The Effects Of Teen Pregnancy On Children
Essay, Research Paper
Children from homes run by teenage mothers
have to face almost insurmountable obstacles in life. The incidents of
depression and mental health problems, the lack of father figures, and
the high rate of poverty often connected to children in homes run by teenage
mothers put them at serious disadvantages when compared to children raised
in nuclear families. Many people believe that the implementation of sex
education in schools and the addition of more federal aid for single parents
are major causes for the country’s high rate of teen pregnancies. When
the true purpose of sex education and federal aid is to help strengthen
the mother and her child so that they can eventually lead productive lives.
The absence of a father figure in the home
brings about a chain reaction of dilemmas. The emotional problems that
children suffer because there is no father in their life can be potentially
hazardous to their future. Many children tend to be effected mentally because
these powerful emotions have the potential to do permanent damage in a
child’s life. Children may experience sadness and depression, aggressive
behavior, frequent illness, difficulty in school, eating problems, and
Many children also suffer from various
social difficulties and self-esteem problems that come along with living
in a one-parent household. The pressure that children raised by teenage
parents go through is tremendous. Children who don’t have fathers present
in the home often feel unloved. There is no trauma as excruciatingly painful
as parental rejection and there is probably no worse of a way to wreck
a person’s life.
Males are affected differently by the absence
of a father than females are. A boy needs a male role model in his life
so that he can learn how to become a man. Children who don’t have good
role models often choose negative, unsavory characters to mold themselves
after. These children become susceptible to many of the dangerous risks
associated with children who are raised by teenage parents. “Males that
grow up in one-parent homes may gain negative personality traits like immaturity,
laziness, and disrespect for women (Meurer, Meurer, & Holloway,1996).”
Females who grow up without fathers in
the home usually end up having pre-marital sex (Hinckely, 1998). ” They
subconsciously want to make up for the affection that they didn’t receive
from their fathers. They become too dependent on men because they want
someone who can replace their father. These women usually don’t know how
to relate to other males and they have the wrong idea about what a relationship
should be like.
Girls may even grow up to hate men because
of an unconscious resentment toward absent fathers. The shift from the
traditional nuclear family to one-parent homes has been dramatic in the
United States. “In many Western industrialized societies, the one-parent
family is becoming more common and tolerated (Encyclopedia Britannica,
1999).” However they often have not proven to be successful.
“Since 1970, the percentage of children
living with single parents has doubled, from 12 to 27 percent, because
of the increases in the divorce rate and the number of unmarried parents.
Single parent families now include more than 18 million children and comprise
the most common non-nuclear family (Meurer, Meurer, & Holloway,1996).”
This is a startling statistic considering
the fact that crime and poverty is directly related to children who are
raised by teenage parents. People who are faced with the harsh reality
of raising children are usually not prepared to handle the responsibility.
A lot of men try to run away from the problem. They then reject their children
and neglect to provide any kind of financial assistance for them. The mother
is ultimately left alone to juggle the task of raising the children and
earning all or most of the family income needed to support them. “Forty-one
percent of these mothers have never been married (Hinckely, 1998). ”
Most teen mothers have to rely on government
aid like Welfare, W.I.C, Focus Hope, project housing, and Medicaid as relief.
These mothers are only able to give their children the bare minimum for
survival. I see this first hand because a lot of people I know currently
have Medicaid insurance or at least receive a generous amount of financial
aid from the government to attend college here at Aquinas. There are a
lot of people who attend colleges all over the country thanks to financial
aid and grants. Government aid is good and people who are in need deserve
to receive it. After all it is the governments’ duty to ensure its people
the right to pursue happiness. People should not be denied the chance to
get health insurance, financial aid for tuition, decent housing and suitable
food to eat because they are poor.
It seems unfair that these children have
to suffer for the mistakes of their parents. Children raised by teenage
parents are brought into a highly competitive world where they start life
at a handicap. These children are automatically placed in the lower class.
This is a powerful term because it encompasses every aspect of these children’s
lives. From the rat-infested housing where they live to the poorly equipped
schools that they attend. Low class is the word that describes their lives
and their potential to become productive citizens.
Most working mothers who have had children
too early are not qualified to get high paying jobs; therefore they must
support their families with minimum wages and the little bit of money that
they receive from the government. “Children who live in single parent homes,
especially Hispanics and blacks, live below the poverty level (Hinckely,
1998). ” People don’t choose to be poor. Circumstantial issues like poor
education and lack of career opportunities cause poverty. The limited resources
and the continuation of cutbacks in government programs keep people poor.
It is practically impossible for a single
parent to raise kids, work a job, and pay all of the bills and utilities.
The build up of all of these pressures causes enormous physical and mental
stress on both the mother and child. It is the duty of American citizens
to help out the people in need by supporting government aid and private
charity institutions like the Salvation Army. People should not complain
about helping teen mothers and their children because by helping these
people in need they are helping to lover crime, illiteracy, and poverty
rates all over the country.
Now that the country is realizing how the
problem of teen pregnancy effects not only children, but also society at
large, numerous options have become available for people who need help.
Sex education is being taught in schools and clinics everyday. There are
also many classes open to mothers on how to raise a child and how to teach
values and ethics in the home. Ignorance about vital subjects like birth
control methods, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, male/female
relationships, love, dating, and marriage is a primary reason why there
are so many pregnancies by teenage mothers. The more people are educated
about pre-marital sex and it’s consequences, the more likely it is that
teen pregnancy rates will decrease.
Teen pregnancy is a controversial issue
because it effects society as a whole. Teenage mothers often raise children
who never learn how to live productive lifestyles. Negative elements like
drug addiction and crime seem to be the only outlets that are available
to lonely, confused children who live in poverty-stricken cities. For many
of these children there are only the options of dead-end jobs, jail or
early death. Many of these children end up having their own children at
an early age; therefore perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty, poor
education, joblessness, and lack of hope for the future.
Teenage girls that get pregnant in our
community become overwhelmed with the pressures of supporting their children
financially while trying to instill morals and ethics in their lives. We
as a community need to come together with the government and help these
mothers out. The problems of a teenage mother and her children eventually
become the problem of all of society. Children come first because they
are our future. Every child in the country should be afforded an equal
opportunity to succeed no matter its family, racial, or financial background.
Supporting teen mothers and their families and educating people about the
responsibilities and the risks of having sex can do this.
1. “Family” Encyclopedia Britannica Online
http://search.eb.com/bol/topic?eu=118054&sctn=2 [Accessed December
2. John R. Meurer; Linda N. Meurer; Richard
L. Holloway. “Clinical Problems and Counseling for Single-parent Families.”
American Family Physician 54 (1996) : 864-868.
3. Gordon B. Hinckley. “The Teaching of
Values: Putting the Father Back as the Head of the Family.” Workshop. U.S
Conference of Mayors. Salt Lake City. 15 Nov. 1998.