Teenage pregnancy cases figure are on the rise nowadays. Teenage pregnancy lead to teenage parenthood. Teenagers are minors and not competent for bearing another child mentally, physically and financially. teenagers who engage in parenthood at adolescent stage of life tend have incomplete education, low standard of employment and have broken marriage. As a side effect, the teenage mothers and child faces the outcome. Besides that, the young mothers pay less attention to their child, less tolerant to their child’s disobedience, very negative parenting styles approached towards the children and more prone to hurt their children’s. Infants of teenage parents are at increased risk for low birth-rate weight, low cognitive development and educational attainment, behavioural problems and teenage parents themselves.
keywords: teenage parenthood, adolescent, pregnancy
On year 2010, the Star newspaper exposed the teenage pregnancy statistics. Between the month of January to April, the reported number of teenage pregnancy in Malaysia by the welfare department was 111 (“Teen pregnancies”, 2010). On the newspaper report, statistics shows that teenage pregnancy occurrence have been increasing throughout the years in Malaysia. In year 2008, the number of reported cases was 107 and in year 2009 was 131 cases. One thing to be considered is that, the number of unheard cases is unknown figures. Not only in Malaysia, but this immoral phenomenon have been rising in many countries too. Teenage pregnancy can be defined as conceiving of infant in a young women who is below legal adult age which varies according to countries (Kaplowitz ,2006). Teenage pregnancy is just the beginning of a major complication. Teenage pregnancy eventually pilots a pregnant teenager to teenage parenthood. This transition considered to be a negative development because teenage parenthood leads to many other problem and links to one another problem and goes on. Parenthood can be described as a state of being a parent (Cambridge Dictionaries Online). In specific, parenthood is a condition where involvement in the Childs growth, raising and responsibilities relies. Parenthood doesn’t only evolve based on the biological relationship. Teenagers are not considered as adults because they are still young to bear a child and be ready for a family and to raise a kid mentally and physically (“Teenagers are not ready”, 2010). They are also kids which need guidance. They have no stable economic status and depend on their parents; therefore it’s impractical for teenager to be encouraged to get heavy with child. They get pregnant and misguided due to the emotional and hormonal changes happening at that period of time. When teenagers are kids and different style of parenting is needed to raise them, is it realistic for them to raise a kid and fit into parenthood? How will these teenage kids’ kids would be?
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Causes of Teenage Parenthood
First of all, there should be fundamental cause for every phenomenon. There are many campaigns run by government, non-government organisations, schools and other sources regarding the fallbacks of teenage pregnancy and teenage parenthood. Thou this phenomenon are increasing. There could be some instinctive causal factors which direct children’s towards this phenomenon. One of the reason which leads to teenage pregnancy is single parenting. Kids living with single parent caused by divorce or separation are unchangeable factor. These kids tend to have greater chances to engage in early pregnancy compared to those who demised one of their parents. Children of single parents also tend to engage in sexual intercourse earlier compared to children’s of normal family. Female children’s are likely to become teenage parents because their parents either have authoritarian parenting style or neglectful parenting styles. Besides that, greater communication between parents and the female child also relates to higher chance of prevalence on early pregnancy. Not only that, female children’s who also communicate their sexual behaviour with their parents also tend to engage the least in sexual activities which evade early pregnancy. Also, kids who don’t grow up with their biological parents are more likely to become teenage parents. (Wellings, Wadsworth, Johnson, Field and Macdowall, 1999).
Besides that, According to, Coley and Chase-Lansdale (1998), it can be concluded that female teenagers low in educational intention expected to have higher chance to turn out to be teenage mothers than their highly-accomplishing colleagues. In a recent study, researchers reported that one out of three adolescent mothers withdraw from school before conceiving (Maynard, 1995). Coley and Chase-Lansdale (1998) also claims that female teenagers who grow in poor economic status by single parent also lead to teenage parenthood of the child. More to the point, parents’ low educational level also pilot to teenage parenthood of the female teenagers. Adolescent member growing up in poverty housing area and single mother house-holds are also at greater possibility in engaging in teenage parenthood. Poverty plays an important role in leading teenager to early pregnancy and parenthood because these life experiences on poverty such as withdrawal from school, common unmarried parenthood examples, unemployment and lack of educational chances serves as underlying origins to teenage parenthood especially on females. These life experiences causes narrow life alternatives to the children which can be said leads to early pregnancy. Besides that, adolescent pregnancy associates with other immoral behaviours as well such as alcohol and drug use. These activities are also to be said as the central cause of direction towards sexual activity (Paikoff, 1995).
In a study done by Coley and Chase-Lansdale (1998) the main reason leading to pregnancy is the least knowledge on sexual education. Adolescent childbearing important behaviour is one’s own decision. One have to decide whether to use the birth control methods or not, and must make a choice whether to abort the child or not or to raise the child or put the child for adoption once the child is given to birth. In conjunction with statistics, teenager didn’t use any contraception method on their first sexual interaction. Teenagers use contraception but in an unsuccessful manner. It can be said that they are trying to avoid pregnancy in a way but unaware of the right method. Deficient in understanding concerning reproduction and contraception, inadequate admittance to family planning and health services and insufficient capability to forecast and to be ready for sexual activity are the causes of unwanted early pregnancy and child birth among low revenue adolescents. Beyond that, research has stated that teenagers who have very low emotional support tend to be more active teenage motherhood. Teenagers attain emotional closeness through early sex and motherhood.
A study done by East and Jacobson (2001) has exhibit the effect of teenage parenthood on the parent’s siblings. The outcome clearly shows that the sisters of teenage parents are much involved in the drug abuse cases, becoming alcoholic, heavy partying and more prone to getting pregnant at teenage themselves. All these behavioural problems are classified as precursors to becoming teenage parents. At the beginning of research, siblings from both genders are taken as research subjects and females were more affected by their elder’s pregnancies than male. This might be due to their feeling of envy which pushed them to outbid their elders. They also spend a great deal of time in assisting their elder siblings to raise the baby. This exposes the siblings to early parenting and they unconsciously are prone to become teenage parents themselves. Moreover, siblings from the same sex are much more close to each other which make the elder sibling as a role model to the younger ones. In case of elder sibling being a mother, the younger ones look up to this too. From the research, it can also be concluded that siblings with teenage parents are more sexually active and significantly loses their virginity more than those with no teenage parents. They also have low level of interest in education and are greatly involved in disciplinary complaints than normal kids. This may contribute to early pregnancies among siblings with teenage parent siblings. To simplify, siblings of teenage parents are unconsciously accepting their elders attitude or decision to have baby’s at early stage of their life, thus they lose in treats in all other aspects such as maintain good social image and achievement in educations.
Role of Adolescent Parenthood
In Katz-Wise, Priess and Hyde’s (2010) research role of mother and father is clearly explained. Gender-roles are the visible psychological change in individuals as they move to parenthood. Women’s biological task in parenthood such as breast feeding together with social norms places females as the homemaker. Men, plays a minor biological part in parenthood and often known as the worker. According to the individual’s perception towards their role in parenthood, females understand their part as something they “are”, whereas the males understand their fatherhood character as something they “do”. The research also claims that the fathers role in parenthood is seem to be more as “helping” than “sharing” the parental tasks. Since males are only need for parenthood as source of income, teenage males tend to wear out easily of their commitment as father. Besides, they only distinguish their role as what they “do” which shows less commitment on parenthood. This leaves kids under the parenting of mother, which then puts the females to be the provider for the household. They start working and loose attachment with their kids. Less attachment leads to problems to the kids.
A study by Wellings et all, (1999) shows that, 4% of men and 13% of women have engaged in teenage parenthood. This difference is caused by the unawareness of men regarding the existence of their child, thus the females has to bear all the responsibility of raising the child. Teenage parenthood is not advisable because it is a pregnancy before full economic independence which direct towards poverty. Every negative consequences faced by teenage parents are mainly related to poverty and socio-economical imbalance. This can be explained by the income of adolescent family is very low. This is due to the single parenting, as in the mother only sourcing for the family income. This shows females are more responsible in parenthood caused by early pregnancy. The female’s responsibility comprises of emotional support, attachment, and economic provider. For a young teenage female, it is hard to pull it all together.
Coley and Chase-Lansdale (1998) characterise Father’s role as very important in parenthood regardless of age of the father. They state that paternal attachment shape the child’s growth and development. , it is found that teenagers who are attached in some way with their biological father or stepfather were good in their education, behaviour and emotional performance than teenagers from weak fatherly conditions. Another interesting factor is that, lost of involved fathers affects the child more negatively than no fatherly bond at all. This shows the importance of fathers in parenthood.
Besides, roles of male teenagers in teenage pregnancy are not clearly implicated. Aspects like making abortion and adoption have arrived in insignificant research concentration. Thou, researches happen to hollow out the causes of absents of male adolescent in teenage parenthood. One of it is financial responsibility of male teenagers also increases for the teenage female and the baby they produced. Since male teenage parents also drop out of school to take care of the family, the only type of job they are available to is blue-collar jobs. As the blue collar job opportunities decreases in urban areas, directs to declining marriage rates, which leaves kid to have single parent. A recent study also shows male adolescent role in parenthood is negatively oriented. In that token, great number of adolescent mother provide testimonial to have suffered from sexual abuse and forced sexual interaction proceeding to their early relationship on sex and teenage pregnancy (Moore, K.A., Morrison, D.R., Glei, D.A., 1995).
Effect on Children
The role of teenage parent in parenthood has some serious effects on their kids. From the educational development, Kids of teenage parents tend to score very low on developmental tests. They also tend to perform very low in their education compared to their peers who were born to older mothers. This could be the effect of poor socio-economic status (Wellings et al, 1999). Besides that, children’s of young mothers also have break down in cognitive development which starts in preschool level and continues all the way through upcoming school years, contributing to continuity of getting unsuccessful grades. (Moore, Morrison, and Greene, 1997). In can be simplified that single parenting causes poverty and poverty links to poor educational attainment in kids too.
Coley and Chase-Lansdale (1998) stated that young mothers are known to be pleasant, thou they don’t talk so much, not of the loving type and friendly types to their children. Subsequently, adolescent mothers more likely to produce dull environment at home. They also find their children to be more complicated and to have impossible hope towards them. This low attachments and poor knowledge attainment of young parents kids leads the child to have attitude trouble. They tend to be more aggressive. As they grow, male teenagers have more tendencies to engage in criminal behaviour and imprisonment. Female teenager of young mothers engage in sexual activity earlier which lead to pregnancy (Moore et all,1997). Not only that, children of teenage mothers, especially the later-born have a higher chances to be harmed, abandoned and sent to homes. This is the effect of low attachment of mother and children. (Coley and Chase-Lansdale, 1998).
According to Wellings et all, (1999) in Regards to biological factor and Health wise defect on infant due to teenage pregnancies are low-birth-weight of infants, prenatal mortality of infants and higher occurrence of abortions.
Personal Development of Teenage Parents
Low educational level and poverty doesn’t only have roots in causing teenage parenthood, it also follows up from early parenthood stage. Teenager’s motherhood put up with difficulties in performing efficiently in few factors. Their outlook is narrowed as unfortunate adolescent. These unfortunate involve lower psychological implementation, lower level of education achievement, marital instability and more children’s before marriage, unstable jobs, more welfare use, increased economic scarcity, even more greater health troubles for mother and children. Lower education level implicit among teenage motherhood because teenage mothers drop out of school after giving birth to child, thus leading to lower educational achievement. It is also has been found that giving birth before 18 years old contributes to less probability graduating from high school. (Coley and Chase-Landsdale,1998)
By the same author, it has been found that, early child birth contributes to marriage instability. Teenage mothers have higher chances in engaging in early marriages due to many reasons. One of it is unstable economic status of early pregnancy make teenage mothers to get married to economically stable husbands in order to acquire economic stability. However, their marriage fails off rapidly in their 20’s and 30’s. Marriage of teenage mothers can fail for decreased susceptibility, lower motivation to marriages, less opportunity and other reasons. Teenage mothers act as single mother in their parenting lifetime limiting their activities and economic status (Coley and Chase-Landsdale,1998).
Early parenthood gets in the way of their personal development such as lower psychological behaviours. During their teenage stage, they encounter obstacles in setting own identity, developing self-sufficiency and freedom from their parents to engage in psychological activities such as dating, education, peer relationships, and career options. Adolescent mothers need for these activities clashes with their parenthood tasks and responsibilities. These responsibilities don’t allocate time for usual teenage activities for adolescent mothers. These clashing phenomena between need and responsibilities can be implicit as conflicting demands. This conflicting demands leads to psychological distress which will be soon articulated in the course of depressive symptomathology (Coley and Chase-Lansdale (1998).
In regard to health defects on mothers, early pregnancy may possibly be unsafe to the mothers if pregnancy is not taken care of properly. Health defects faced by teenage mothers due to early pregnancy are illness like anaemia, toxaemia and hypertension to the child bearer (Wellings et al, 1999).
Positive Effects Teenage Parenthood
Moving out from home start a family by immature kids is a major movement form dependence to independent life style. When many researchers have found to prove it causes negative effect to the child, parent and society, there are few reaches claim it has positive affects too. Few mothers who have entered motherhood during their adolescent age have claimed to perceive motherhood as a prospect and accomplishment. These young mothers claim to find Great personal satisfaction in motherhood even though it involves many hard work, money, and tolerance in liberty (Rolfe, 2008). This article includes samples of women who became mothers before the age of 21 years old. These participants were also from weak financial neighbourhoods of England. Most participants were also from foster care background. These details make the research reliable however total of 33 participants are very low sample figure. Compared to previous researches, which shows negative effects has a reliable amount of samples in their study.
Besides that study, young mothers expressed their transition to parenthood as a positive life-changing opportunity (Chase, Maxwell, Knight, and Aggleton, 2006).
This transition is claimed to has made their life more complete. Becoming mothers, have encourage them to quit negative behaviours such as substance abuse. This transition also educated young mothers not to repeat unprotected sex. For neglected teenagers who have become teenage mothers, this transition gave them maturity, principle and identity in their life, which they didn’t, had earlier. Most mothers described sense of pride because they were able to be a better mother than their own mother by giving their children’s what they lacked. The denials of young mothers’ parents, which make them, find love thru their kids. This study has valid positive feedback but not everything can be satisfied with feel affection for. In order to provide care, one need money too. So they give up education to work. Therefore, there are negative consequences in the development of the young mother even they find satisfaction in their later part of life.
Similar research finding by Tyrer, Chase, Warwick and Aggleton (2005) showed that father had positive feelings towards their children and explains transition to parenthood made them to be more mature and responsible where they give up on harmful activities such as drugs and troublesome relationship. In the same token, to raise a family, young men need to give up his study to earn money for the family.
Teenage pregnancy only have blissful conclusion in film like Juno. In reality teenagers are not compatible for parenthood as they are also kid. From reviewing past researches and studies, it can be understood that causes of teenage parenthood relies on the core factors such as poverty background, uneducated parents, single parent and other unalterable factors. The effect of teenage parenthood, on the other hand, contributes trail for the reoccurrence of teenage parenthood. In short cause and effect of teenage parenthood links to one another and equips to the increase of teenage parenthood occurrence number. Steps should be taken to change the core factors piloting young’s to teenage parenthood. Understanding among parents on the importance of attachment with their kids should be formed because being attached with kids prevents them from engaging in sexual behaviour at young age. Chances must also given to young parent to continue their education by giving financial support so that poverty can be avoided as poverty plays an important role in this issue. Mostly, every cause and effect of pregnancy has links to poverty. To conclude, everyone as part of the society, must help young kids to be on the safer track. Showing them and their parents the causes, the drastic effect of teenage parenthood and the role of parents to keep their children’s in the safer path, can decrease teenage parenthood cases.