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Question: Does having a child as a teenager affect their parent skills.
Answer: Introduction: When a teenage girl discovers her pregnancy which is either unexpected or unwanted, it creates enormous pressure, confusion, and depression, which have the potential to affect the well-being state. Becoming a parent at a young age can affect their life as well as of the new borne. There are basically four options for a pregnant girl to be considered; (i) raise the child with partner, (ii) raise the child with their own, (iii) give the child up for adoption, and (iv) end the pregnancy (Wall-Wieler, Roos, & Nickel, 2016). According to Wall-Wieleret al (2016), teenagers who get pregnant at a very young age face serious problems and they are not able to enjoy their lives like others of same age-group. A teen parent has to manage several things at a time, including their studies, which eventually disturbs their parenting skills. Further, they have to juggle their parental responsibilities with school, work and social life, which can subsequently become tiring for them. Prioritization between caring the baby and personal education becomes the major area of concern for a new teenage parent. Also, due to financial instability, it is difficult or even impossible for them to afford good childcare (Cook, & Cameron, 2015). This dilemma often creates a sense of depression in them, which affects them mentally and physically. According to a recent report, most of the teenager end up in becoming parents because of unemployment. The government basically provides financial assistance as support to teenage parents. Thus, to earn money from the government they prefer to get pregnant, without any prior knowledge that the latter life will become difficult for them. While some teenage couple becomes parent, in order to become strengthen their relationship, which often ends up with a bigger problem. Both the young mother and father get affected by this sudden change in their lives and have to face real-life challenges. However, a teenager father can even continue pursuing his studies, but the teenager mother has to compromise her high school studies and put off her future plan of attending colleges for looking after the child (Jonas, Crutzen, van den Borne, Sewpaul, & Reddy, 2016). The present report will outline the various factors for becoming a teenage parent, their major concerns and difficulties. Furthermore, the report has also mentioned some recommendations for the society as well as the teenager parent to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the newborn.
Reasons of Teenage pregnancy: According to the 2017 report by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 194,377 babies born to mothers having age group from 15 to 19 years (Maravilla, Betts, Cruz, &Alati, 2017). There are many reasons which are associated with the increase in teenage pregnancy rates in most countries. Despite the fact that there has been a steady reduction in teenage pregnancy for the past decade, still, the United States has been reported as having the highest number of teen pregnancies cases, as compared to any other industrialized nations (Mezey, Robinson, Gillard, Mantovani, & Meyer, 2017). The foremost reason is unprotected sex, which is due to a lack of proper sex-related education to young teens. Most of the children do not get the requisite advice from their parents because, either they are not around or they forbid talk. They are not aware of using condoms or any other pregnancy precautionary method. Furthermore, to earn money from the government as assistance to teenage parents, most of the adolescents choose to become parents. According to a research article published in BMC pregnancy and childbirth, the daughter of a teenage mother is 51% more likely to become pregnant during her teenage (Mezey et al 2017). Moreover, a girl with an elder sister having a past history of teenage pregnancy; horse three times more risk of teenage pregnancy (Krugu, Mevissen, Münkel, &Ruiter, 2017). These instances reflect the influence of family members on adolescents, especially teenage girls. Furthermore, the influence of TV shows like MTV's teen mom also has a great role in dramatizing the life of a teen mom in terms of maintaining pregnancy, relationship, and motherhood. These shows aim to gain attention and thus create a false impression on the young girls. Most of the time, the teenagers lack sufficient knowledge required to make an informed and responsible decision, and they get involved in sexual activities and have to face the consequences thereafter. Finally, the least reason for becoming pregnant is sexual abuse or rape. According to a recent report, the girl experiencing sexual abuse or rape holds three times the risk of getting pregnant (Krugu et al, 2017). These incidents create promiscuity, low self-esteem with a reduced locus of control, and they are more likely to become pregnant.
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Major areas of concern for a teenage parent: One of the most primary concerns for young parents is to earn money for themselves and their children. Their major expenses include food, housing, clothing, childcare, health care, and transportation. The deal with constant strengths and look for several opportunities to get financial assistance. However, the government in some places provide support in the form of payment, such as childcare benefit, household assistance, parenting payment, and education and childcare fee assistance (Krugu et al, 2017). These financial securities are temporary, they have to look for some substitute in their lives. The new mother and child need special medical care like, heavy cruiser food, medical treatment, vitamins, and regular check-ups, which is impossible without sufficient money. Furthermore, the newborn baby requires to be a comfortable, safe, and hygienic environment. According to Krugu et al. (2017), the environment plays an important role as if influence an individual's personality and remains in memory till the end. Hence, it is very essential to provide with necessary living conditions, which is apparently needed to be bought. It has been scientifically proven that babies have memory in their mother's womb, the mother needs to develop good memories do during her pregnancy. In this phase, the teenager father and parents of a teenage mother should give support and make her feel comfortable (Mezey et al 2017). These memories will follow the newborn in the future life, either consciously or unconsciously. However, in this consideration, it is highly important for the parents to communicate with children, especially to educate them about sexual health and matters. Often it was found that lack of communication and lack of support from the parental side are responsible for wrong-doings or facing negative consequences by the children. One of such example is as discussed, the teenage pregnancy, which have potential to affect not only the personal lives but also the societal framework.
Difficulties of teenage parents: Based on a report by Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, there are approximately 91 percent of pregnancies cases of 15 to 17 years old mother which are unintended (Vargas, Borus, & Charlton, 2017). Despite this fact, they receive negative comments from family, friends, and society which increases their level of stress and anxiety. They often find it difficult to balance their life, in terms of maintaining family life, education, finding a job, keeping in touch with friends and finding affordable childcare. If a girl under 19 years gets pregnant, then she needs special care and attention during her pregnancy as well as in the parenting period (Wilson, &Garney, 2017). It is because she might have special health concerns during and post-pregnancy as her body is still growing and developing. It has been stated by Jonas et al (2016), that a teenage mother and father cannot provide efficient parenting care to the child. There are several factors associated with the inefficient parenting skills of teenagers. The first factor is health issues is related to teenage age mothers as well as to the newborn child. Without proper parental care, a teenage pregnant girl holds the risk of low birth weight, anemia, high blood pressure, cephalopelvic disproportion, and infant mortality. In some cases, babies at a greater risk of suffering from serious health issues, disability, and even death (Maravilla et al, 2017). Second, the theme parent finds it difficult to maintain education and childcare simultaneously. According to a report by StayTeen.org, more than 50% of teenage mothers remain undergraduate, and only 2% of 10 complete their graduation in their 30s (Wall-Wieler et al, 2016). This issue is not only confined to the mothers, but even some teenage fathers also have to leave behind their education to take care of the new family. The primary reason for leaving education is the feeling of shame and embarrassment linked with early pregnancy. In this way, they remain under-qualified and lack basic educational knowledge, which is needed to educate their newborn baby in the future. Third, they face economic crisis due to lack of schooling. Since they are under-qualified it becomes difficult for them to find a well-paying job, in order to fulfill the basic requirements of the baby. According to the report of March of Dimes, there are approximately 75% of unmarried teen mothers who prefer to go for welfare after having the first baby (Vargas, Borus, & Charlton, 2017). Similarly, a teen father loses 10 to 15% of the annual earning for baby care. Fourth, a disturbed relationship between teen parents creates a negative impact on child psychology. According to the report of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, there are approximately 8 out of 10 teen fathers who do not marry their first child's mother to avoid the responsibilities of pregnancy and parenting (Vargas, Borus, & Charlton, 2017). Mostly the teen father abandoned his parental responsibility under the pressure of fear and financial instability. The mother is left behind having the least social support and financial assistance. In most cases, a single mother has to take the responsibility of the child which creates mental and physical stress on her. Fifth, the teen parents have been observed to show negligence and abusive behavior, as they are overwhelmed by their ever-demanding parental role (Sorhaindo, Bonell, Fletcher, Jessiman, Keogh, & Mitchell, 2016). This strange behavior often generates a negative impact on child psychology. In conjunction with this, their children are observed to get low academic school, which results in high-school dropout. It is evident that the daughters of a teen mother are most likely to become a teen mother, the sons hold a greater risk to commit a crime. Research has found that these parents are more involved in hospital ending activities like spanking and yelling. Due to less experience in life as well as limited coping skills in comparison to order parents, it becomes harder for them to manage frustration and irritability which arises while taking care of the newborn (Wilson, &Garney, 2017). The major reason for their anger and resentment is the constant source of stress and depression in them.
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The teen parents and their children have to face a lifetime struggle. Teenager having weak living situation might have to leave dad home due to pregnancy. Most of the teen mothers are single and tend to be poor due to lack of education and proper job. This stress is often associated with health problems and physical or sexual abuse. They are bound to experience lifetime poverty, which further leads to homelessness. They are forced to survive in battered women shelters or homeless shelters, which is an unsuitable environment for raising babies. These places have issues related to overcrowding, unsafe, extenuating, domestic violence which are considered as unsuitable environment raising babies (Sorhaindo, Bonell, Fletcher, Jessiman, and Keogh, 2016). Hence, for receiving a better housing condition the teen parents must access the TANF benefits.
On the contrary, it is not true for all the children born to adolescents will become a failure. There exists an increased risk for them, which does not guarantee their future. There are many examples that show that the children of teen parents become successful adults, however, it involves a greater part of parental sacrifice. There are some adolescent parents who act maturely than older parents in order to ensure that their child should attain academic and professional success in life. Teenagers have high energy to get involved with their toddlers (Aparicio, Phillips, Okimoto, Cabral, and Houser, 2018). Moreover, they can easily get adopted into the new parental lifestyle, as they have a high capacity to sustain with little or no sleep. It is the responsibility of the new parents and other experienced adults to create a strong framework of emotional and social skills in the parenting strategy, which will eventually create a loving environment that can nurture the child.
Recommendations: In majority cases, the parents of teenagers do not want to help them financially and emotionally. They prevent themselves from providing any kind of support to their young children, in order to give them a life lesson. This lesson is rarely understood by them. They need support and understanding from their parents for a proper physical and psychological development. They do not need a lesson from their parents since life is the best teacher itself. The teenage mother needs support from her parents and support from the child's father, which will help in making their future life stable. No child is perfect, it is the responsibility of the parents to make them understand the good and bad deeds and their consequences. It is the responsibility of the parents, teachers and health care providers to give a comprehensive understanding to the young generation about abstinence, contraceptive methods and outcome. In this context, school students should be discussed openly about abstinence curriculum, especially related to pregnancy prevention method. These programs will make them realize about the responsibilities which come when teenagers become sexually active, hence, they will prefer to remain abstinent. Although abstinence remain as the best strategy to prevent teenage pregnancy, but still there are a number of youth who will be involved in sexual relationships and they should have a better understanding about various contraceptive techniques. School and healthcare centers should give training related to various contraceptive methods, such as insertion and removal of the long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Most of the teens are unaware of proper and effective pregnancy prevention. They are mostly dependent on birth control pills and condoms, which are effective if not used properly and consistently. They should be made aware of Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and LARC, which are considered as the most useful for birth control for the teens (Tevendale, Condron, Garraza, House, and Romero, 2017). These are safe for teen usage and there is no requirement of taking pills each day. The doctors nurses along with other healthcare providers should encourage teenagers to avoid sexual intercourse.The government should provide funding options to cover the cost of IUDs and LARC, which will eventually encourage teenagers to use it. Adolescent pregnancy prevention program should be arranged in different communities, schools, and public areas to increase awareness of teenage pregnancy consequences. Since the youth are more connected to mass media (like television and magazines) and social media (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), thus, the government should use this platform for promoting the key pregnancy related messages to the youth (Mezey et al 2017). Finally, most of the teenagers are unaware of the actual consequences of having a baby at such a young age. In the Adolescent pregnancy prevention program, this would be made aware of the harsh reality associated with unplanned pregnancy and raising a baby without sufficient maturity and experience in life. Moreover, they should be informed about the negative health (psychological and physical) consequences for the new mother and baby. When teenagers are exposed to these realities, they are forced to analyse whether indulging in sex is worth for destroying their future life (Tevendale et al, 2017).
Apart from preventing teenage pregnancy, some recommendations related to proper parenting for teenagers have been outlined. If a teenager wish to continue her pregnancy and give birth, then she shot try to stay with her parents during and post pregnancy. This would assist her in baby care, continuing her studies and getting financial support until getting job. However, if the teenagers does not get support from parents, then they should look for government provided financial support as well as local community support groups (Sorhaindo et al 2016). These groups provide informational as well as emotional support related to health care and child development. Additionally, the pregnant teenagers or teenagers with baby should keep in touch with the counseling service, as the provider assistants in personal issues and provides recommendations on becoming a good parent at a young stage (Aparicio et al 2018). At last, the new teenage parents should contact with family health doctor or child experts, for creating a suitable environment which includes housing, food, health, nutrition, and emotional development. Consulting with someone who is export and experienced can help in handling the ups and downs coming in the life of a teenage parent.
Conclusion: In summary, the report has outlined several reasons associated for becoming teenage parents. In some cases, they lack the basic precautionary knowledge which end up in pregnancy leading to mental and physical stress. They come under the influence of TV shows which dramatised the lifestyle of a teen mom and they get attracted to follow the same lifestyle. Without prior knowledge of the post pregnancy consequences, they enter into a new phase of life. With the baby, the teenage mother as well as father has to bear social, emotional and financial pressure. However, communicating with teenagers and offering them open discussion (or education) about sexual matter is one of the effective way to reduce such situations. In majority of the cases, they have to quit their studies and take care of the newborn, which eventually restricts them from getting a satisfying job. Thus, it is recommended for parents, teachers, and social workers to give proper guidance and sex education to young children, to make them aware of the consequences of early pregnancy. Moreover, it is recommended for teenage parents to seek assistance of local community support groups and government to gain emotional and financial support.
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