There are many reasons teenagers become pregnant, including:
- Lack of education
- Manipulation and exploitation
- Lack of supervision
- Simplistic presentations of teenage motherhood
Lack of Education
Often, pregnant teenagers received little to no comprehensive sexual education before becoming pregnant; for many their education started and ended with, “Don’t do it!” Many teenagers aren’t aware of how one becomes pregnant, don’t know how various contraceptives work, and don’t know how to obtain contraceptives. The popularity of “abstinence only” education has ironically led to a rise in teen pregnancy, as those teens who do not abstain often know nothing about contraceptives. Many teens rely on second-hand knowledge and naïve methods (such as the pull-out technique) to avoid pregnancy, if they even know to try to avoid it at all.
Manipulation and Exploitation
Coupled with a lack of education, manipulation and exploitation of teenage girls can lead to pregnancy. Many girls have not developed a strong enough sense of self to stand up to sexual pressure from their boyfriends. When they do give in to their boyfriends, these girls do not know to use contraceptives; additionally, they often do not feel secure enough to ask their boyfriends to wear a condom. Additionally, their boyfriends are often just as woefully educated about sex as the girls themselves are, and thus fail to take the proper steps to prevent pregnancy. Older men, especially trusted authority figures, can also manipulate or pressure younger girls into sexual activity.
Lack of Supervision
In today’s economy, teens often lack parental supervision, as both parents are at work for extended periods of time trying to support the household. Without proper supervision and support, teenage girls become vulnerable to manipulation, and never develop the ability to say “no” to unwanted sexual contact. Left to themselves, these girls give in to the pressures and advances of their boyfriends and often end up pregnant.
Simplistic Presentations of Teenage Pregnancy
With the release of movies such as Juno and television shows like “Teen Mom”, teenage pregnancy has lost some of its stigma – even been glamorized. Some teens view these shows (which gloss over many of the very real problems of teen pregnancy) and become enamored with the idea of becoming a mother. This has led to some teens creating “pregnancy pacts” and actively trying to become pregnant, as has happened in several high schools in the U.S. in recent years. The simplistic view of motherhood these programs encourage has led to a recent upsurge in teen pregnancy.
Teenage pregnancy is a serious issue, and it is important to know the causes of teen pregnancy. Lack of education, the vulnerability of teenage girls, lack of parental supervision, and simplistic cultural presentations of teenage pregnancy all contribute to the rate of teenage pregnancy.