Teenage Pregnancy 2 Essay, Research Paper
As her baby is screaming, seventeen year-old Annette wonders what they are going to eat for dinner tonight. It is the end of the month and her welfare check has run out. The child’s diaper is wet and Annette scrambles in the bathroom, searching for a clean one. Although this scenario is make believe, it is reality for many young teens across the nation. The United States has a higher teenager pregnancy rate than any other developed country in the entire world (http://btio.com/facts.htm). A solution must be found for this escalating problem!
First of all, about one million teenagers become pregnant each year and more than 530,000 give birth (http://babynet.ddwi.com/tlc/pregnancy/teenfact.html#intro). Too add to the problem, thirty-one percent of all mothers are unmarried when they give birth, and that is including two-thirds of all teenage mothers (DiConsiglio, p10). Our nation’s government can only offer help in this major problem by fathering the mother and child with a welfare check each month. The problem still does not become resolved, and the government continues to fork over our money to the young families.
Next, to even begin to come up with a solution to this problem, one must identify the cause of it. Is irresponsibility of young adults the only reason for this growing problem? Why are more and more teenagers becoming pregnant as time goes on? And why hasn’t this been such a big problem thirty years ago?
All deserving speculation, there are many possible reasons why teenage Americans are becoming unwed mothers. First of all, today’s kids are not being taught morality like they used to. Politician, Alan Keys, says that children are not getting the moral guidance that promotes abstinence from sex (DiConsiglio, p10). It is worth noting that a survey conducted in 1990 found that 61 percent of the males and 48 percent of the females reported that they have engaged in sexual intercourse by their senior year in high school (Harvey and Spigner, p260). President Clinton tried to combat this lack of morality by placing emphasis on sex education, including programs like making condoms available in schools (DiConsiglio, p10). But wouldn’t the distribution of condoms in schools promote unmarried sex? Isn’t the main problem that today’s children are having sex at younger ages than before?
Secondly, the Hollywood of today contributes a great deal to the problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to alert parents about television’s effects on their children. Through research, this committee has concluded that American teens see an estimated amount of 14,000 sexual references and innuendos per year on television, and only 150 of them refer to responsible sex, contraceptive use, and abstinence (Palar, p48). It is also alarming to know that by the time the average American child enters first grade, they have watched more than 5,000 hours of television, and that excludes any television watched during the first two years of life (Rosemond, p46). At this rate, by the time our kids reach the age of seventy, they will have watched seven to ten years of television (Palar, p48). During the first six years of life is when that child is acquiring learning skills. When the child watches television he/she is passively staring at constantly changing images (Rosemond, p48). Therefore, as the content of today’s TV shows worsen, the children of today are learning immorality at younger ages, and the future of this issues looks grim.
Another alarming statistic which sheds light on this issue is the following: Out of all teen mothers, sixty-six percent of them had children by men who were twenty or older (Klein, p32). Also, a 1992 Washington state study found that 62 percent of 535 teen mothers had been raped or molested before they became pregnant, and the offenders average age was 27.4 years (Klein, p32). Why are teenage girls becoming a target for older men? Probably because after they have been abused, they look for the fatherly attention they never had.
An example of this particular issue is from a young girl named Charlette. When she was only fourteen years old she was faced with many hard times. Her stepfather came back from prison and was beating on her mother and herself. She was forced to live on the streets for awhile and that is when she became prey. A twenty year old guy named Mickey offered her fatherly comfort, and being vulnerable and young, she fell victim to this “predator”. When she told him she was pregnant he ran. She later found out that he had six other children, mostly with other young girls. She was na ve and got taken advantage of (Klein, p32).
Also, of the teens who get pregnant, fifteen percent of them will become pregnant again within one year (http://btio.com/facts.htm). This may be because once the girl falls into the hole of poverty, she has to depend on welfare to stay alive. When a single female bares a child, welfare is almost guaranteed and she has another child to get more welfare.
Finally, It is clear that many factors contribute to the nation-wide problem of teen-pregnancy. Whether young girls are abused in their earlier youth, or they aren’t educated very well, we need to put an end to the horrific problem. What can we do? We can regulate closely the content of today’s television programs. We should not allow unsuitable programs to be viewed at early hours when young children are present. Parents should teach children about sex. We can enforce statutory rape laws better by having harsher punishments for men like Charlette’s partner. We should also require teen mothers, who receive welfare, to live in homes which provide protection from predators and a chance to learn motherhood and morality. We can put an end to this, but we need to act now!
DiConsiglio, John. “Pregnancy: Who’s to Blame?” Scholastic Update 8 Mar. 1996:
Harvey, Marie S., and Spigner, Clarence. “Factors Associated with Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents: A Multivariate Analysis.” Adolescence 30.118
(Summer 1995): 260
Klein, Joe. “The Prdator Problem.” Newsweek 29 Apr. 1996: 32
Palar, Barbara Hall. “Real-family Solution for Tuning Out.” Better Homes and
Gardens Feb. 1996: 48
Rosemund, John. “Cutting Back on TV.” Better Homes and Gardens Feb. 1996: