According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen birth rates fell steeply in the United States from 2007 through 2013, dropping to a record low of 26.5 live births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 years old.
Pregnancy has consequences for teen girls and boys, as well as their children. Once a girl is pregnant, there is no easy choice. The best thing is to help your child avoid getting pregnant, or getting someone pregnant, in the first place.
Having a baby as a teenager makes it much harder for a boy or girl to reach their goals, such as finishing high school, going to college, getting a good job or getting married when they grow up, and it poses additional challenges for the child, as well.
In 2015 a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15-19 years for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women for this age group.
If a teen girl finds out she is pregnant, she and her parents, and the father of the baby and his parents, have some tough decisions to make. None of them are easy:
- Some teen mothers decide to continue their pregnancy and choose adoption. Adoption may be the best choice for the baby and the teen parents. There are many adoption agencies and types of adoption. Some teens are able to meet the parents who wish to adopt the baby.
- Many teens decide to keep their babies. Some marry the baby’s father and raise their baby together. Even though they are young, they have to cope with adult responsibilities, like supporting the mother emotionally and financially during her pregnancy and helping to raise their child. They are financially responsible for their children until their children turn 18.
- Sometimes the baby’s grandparents or other family members help raise the child so that the teen mother can stay in school and work. This requires a lot of additional hard work for a teen parent to finish school and get a good job. Children of teen mothers face greater risk of poverty, behavioral problems, poor academic performance, incarceration and teen pregnancy, so good parenting skills are very important.
- Some teen pregnancies end in abortion. Abortions can have complications. Some states require teens to have their parent’s permission to get an abortion. There is also an emotional effect on both the teen mother and father after an abortion.
- The pregnancy can strain a teen father’s relationships with his sexual partner and her parents. Teen fathers do not go as far in school and make less money when they get in the job market than teens who do not father children.
Experts say it is best to begin talking to your child about sex during his or her preteen years (ages 10 to 12), before he or she may become sexually active. By broaching the subject early enough and reassuring your child that he or she can feel comfortable talking to you anytime, you will have a better chance of getting your teen to listen, open up and adopt your values.
When talking to teens, be specific and express your values:
- Supervise and monitor your children.
- Know your children’s friends and their families.
- Discourage early, frequent or steady dating.
- Know what your children are watching, reading and listening to.
- Listen carefully to what your children say, and pay attention to what they do.
- Be supportive and involved in what interests them.
- Be open to and encourage honest conversations about sex, STDs, pregnancy and other concerns.
Being a teen mom myself thought it was very important to post this content especially if it can help my mothers and daughters who read this article.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: thenationalcampaign.org