Teen pregnancy should be an oxymoron. The sad truth is that it’s not. In fact, teen pregnancy has become so common in the United States that many high schools have opened day care centers on school grounds to cater to the needs of their teen mothers. MTV’s two popular shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom reveal just how prevalent teen pregnancy has become.
According to Pregnant Teen Help, the United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and teen births in the western industrialized world. It cost the United States close to $7 billion dollars a year. About 750,000 teens will get pregnant each year. 24 percent of all unmarried expectant mothers are teenagers. Also, more than 2 out of 3 teenage parents will not graduate from high school. Since the 1990s, teenage birth rates have dropped. This is due mostly to prevention programs.
It shouldn’t start there or end there. Parents should be the first to introduce their children to sex. For earlier generations, talking openly about sex was taboo.
We are living in a different time where sex is broadcasted everywhere, every second. To ensure that the youth are getting the proper information about sex, parents need to speak up.
If they don’t, their children will get it from their friends and the media. Neither are reliable sources. Their peers will feed them myths while the media glorifies risky and sexual behavior and more times than not, shows no consequence.
Being open to programs other than abstinence only is greatly beneficial. Abstinence only programs are great, but only if the teens are practicing abstinence or committed to staying abstinent. There is a grave misconception that sex education and prevention programs encourage sexual behavior among teens. This is quite the contrary.
The mission of many of these programs is to teach abstinence while also providing information about safe sex. After all, sex is not a secret. Information on how to practice safe sex should not be either.
In fact, research has shown that teens are less likely to engage in sex when they are properly educated about sex, anatomy, contraception, STD’s and HIV/AIDS. The truth is teens are curious. Open communication about sex is crucial in saving their lives. Speaking about sex can be uncomfortable.
Teenage pregnancy is much more unsettling. We have the power, the knowledge, and the resources to end this. The cycle can stop with this generation.