Do you sneer at teen pregnancy rates in the US, thinking you have better morals and as a Naija, you have been brought up to ‘know’ better and just wouldn’t have been ‘stupid’ enough to get pregnant at that age?
The Reality of Teen Pregnancy
How long can we continue to ignore the obvious exposure of our kids to sex at much earlier age and not have appropriate conversations with them?
How many of us can say our parents had the ‘sex-talk’ with us?
Kids will be exposed to this whether we like it or not so would you rather your kids are aware of how to be protected if they do have sex or would you just instead ‘forbid’ sex before marriage believing kids will automatically choose abstinence?
We are in an age where such tactics are no longer enough – it might have been okay with our parents and their parents before them but our kids will be exposed to sex at much earlier rates than have ever been and it is our responsibility to make sure they are well informed regardless of whatever path we ‘hope’ they choose.
While I haven’t crossed that bridge yet, I have had the conversation in my head several times and it would go something like this:
abstinence is really the only way to be sure you don’t end up with an incurable disease (note here: pregnancy is a lesser concern than getting a disease) but if for some reason, you do find yourself in such a situation, make sure you are protected – yes my children will be schooled in all forms of safe sex. I disagree that knowledge of safe sex encourages sexual behaviors.
What will you do if your teenage daughter did get pregnant or teenage son gets another teenager pregnant (I know all the religious people go – it shall not be my portion)? I honestly want my baby to feel comfortable coming to me rather than selecting an alternate method out of fear – this isn't an issue of whether I’m Pro-life or Pro-choice, but rather because I think desperation can lead to inappropriate decisions with dire consequences especially at such young ages. Need help in talking to your child? Check out Talking About Difficult Subjects With Kids.
Watch these videos and think hard the next time you walk by a pregnant teenager and think “this would not happen to my daughter”
In our house, an African story of aids etc….
How to Tell Your Parents You're Pregnant
A GUIDE FOR TEENS
Worried about how to tell your parents you're pregnant?
Every year there are millions of teens who worry about being pregnant. Many of them do indeed become pregnant. This means that you will eventually face the question of how to tell your parents you're pregnant. Here are some helpful tips:
Having to face your parents a lone may be too much for you. Consider having your boy friend, you brother or sister, a friend or an adult you trust stay with you while you tell your parents that you're pregnant. They can provide you with moral support.
Pick a Good Time
Be choosy with the timing. It is never a good idea to tell your parents you're pregnant as they, or you, are on the way out the door. You will want to find a time that allows you a fair bit of time to talk, even if you don't use it. By not trying to squeeze it in quickly, you stand a better chance of having a good conversation.
Your parents may offer you advice. This isn't necessarily bad, but it can be annoying. Be prepared to tell them what you need from them. Statements like, "Mom, what I really need form you right now is to simply love on me and be my sounding board while I work this out." Your parents might also offer you advice that is something you had not considered.
Sometimes the advice that you receive might seem like a directive. Remember that they are processing everything you have just said and are probably saying the first thing that comes to their mind. While it might be easy to jump on it or argue, remember that it probably took you a bit of time to understand and process what's going on. They also need time and maybe space. Don't take this as a bad sign.
The questions may start flying as soon as the news is out. Who is the father? When did this happen? Did you use birth control? How long have you been having sex? Calmly give them the answers that you are ready to give and the rest simply say that you're not ready to talk about it.
As frightening as it may be to talk to your parents, remember that they do love you. While you may fear that they won't love you if you are pregnant, it's simply not true. They may be hurt or angry, but that is different from not loving you.
Now you can have them help you figure out many questions like will their insurance cover you and/or the baby? What are your living arrangement options?
Once you have told your parents you're pregnant, you will likely feel a huge weight off your shoulders.
Teen pregnancy: Who is to blame?
Teen pregnancy is rarely a desirable event for a girl as well as for other potential baby’s relatives. But the main trouble is not that the future mother is too young to bring up a baby. The fact is that such a pregnancy is usually caused by some certain problems and this means that the awaited baby is not going to be happy.
Why did this happen?
Most people consider teen pregnancy to be a tragedy, because a pregnant teenage girl inevitably feels lonely and condemned by the whole world. Actually, this poor girl had been lonely and had lacked mutual understanding with her parents long before she got pregnant. Teen pregnancy does cause problems, but the pregnancy itself is a consequence of problems a girl suffers from!
Let us see what factors provoke teen pregnancy:
1. Lack of knowledge about contraception
As often as not teen girls begin their sex life without any knowledge about female physiology and contraception. A girl might rely on her “more experienced” partner who is for example “already 16 whereas she is only 14.” Having nobody to speak with about such important matters as protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, a girl cannot choose an effective method of contraception, she will not guess there is a connection between sex contact and absence of periods and she is very likely to think that her waist widening is the reason to go on a diet. No doubt in this case teen pregnancy is the result of lack of necessary sex education and trustful relationships with the parents.
2. “Risky behavior”
Very often girls who “consort with bad guys” get pregnant. Usually exactly these girls are blamed for risky behavior and pregnancy caused by it. But does anyone wonder why these girls keep company with criminals, drug addicts and other people of this sort? Usually the parents of a girl are to blame for such a situation. Feeling lonely and rejected by her parents a girl begins to look for “understanding” everywhere and when she finds it she subconsciously chooses the most risky type or behavior and does not care about her health, future and consequences sex contacts might cause.
Believe it or not, the vast majority of such rapes are committed by a girl’s friends or acquaintances, rather than by maniacs. But even if a teenage girl became a victim of a stranger, why did she happen to be in the street late at night? Was she turned out of the house or did she run away from home herself? May be her parents do not care about their daughter and they did not teach her safe behavior? Why weren’t the necessary preventive measures taken after the rape? May be because the girl could not tell her parents about the trouble which happened to her?
4. “Planned” pregnancy
Some girls try to solve their psychological problems in such a strange way. In particular they hope they will have someone who is going to love them (“Nobody loves me, but my baby will”) or they try affirm their being adult and independent (“Mom, how else can I prove I am a grown up and you should not teach me any longer?”). This is again a girl’s parents fault. As often as not some too caring parents refuse to realize their teens are already adults who have their own points of view which must be taken into consideration. As the result sons and daughters of such parents resort to any tricks to get rid of their parents care. Very often the ways such children choose to prove their being adult and reasonable people turn out to be wrong and even affecting the future of a girl or a boy. Do not overdo care for your child!
Little Mothers and Young Grandmothers
There is almost no mother who is going to be happy with her teen daughter’s pregnancy. Usually the first reaction is aggression and reproaches. But who is really to blame for such a trouble?
May be there is some use finding out who is to blame, but this is not going to help solve the problem. But if the mother really needs to blame someone, than she should look in the mirror. As a rule a girl’s psychological ill-being and its result – unwanted pregnancy - is caused exactly by her mother’s psychological illiteracy and inability to normally communicate with her daughter. And the daughter’s pregnancy is the main evidence of lack of trust and mutual understanding between the mother and the daughter.
What is more, the mother’s aggression often has some subconscious implications, such as “I am not ready to have grandchildren yet!” “You dared to change my life without my agreement”!
That is why in such a situation a girl should first of all go to a gynecologist, whereas her mother should apply to a psychotherapist, because as it has been said above a mother’s arguments might be based on her subconscious problems and complexes.
For example, if a mother, neglecting all her daughter and doctor’s arguments, insists on abortion, than she might have a subconscious unwillingness to become a grandmother or she can think “I do not want my daughter to become a mother. Let her always be a little girl” (in this case a mother does not want to lose the sense of her life, she does not want her daughter to have one more close person). A future grandmother can even think “Let her suffer from pain. Next time she will be more careful and will obey me”.
However, sometimes mothers insist on childbirth, neglecting possible pathology or their daughter’s psychological immaturity and even the fact that pregnancy is the result of rape.
In this case a mother’s persistence is illogical. It can imply such subconscious thoughts as “let my daughter give birth to a baby and become dependent on me forever” or “ she will see she should obey her parents”. Some mothers want to bring up their daughter’s babies like their own ones, thus proving “you are my property, you do not have anything of your own, even your children are mine”.
Everything mentioned above is quite shocking, therefore all women whose teen daughter’s happened to get pregnant, should necessarily apply to a psychologist or a psychiatrist to get rid of such subconscious and destructive motivations and to become their daughters’ best friends. Of course, a mother and a daughter should have become friends long ago, but better late than never.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Tips for Parents
Teen pregnancy rates go up and down depending on the data for the year in question but one thing does not change, there are too many teens getting pregnant. Why? Well, there are lots of social-economic reasons for teen pregnancy but the biggest culprit is that teens are having sex or more to the point, they are having unprotected, irresponsible sex. And big surprise here, sex works. It fulfils its purpose and produces babies. Teens need to be made aware of this and reminded often. Teens need their parents to help them control their impulses and to learn to be a sexually responsible young adult. Here are some tips you can use with your teen involving the whole family to prevent teen pregnancy:
Discourage early, steady dating.
Encourage friendships, groups of friends and going out with a group activities. Some kids have boyfriends/girlfriends just because they are bored. Get your teen out and about with a youth group, organized sport, hobby, etc. Allow your teen to invite friends to you home for a movie night or games. The more your teen's friends hang out together as a group, the less time they will spend as couples.
Three of four girls and over half of boys report that girls who have sex do so because their boyfriends want them to.1 Help them make a plan to get out of situations before they are in them. Make a plan on how to walk away from someone who may be pressuring them to have sex. Make another on how to stop when they are feeling sexually charged. Let's face it, our teens have hormones, and they are hard to deal with, so give them the words to use.
Talk with your teen early and often about sex, contraception, your morals and values.
The primary reason that teenage girls who have never had intercourse give for abstaining from sex is that having sex would be against their religious or moral values.
Teens are influenced by what you do more than by what you say. If you demonstrate responsibility in your own relationships, they will be more likely to do the same in their own.
Make their future attractive by teaching your teen to dream.
Tell them they have the capability to be whatever they want to be... the sky is the limit! Send away for college catalogs by the time they are 15, send away for some from France, Hawaii, etc. Do everything to make their future look brighter than being a mommy or daddy at the age of 17.
Whether they're having sex or not, they need to be prepared, they need to know how to avoid pregnancy. Parents rate high among many teens as trustworthy and preferred information sources on birth control. One in two teens say they "trust" their parents most for reliable and complete information about birth control, only 12 percent say a friend.
Use those good old fashioned rules and curfews.
Your teen may be telling you that you are the only parent that does, or you may be the only parent that does, so be it. The best way to show you love your teen is to establish the limits and enforce them.
Recommended Resources on Teen Pregnancy