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Sex is as old as mankind. It has existed with life forms carrying out the activity of sex in one way or the order. For humans, there are so many sexual orientations asides from the common male and female intercourse.
Before now, sexual intercourse was viewed as the preserve of couples. But, teenagers and young adults, who are neither cohabiting nor couples, engage in different sex activities without proper advice and counseling. And, like every other activity, this has its consequences, one of which is teenage pregnancy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes teenage or adolescent pregnancy as conception within the ages of 10 and 19. While premarital sex is on the increase, one cannot blame teenage pregnancy on consensual sex alone, as can be seen from the age bracket. Sexual assault in different forms amidst lack of orientation constitutes the bulk of teenage pregnancies.
The youths, it is often said, are the leaders of tomorrow. But, given the anatomical buildup of humans, a complete pregnancy cycle lasts 36 weeks or nine months, which is typically followed by an intense 18 months of care for the offspring. This means that a girl or lady will be distracted for at least two years if she gets pregnant.
And, given the fact that education molds the mind for future decision-making among other things, teenage pregnancy impacts the academic progression of female students.
I will attempt to mention a few things that lead to teenage pregnancy.
This is the poor upbringing of a child or ward by the parents or guardians. Children need a lot of attention and support while growing up. This differs from child to child and home to home. The upbringing should not be left in the hands of formal educators in school alone, parents and guardians have a bigger role to play in the moral, spiritual and physical upbringing of a child.
There is tons of research on the impact of broken homes on the attitude of grown-ups. Broken children often basically lead to a menace in society. And, peer pressure in an era where everyday items, content, and conversations are sexualized, will lead to a teen who wants to “try out” sexual acts – your guess is as good as mine what happens when teenagers have unprotected sex.
While realists argue that there may not be a direct correlation between improved finances and an upright child, there is indeed the fact that poverty exposes the child to a lot. From child labor to child prostitution among others, several things can push female kids to explore other means of making ends meet while the male kids get into gangs, etc.
Reports of extortion in public schools despite constitutionally guaranteed free education at the basic levels could push poor homes to the extreme to provide items like books, writing materials, sandals, and uniforms among others.
The impact of social media on Gen Z’ers is becoming clearer as the days go by. Millennials are also affected by this technological advancement that has made the world a global village. The laxity in laws regulating social media as well as the difficulty in implementing them in the Third World has left a lot of teenagers exposed to dangerous trends. From TikTok to Facebook, Instagram, etc. There are increasing reports on the impact of social media and the actions of teenagers.
While the above are just a few among many, their effects are often overwhelming. Children are impacted psychologically, medically, and physically due to their vulnerable nature. The challenges usually come with stigmatization from peers which leads to depression and most times, withdrawal from school. This, most times, is the result of the fact that there are few schools with guidance and counseling departments, and teenage pregnancy impacts education.
Parents and guidance need to learn more about the need to communicate with teenagers in tunes and tones they will not only understand but also imbibe the messages. Communication remains a key approach to guiding teenagers away from actions that will lead to pregnancy.
We are all aware of the saying that “if you build a man, you build the home, but, build a woman, you build the nation.” A word, it is said, is enough for the wise.
Blessing Ekong is an IT student from the University of Calabar with CrossRiverWatch.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Blessing Ekong, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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