American Culture-Teenage Preganacy Essay, Research Paper
In recent years, teenage pregnancy has been labeled a major issue amongst teens that it can be known as an Epidemic. Is teenage pregnancy directly responsible for a host of society s ills? Increasing teenage pregnancy rate translates directly into increasing rates of school failure, early behavioral problems, drug abuse, child abuse, depression, and crimes. Many social problems can be directly attributed to the poor choices of teenage girls.
The talk shows today are flooded by episodes dealing with teen pregnancies. The teenage rate in the United States declined in 1993 and 1994. Unfortunately, the number of birth decreased only to older teens, ages 18 and 19. Babies born to teens younger than 17 actually increased, reflecting a growing population of younger girls who are what we now euphemistically call sexually active. The number of girls aged 14-17 will increase by more than a million between 1996 and 2005.
Increasing numbers of children born to children are likely to repeat the devastating cycles of almost everything bad-teenage pregnancy, school failures, early behavioral problems, drug abuse, child abuse, depression and crime.
This belief system, provided by parents and those people immediately in contact with youngsters, shapes their ideas about the surrounding world and also gives them certain ideas about themselves. ( Conflict and Order Chapter 4-Culture)
Has anyone ever heard of a child who is happy because he does not know his father? Being a child of a single mother is a handicap, regardless of the wealth, maturity, or social status of that mother. Growing up as the child of a single parent is linked with lower levels of academic achievement (have to repeat grades in school or receiving lower marks and class standings); increased levels of depression; stress and aggression; a decrease in some indicated for physical health; higher incidences of needing services of mental health professionals; and other emotional and behavioral problems. All these effects are linked with lifetime in poverty, poor achievement, and susceptibility to suicide, likelihood of committing crimes and being arrested, and other issues.
When children grow, some tend to live through the society their parents grew, obtaining their social setting, culture, a way of thinking. If troubled kids had babies in their teens, then their child will grow up in the same troubled path their parents were in, it s like a cycle. The parents still only teach them what they know, and if they were taught to steal, fight or whatever their lifestyle seems to be, their child will grow up to have the same standard of living and the same mentality as their folks.
Teen-age sex is dangerous not only for a young person s health but the health of our society because trouble is reproducing trouble. Teenage hormones seek gratification, this may become addicting; they sort of become sexual predators. Many cultural influences remind these young people of teenage sexuality. Proscribing sexual activity for teens has gone to the personal liberation and media-saturated sex desire. Billboards, commercials, magazines, everywhere you look, sexuality is expressed. Watching a beer commercial has become one of the targets for sexuality because almost all these commercials has a half naked woman trying to seduce a man into drinking their label of beer.
Another concern regarding teenage pregnancy is coercion. In California, more than 70,000 babies were born to teenage mothers in 1993, are now charging men in their 20 s who get underage girls pregnant with either statutory rape or lewd sexual activity with a minor. The Urban Institutes states that three-quarters of the girls under the age of 14 who are sexually active say they were forced by their first partner to have sex relations.
Media attention focuses a lot on teenage pregnancy casting the unmarried teenage mothers as the source of many society s ills. Illegitimacy is an important social problem, I believe more than crime, drugs, poverty, illiteracy, welfare, or homelessness. The reason why is because unwed parents are the main drive for all of these other social problems that are due to the illegitimate parenthood.
Individuals want to belong; they want to be accepted by other people. Therefore, they tend to conform to the behavior of their immediate group as well as to the wishes of society at large. ( Conflict and Order Chapter 4-Culture)
The unstable parenthood of a child affects these young ones because society tells us we need both a mother and a father and their children living in a happy home. When illegitimate children see other children have this parental bond in other kids, they know, that is what s missing in their lives. The child may think to itself as abnormal. This will take a strain on them and may subconsciously become problematic to themselves and society. Look at Teenage Wasteland by Donna Gaines. The four teenagers who commited suicide could not take the town s harsh name-calling and the looks they would get from them. They were brainwashed by the people around them into thinking they were loosers , or druggies. These teenagers started to really believe it and that is what led to their unfortunate suicide.
After becoming mothers, young woman are confronted with a lack of affordable childcare and a job market pay women (especially minority women) low wages. The low wages is due to the discontinued or lack of education and therefore a lack of experience. The only jobs these teenage parents could obtain are minimum wage manual labor-type jobs.
The new trend that threatens the United States is white illegitimacy. In 1991, 707,502 babies were born to single white women, representing births. In 1993 a Census Bureau study of fertility among all American women go headlines for a few days because it showed that birth to single woman with college degrees doubled in the last decade to 6% from 3%. The real news of that study is that the proportion of single mothers with less than a high school education jumped to 48% from 35 % in a single decade. Whites dominate these numbers. For white women below the poverty line in the year prior giving birth, 44% of births have been illegitimate, compared with only 6% for women above the poverty line. White illegitimacy is overwhelmingly a lower-class phenomenon.
This brings us to the emergence of a white underclass. European-American whites are the ethnic group with the most people in poverty, most illegitimate children, most women on welfare, most unemployed men, and most arrests for serious crimes. And yet whites have not had an underclass as such, because the whites that might qualify have been scattered among the working class.
But now the overall white illegitimacy rates as 22%. The figure in lo-income, working class communities may be twice that. On black crime, dropout fro the labor force and illegitimacy rage passed 25%.
Teenage pregnancy has costs to the mothers, to the children, and to the larger society and nation. In 1987, more than 19 billion in public funds was spent for income maintenance, health care, and nutrition for support of families begun by teenager. Babies born to teenagers have a high risk of being born with low birth weight and low birth weight requires initial hospital care averaging $20,000 per infant. The total lifeline medical cost for each low-birth weight infance average $400,000. Moreover, members of this single-parent headed, welfare-receiving families are at very high risk of remaining poor and not well educated throughout their lives. Usually, when married woman go on welfare, they tend to get off welfare within a few years, and when women go on welfare, they tend to remain there permanently.
Hardship is a big factor in teenage pregnancy, especially single parents who struggle with work, and raising a child in America. The ages of these teens are so young that they have not fully grown into woman. They are forced to grow up, and take responsibility for themselves and their child. But there are the ones that do not have the adult mentality and since they are still kids having babies at a young age, they are prone to making wrong decisions. About two years ago we all heard about how teenage pregnancy has turned into murder when trying to throw their newly born babies in the dumpster, or flushing them down the toilet. This is devastating to hear. These teens were attempted to take immediate measures in trying not to get in trouble by their family or parents. Not even that, just the fact that these teens think they were grown enough to have sex, but in reality they were not. They did not stop to think if the actions they were about to make in killing their newly born child was right or wrong.
Unintended pregnancies among teenagers could be avoided if sexually active teenagers used contraception. The use of contraception requires planning and planned initiation of sexual intercourse among teens is rare. Nature equips humans with two maturity; physical and sexual maturity comes first, and emotion and psychological maturity appears later. Teenagers, particularly younger ones, are poorly equipped with the ability to foresee the consequences of their acts and plan accordingly. Teens tend to see themselves as invulnerable to risk. Moreover, this is a time of life when peer pressure and media pressure fore engaging in sex are especially acute. At least for many inner-city and other poor invaded teenage girls, their pregnancies are not actually unplanned but actually desired. Girls are not ignorant about contraception; they do not use it because they actually yearn for babies. Their emotion and psychological immaturity, however does not allow them to know or understand the real consequences of motherhood, especially teenage motherhood. Watching talk shows, I hear how teenagers want to have a child. Their reason is that they want someone who is surely to love them back. This shows how they have a lack of attention in their family and shows how there is a lack of love these girls are missing from their young lives.
Sex education in the schools is not new, of course, but never before was it attempted to expose children to so much so soon. Comprehensive sex education includes much more than a movie about menstruation and a class or two in human reproduction. It begins in kindergarten and continues into high school. It sweeps across disciplines, taking up the biology of reproduction, the psychology of relationships, the sociology of the family, and the sexology of masturbation and message. It is not as simple as just reducing health risk for teenagers but also to build self-esteem, prevent sexual abuse, promote respect for all kinds of families.
For adolescents who are not affective contraceptive users, who do not use a method, the consequences can be serious, especially for young women. Every year, 3 million teenagers acquire an STD, which can imperial their ability to have children or lead to serious health problems, such as cancer and infection with the Aids virus.
Teenagers who become pregnant almost always have an abortion or give birth and raise the child themselves; placing a child for adoption is rare. About half of adolescent pregnancies end in birth, slightly over a third in abortion and the rest in miscarriage. The way in which adolescent women resolve their pregnancies is determined largely by their socioeconomic status. Young women who come from advantaged families generally have abortion. Childbearing, on the other hand, is concentrated among teenagers who are poor and low-income.
Young mothers tend not only to be disadvantaged economically, educationally and socially at the time of their child s birth, but also to be at risk of falling behind their more advantaged peers who postponed childbearing to obtain more education and to advance their careers. Teenage mothers for example obtain less education and have lower future family incomes than young women who delay their first birth. Many are poor later in life, and while it is clear that their initial disadvantaged background is a major reason for their subsequent poverty, it is also that early childbearing has an impact on the lives and future opportunities of young mother and of their children.
There are relationships between the Teenage Pregnancy culture and other American cultures. They are all the structure of Social Groups. Each of us belongs to a number of social organizations, and in each we occupy a position, which gives us a source of identity for individualism. Teenage Wasteland by Donna Gaines, gave insight on how, and why teenagers commit suicide. She asks, how alienated were these kids from society, and how they thought they defeated everyone else by letting them believe what society told them they were ( losers , burnouts , druggies , dropouts ). These questions can also lye on the issue on Teenage Pregnancy.
The lack of anything to do often led to drug and alcohol abuse. ( Mapping the social landscape Teenage Wasteland )
Is this what teens were also doing due to their pregnancy? How about the Tattoo Subculture? People say it s art, it s a symbol of importance of self-identity. Maybe people get tattoos because it s a trend or just another accessory, maybe people do it to look cool. This can be some of the reasons teenage pregnancy occurs, to live up to the Just do it because everyone does it mado.
Given all the information available, it is time for parents, politician, educators, health advocates and community organizations to take thoughtful actions. We have to be prepared to fight in all the institution through which men learn to own women s sexuality and women learn to give it up. Those institutions include churches, the media and schools as well and the family. Teachers and parents, supported by their organizations must also begin to speak to young women and men honestly about dealing with sexual abuse, having or postponing sex, contraception, safer sex and personal responsibility.
Most important of all, young women must learn to fight together for the kinds of deep-reaching programs that will help them to learn physical and verbal self defense, protect their right to set sexual boundaries and give them space to develop self-esteem that extends beyond their sexual value to men. Girls who are strong-who have something going on in their lives and who care about themselves their bodies, and their communities are better able to fend off sexual exploitation and avoid unwanted pregnancy.
1. Ferguson, J. Susan. Mapping the Social Landscape Reading in Sociology. The New Tattoo Subculture. By:Anne M. Velliquette and Jeff B. Murray. 1999, 2nd Edition. 56-67. Teenage Wasteland. By: Donna Gaines. 7-20.
2. Eitzen, D. Stanley and Zinn, Baca Maxine. In Conflict and Order Understanding Society. Culture Chapter 4. 81-110. The Structure of Social Groups Chapter 2. 27-49.
3. Marlin, George. Adolescent Sexual Behavior and Childbearing. Washington D.C. Greenhaven, 1997.
4. Wilson, Q, James. The family. California. Commentary. 1998.