Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2012 5:40:11 PM
After years of a steady increase in the rate of teen pregnancy in America, the rate has started to decline – yes, decline. What could possibly be the cause of this? Could it be that more teens are practicing abstinence or waiting until marriage? Are the school systems providing more thorough sex-education courses? Are teens shifting their focus from sex and relationships to school and extracurricular activities? After pondering about this trend, I have found some possible causes.
One cause of the decline of teen pregnancy in this nation is more than likely due to the fact that teen pregnancy is not glamorized on television shows. MTV’s “Teen Mom” shows teenage mothers struggling to make ends meet; working multiple jobs, receiving little help from their parents, forced to find a place to live and means to finish their education on their own. While some criticize the show for “glamorizing” the lives of teenage mothers, I think quite the contrary; how “glamorous” is it that these mothers are being kicked out of their homes, or not receiving child support from their estranged partners? “Teen Mom” scares teenage girls by giving them an inside look into the life of a teenage mother. At the end of each episode, the mothers admit that while they do not regret their children, they wish they would have waited. Hearing that regret from a teen mother themselves is enough to scare some girls into reconsidering their actions.
Another cause of the decline is that education resources and contraception are becoming easier for teenage girls to access. In many school guidance offices around the United States, brochures on safe sex and different methods of contraception are available as well as condoms. Girls who may not have access to these resources at home now have easy access to them at their school. For teenagers whose parents refuse to provide them with “the Pill” or have a serious discussion with them about practicing safe sex, sex-education classes around the nation are now discussing the various methods of contraception and the advantages of acting safely. Advertisements are now run on certain television channels with websites and toll-free numbers anyone can call to receive information on how to take control of their sex life.
A third possible cause of this decline is that parents are more open to discussing safe sex and pregnancy prevention with their teenagers than ever before. Even the most conservative of parents are taking the initiative to talk to their children about good decision making and safe sex practices. Parents are realizing that while this discussion may be awkward or uncomfortable for all parties involved, it is absolutely necessary. Parents of teenagers do not want to see their children having children when they still have a future ahead of them outside of high school. With parent’s help in realizing their future goals and dreams, teenagers are convinced to wait until they are older to have children.
The decline of the rate of teenage pregnancy in America is a culmination of many causes, certainly not limited to only those described above. Hopefully, this trend will continue as more teenagers make smarter decisions regarding their sex lives.