Teenage Pregnancy: What Parents Should Do to Prevent It
How prevalent is teenage pregnancy nowadays?
Few months ago, the snooping neighbors yak about a rumor that the 15-year-old daughter of another neighbor has not been attending classes at school for about a month already and that her 16-year-old boyfriend has gotten her pregnant. In their opinion, the incident can be attributed to the parent’s disregard to their children’s daily activities and, most especially, to the mother’s usual preoccupation with keeping an eye on other people’s daughters, rather than her own home. A few days after the rumor leaked out, the girl delivered a handsome boy who regrettably died a few hours later. Well, let us be gone from the chatterbox and focus on the critical social problem of teenage pregnancy, which could possibly happen to anyone’s daughter.
According to the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, one (1) out of ten young Filipino women with ages 15 to 19 has already begun childbearing, This is a factual circumstance in low- and middle-income countries like the Philippines. The alarming upsurge in teenage pregnancy cases in the country can be associated with different factors that affect households where these teens came from. Just as the book My Teenage Pregnancy revealed that issues relating to parenting, financial, educational, social and of course, the very influential media are only a few of these probable root causes. Of course, let us not overlook other problems that strongly influence the teens’ actions like low income, detrimental environment, little or no formal education, sex-themed films and TV shows, and social media feeds. And for whatever reason, teenage pregnancy has become a common incidence in the Philippines, and shoddier than that, teenage mothers are getting younger.
What should parents do to prevent it? I have here several personal propositions, addressed to parents, on how they are going to steer their children away from deplorable activities—the things that parents wouldn’t like their children would go through.
Allot More Time for Your Children
Teenagers usually find the transition period—from childhood to adolescent—a very difficult stage of their lives. At this phase, they will discover a lot of changes in many aspects—both in physical and emotional. During this period, the important gift parents can give to their children is their valuable time. To have more time with your children is to allow you to be aware of their needs and help shed light to whatever possible confusion and questions. You should have time to connect with them and teach them essential things about life, especially the do’s and don’ts of growing up, having a relationship and the risks of being involved into social issues—including teenage pregnancy.
Know Your Children Very Well
Teenage life can be difficult to any child—a critical phase of youth. Instead of getting too occupied criticizing others and becoming imperceptive of your own inadequacies, get preoccupied attending to your children’s needs. Instead of conscientiously dissecting other people’s flaws and overlook your own mistakes, be diligent in knowing your children very well. Instead of exerting much effort to know almost everything about your neighbor’s children, why not discover the smallest details of your own kids. Always have the time to know them inside and out.
Establish an Open Relationship
Openness is very essential in building a strong family relationship. To establish an open relationship within the family is to foster honesty and understanding between members. In dealing with growing children, parents should allow them to express their thoughts and emotions. When they convey, be sensitive to their notions and feelings. Make them aware that you are always accessible and interested in whatever they are going to express or ask. With that, they will feel comfortable and will find not just a parent but a friend in you.
Set Parent-Child Boundary
There will be many instances when extreme tolerance leads to abuse. In order to avoid that circumstance from happening, you should not allow your children to overthrow your position as a parent. You need to set a solid boundary. This means that you will let them know you are in charge and you have the final say. Do not give them the license to overstep beyond that border, but when they do, carefully remind them to examine their actions and submit. When you properly and strictly set the boundary, implementing the appropriate rules you set for them won’t be difficult. They will absolutely understand.
Impose Discipline but Don’t Constrict
Right discipline shares an important fraction in nurturing a child. Without imposing the right discipline, children could become vicious and would think freedom is inherent and that nobody can stop them from doing everything—not even their parents. However, do not constrict them with your methods and refuse them to exercise liberty. Allow them to enjoy the essence of life while teaching them how to live independently. When you are too constricting, they will fight back and eventually, they will become rebellious.
Do Not Compare
Most parents tend to compare how they live their youth with that of their children’s. Please, do not tell them how you did things when you were of their age and order them to do the same. We know for a fact that people evolve, we discover new things, and then we settle in. Allow your children to live their own lives and play the role of being their most reliable guide. Do not compare. Otherwise, they would consider you depriving them of their freedom to learn the ways of youth and how to uncover their own strengths, weaknesses and find their true happiness.
Listen And Talk
When they talk, you should be listening. When they need you to talk, you will start the conversation. A regular dialogue with your children will allow you the opportunity to know the inner workings of their minds and hearts. Start making friends with your children and win their hearts in ways that are unplanned. Friendship will always be a good foundation to any relationship—friends always talk even about nonsensical matters.
Educate and Guide
In today’s world of advanced technology, almost everything is accessible through the Internet. Your guidance is always a significant thing when it comes to this matter. Even if you would prohibit your children from abusing the Internet at home, they cannot abscond from the treacherous world. Additionally, the emergence of social media is more influential than your reminders. The best thing you can do is to slowly and properly educate them, especially about sensitive issues like sex, the risks of getting into premarital sex, having relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, and other significant topics they needed to know.
Teenage pregnancy is a dilemma that brings social stigma. And this issue will lead to other alarming plights that may create a domino effect—ruining immaculate lives. Without time, appropriate guidance and formal education, your children may take the misguided road and fall in the cavern of indecision. What can truly break parents’ hearts is to see their children broken and dispirited. Far worse than that, if the parents are held accountable to what happened. Now, if you would want your children to walk the right path to life, nurture them in ways you would want them to see successful and happy.