Consequences of Teen Pregnancy
Recently, 16-year-old Jeanette informed her mother, Danielle, that a close school friend had become pregnant.
Danielle felt saddened by the news. An informed parent, she knew that the incidence of teen pregnancy is unacceptable. Each year in Canada, thousands of young women find themselves coping with unwanted pregnancies.
The consequences are often grave. For children born of children, chances of low birth weight and prematurity are high. So are instances of parental abuse, poor health, neglect and poverty. The majority of teenage mothers also face a bleak future. Often forced to drop out of school, these young women face a life of diminished expectations.
From the time Jeanette was a pre-teen, Danielle had made a point of frankly discussing the harsh realities of teen pregnancy with her daughter. The mother well aware of the studies which showed that a full 80 per cent of teens experience sexual intercourse before they are 18.
Danielle also knew that, peer pressure aside, she and her husband were the most influential people in Jeanette's life. That's why, in her discussions with her daughter, Danielle not only offered information and in turn listened to her child's opinions, she expressed her own views.
In Danielle's case, this was a strong belief that the teen years were not a time for a commitment to a relationship or sexual intercourse. Instead, Danielle told Jeanette that it was a time for school as well as a time to enjoy family and friends and to begin to establish life goals.
Beyond making the decision to talk frankly to her daughter, Danielle also made a decision to help Jeanette keep busy. The facts are that a youngster whose time is taken up with school, sports, family and community is far less likely to drop out, take drugs
-- or find themselves inadvertently pregnant.
© Algoma Family Services