya became pregnant by her boyfriend Chris, who was sixteen. Tanya opted to keep her baby and has recieved no support from Chris. Tanya left public school and started schooling through a correspondence school so that she could stay home and take care of her daughter, Alexis, while also attempting to finish high school. Older men having sex with younger girls is a big cause of teenage pregnancy.
It’s no secret that teenage pregnancy is a common thing to see these days. There are many causes of teenage pregnancy, ranging from lack of parental guidance, to not being educated on safe sex, to peer pressure, to sexual abuse and rape. The fact is, with a little communication and education, the number of teenage girls who become mothers can be drastically reduced.
Lack of Parental Guidance Contributes to Teenage Pregnancy”. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Galenet. OCCC LRC. 1 Mar. 2004.
Stock, Jacqueline L., Michelle A. Bell, Debra K. Boyen, and Frederick A. Connell. “Sexual Abuse is a Factor in Teenage Pregnancy”. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Galenet. OCCC LRC. 1 Mar. 2004.