The teenage years can be particularly trying for parents, as children become aware of their sexuality for the first time in their lives. Raging hormones and a newfound sense of independence may induce teens to act in ways that are irresponsible. The worst repercussion of this could be a teenage pregnancy.
Here are some facts about teenage pregnancy:
- There are estimated to be around 750,000 teenage pregnancies in the U.S. per year.
- Teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S. are amongst the highest in the developed world—higher than in other countries such as Great Britain, France, or Germany.
- A study estimates that up to 31% of teenage girls become pregnant before they reach the age of 20.
Teenage pregnancies harm the mother in the following ways:
- Teenage mothers suffer from poor weight gain, hypertension, anemia, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Guilt, anxiety, and depression also commonly affect them.
- Most teenage mothers often drop out of school or college early.
- Studies show a strong link between teenage pregnancy, single parenthood, and poverty.
Babies born from teenage pregnancies are at risk for the following reasons:
- Babies born to teenage mothers invariably have low birth weights and suffer health problems.
- Studies show that babies of teen mothers receive less care and medical treatment.
- Babies of teen parents also suffer from inadequate parenting.
Studies show that children of teen mothers generally do badly in school.
As a dad, there are things you can do to guard against teenage pregnancy:
- Talk. Uncomfortable as it may initially be, talk to your teen about safe sex.
- Teach. Help your child to develop a healthy attitude toward sex.
- Supervise. Always allow your child to have healthy interactions with the opposite sex. At the same time, experts recommend that you discourage exclusive relationships, or dating of one person only, until your child is at least 16 years old.
- Protect. Ensure that your teen stays away from drugs or alcohol.
- Encourage. Cultivate frankness in your children and encourage them to talk with you about all their problems.