Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why is there so little community outreach on the issue of teen pregnancy?

The curious attitudes of teens today towards pregnancy continues to amaze me. A 19 year old girl who has been dating a nephew announced her pregnancy on Face Book including sonogram pictures and the baby's name explaining she wanted to wait until after her high school graduation party. Her friends are excited because the baby daddy has a job. Never mind that he is still a high school student. And, for all of those proponents of home schooling - please note baby mama was home schooled. In addition to missing the classes on sex education and economics, she can't spell worth a damn!

She has expressed overt anger on Face Book because baby daddy's grandmother did not appreciate reading about the impending birth on Face Book. Her friends did point out, of course, that the grandma may just be old fashioned. She has no clue that she has probably resigned herself, baby daddy and her child to a life of struggle or hardship. She can only see she is now the center of attention.

The attitude expressed by this young woman is not unusual...that is the problem. Conservatives argue that birth control should not be readily available and abortion should be illegal. Teens should just say no. But that is no solution. The fact is, teens have sex. It is fun. It is cool. It feels good. It is a way for girls to seek love or acceptance. 

Instead of sanctimonious posturing, both sides of the political aisles should engage communities to reach out to young people and educate them on the cost of teen parenthood. Explain to young men that once named as a biological father, he will face 18 to 21 years of child support payments.....often through wage garnishment. Explain to young women that she has a significantly higher probability of living in poverty if she is an unwed mother....even if the baby daddy pays. Few get a college education, a well paying job, the opportunity to buy a house, the chance to travel. Explain that having a baby won't help you keep the man. 

The kids pays a huge price as well including poverty, parental alienation (often caused by the mother who is bitter towards the man who didn't marry her), emotional and psychological problems, and a high probability of continuing the cycle.


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