Many children become pregnant while attending school and this has significantly caused them to stop attending school until the child is born and in many instances they forfeit the opportunity in completing their secondary education. The researcher sought to clarify the impact of teenage pregnancy on children between the ages of 13 – 17 years old by doing an in depth thesis on the statement. This was to check if children are being sensitized at school on sex education and if the parents are helping them to gain better understanding of what will happen to them when they start having sexual intercourse. This study will be carried out on twenty teens at two prominent institutions that host teenage mothers in Kingston and St. Andrew
The researcher will seek to gather this information by using instruments such as questionnaires and interview. The data that will be collected will be presented on tables and graphs along with detailed explanation.
The researcher will test to see if the impact of teenage pregnancy on children between the ages of 13 – 17 years old is a factor of low self-esteem for teens and if it limits them from being an important factor in society.
Based on the findings, recommendations will be made.
Pregnancy for a teenager can be a philosophical event with long term implications for the young mother, father, family, and friends. Pregnancy is the state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing fetus in her uterus. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=pregnancy. Thus, teenage pregnancy is the period between ages 13 to 19 when a teenager gets pregnant. For this research, the researcher will look at children between the ages of 13 to 17 years old, in an effort of heightening awareness on pregnancy.
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Jamaica, like many other countries has an overwhelming amount of teenage pregnancy. This has caused children to stop attending school until the child is born, and in many instances, they forfeit the opportunity in completing their secondary education. They are more likely to obtain inadequate prenatal care, have inadequate nutrition, increased pregnancy complications, sexually transmitted diseases and higher risk of low birth weight.
Santrock (2008) states that teenage pregnancy creates health risks for both the baby and the mother. He went on to say that infants born to teen mothers are more likely to have low birth weights, a prominent factor in infant mortality, as well as neurological problems and childhood illness. They often drop out of school, some of them will resume their education, however, they do not generally catch up economically with women who postpone childbearing until their twenties. The consequences of an early, unplanned pregnancy place the teenage mother at a distinct disadvantage in her attempts to achieve economic security. Based on the Child Care and Protection Act of 2004, a child must attend school and be given an education whether she become pregnant or not. However, social and cultural taboos make it very difficult for a girl to remain in school during her pregnancy.
Teens do not always have good support systems, parenting knowledge and skills and coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Teen mothers are less likely to finish high school leading to lower paying jobs and limited job skills; they are more likely to be financially dependent upon family and eventually on assistance programmes that are provided by the government such as the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
Teenage mothers face rejection by family and friends. They face parental anger, ridicule from community members, and abandonment by their children’s fathers. At times, teenage mothers who leave school are not prepared for parenting and as such, poverty often pushes mothers into transactional sexual relationships. Oftentimes, this is carried out with multiple partners to obtain resources necessary to support their children and themselves. This further increases the mother’s vulnerability to exploitation and domestic violence as well as child abuse.
Statement of the problem
Over the years, it has been noted that a lot of children have gotten pregnant during high school education. This has caused them to be out of school for a period of time. From fear of being “caught” some children tried to hide this from their parents by “banning the belly” and this has a negative impact on the fetus will affect the child. The teenager is no longer concerned with issues of being a teenager only and there are missed opportunities for self-development and advancement. The potential societal impact of teenage pregnancy is an increase in financial burden on families and the country. It also lends itself to high crime rates, uneducated and unproductive citizens, underdeveloped and unskilled workforce, infant and maternal mortality rates.
Teenage pregnancy has negative effects on the victims and their families. They are at times looked down on and depending on their socio-economical background. They may also never regain the opportunity to continue their education, which will impact on their lives and the life of the new born. Not being able to resume their education will also plummet them in taking minimal jobs and at the same time, they might have more children as a result of low self-esteem.
The researcher strongly believes that if children are more educated about pregnancy, they are less likely to become parents at an early age. They will be aware that it is best to abstain from sexual activities until they are capable of being responsible parents. Children would know that there are contraceptives that they can obtain to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Children are affected, physically, socially, economically, sexually and psychologically.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the impact of teenage pregnancy on children between the ages of 13 – 18 years old.
The researcher is aware that because of socio-economic factors such as single parenting, divorce and unemployment, parents might be frustrated and do not talk with their children about sex, as a result children will be informed from their peers and may want to experiment. The children, some of whom are naÃ¯ve, and lack basic knowledge and who do not understand may succumb to peer pressure which may result in unwanted pregnancies.
The researcher hopes that this research will widen the factual knowledge that is available and that practical steps will not only be recommended but also instigated to address and even eradicate the problem. The present study will seek to explore and identify how the factor relative to the impact of teenage pregnancy can be corrected by having more talks in schools and educational forum so that other children do not get caught in the web of teenage pregnancy.
The researcher also hopes that the relevant authorities will review and implement programmes within these schools to assist parents and students who might have gotten pregnant and to help the others from becoming pregnant.
The researcher hypothesizes that teenage pregnancy impacts children between the ages of 13 – 17 years old as this slows down their educational process as they are no longer thinking about themselves but about their child.
Basic Research Questions
Do you feel that the sex education you received at school was sufficient?
At what age did you become sexually active?
Definition of Terms
The Oxford Concise Dictionary (1999) defines the following key words except number 5.
Pregnancy – the condition or period of being pregnant
Teenager – a person aged between 13 – 19
Teen – of or relating to a teenager
Sexual Intercourse – sexual contact between individuals involving penetration, especially the insertion of a man’s erect penis into a woman’s vagina culminating in orgasm and the ejaculation of semen.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) – Infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. Patterson (2008)
Impact – a marked effect or influence
Parenting – be or act as a parent toâ€¦
Parents have a lot to do with whether their child becomes teenage parents. It is important for them to talk to their children about sex and the implications that it will have on them. Apart from getting pregnant, having unprotected sex can let one catch a sexually transmitted disease. Parents should have a close relationship with their child, which will allow the child to talk to them about anything. They should talk to their children about sex as the child will hear it from school and may want to try it out.
Parenting styles have an effect on children cognitive development. Cognitive is the thought process, thus it reflects the way we acquire and manipulate knowledge. According to Baumrind (1971), there are four types of parenting styles. These are authoritarian, authoritative, neglectful and indulgent. The authoritarian parent places firm limits and control on the child and allows little verbal exchange. This type of parent may say, “you do it my way or else” (Santrock, 2006). The authoritarian parent may physically abuse the child frequently, enforce rules without explaining them and show range towards the child. These children are unhappy, fearful, and anxious. They often fail to initiate activity and have poor communication skills Santrock (2006). If you are an authoritarian parent, children will not want to come to you and discuss matters about sex with you as they may fear you will want to bully them.
The authoritative parent on the other hand provides children with warmth, attention and autonomy, although they set limits and are demanding. They encourage their child to be independent and individualistic. They also engage them in discussions and explanations over matters of discipline and family decision making. Parents listen patiently to their children point of view as well as provide guidance. According to Santrock (200), authoritative parent will say “let us talk about how you can handle the situation better next time”. Authoritative parents are effective in shaping how a child thinks and will help guide them in decisions making, this will allow the child to have confidence in their parents and will feel free to talk to them about anything.
Santrock, 2001 states that approximately one of every five births is to a teenager; in some urban areas, the figure researchers as high as one in every two births. He further went on to say that infants born to teenagers are often premature.
Patterson, 2008 reported that a majority of children in the United States who are sexually active report that they do not use contraception when they are having sexual intercourse. The reason they do not use contraceptive is because it is not readily available to many teenagers. They also state that embarrassment caused them not to use contraceptives. As children are not using contraceptives, there are a high percentage of children getting pregnant and also contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
Snowman and Biehler (2003) said that one contributing factors to teenage pregnancies and births is the relatively low frequency of contraceptive. They further went on to say that the relatively high levels of sexual activity and low levels of regular contraception among teens are particularly worrisome because they put teens at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
Gary Collins author of Christian Counselling, states in his book that sexual experimentation, including intercourse, sometimes becomes a way for teens to act like adults and gain peer acceptance. He went on to say that teenagers often feel intense social pressure to experiment sexually. Sometimes sexual behaviour is not an acting out; instead, it becomes an attempt to overcome inhibitions, find meaningful relationships, prove ones virility, bolster self-esteem or escape loneliness, Collins (1988).
The increase in teenage pregnancies has become a serious national problem. Not only is their concern for the care and welfare of the babies, but there is clear evidence that, compared to their classmates, teenage parents get less education, earn less money in life, hold lower-prestige jobs, experience less vocational satisfaction and have a higher than average rate of divorce and remarriage, Collins (1988).
This will be both a qualitative and quantitative study. A qualitative study of research focuses on words, observation, stories, visual portrayals, meaningful characterization, and other expressive descriptions. A quantitative study of research is based on collection and analyzing of numeric data. This data will be obtained from questionnaires, and interview questions.
The study will be conducted at two prominent institution that host teenage girls in Kingston and St. Andrew between the ages of 13 – 17 years old. It will seek to gain an awareness of teens that are pregnant and try to get an understanding of how they feel. Suggestions will also be made to assist them in making something of their lives after the baby is born and also to direct them to agencies that will assist them.