I think teen pregnancy is perhaps one of the greatest social injustices of our time.
In Hamilton country 690 teen girls became pregnant in 2007. While Tennessee is one of the few states that continues to see a decrease in teen pregnancies, there are still far too many teens getting pregnant.
A recent study published by the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy indicates that:
a child born to a teen mothers has a 27 percent chance of growing up in poverty. If the teen mother is not married at the time of the birth of the child, which most of them are not, the chances of the child growing up in poverty increase to 42 percent. If the teen mother does not graduate from high school or get her GED (Two-thirds of teen moms do not graduate from high school) the child will likely spend 64 percent of his life in poverty.
In contrast - if none of these things happen, a child's chances of growing up in poverty is only 7 percent.
Playing around with sex is like playing with fire, except the person playing fire isn't the only one who gets burned. We have a lot of babies raising babies. This is a huge problem.
I think the best news is there are things we can do to make a difference.
Teens can break the cycle and choose abstinence.
Parents can talk to their teens about the real facts surrounding teen pregnancy. For example,
8 out of 10 teen fathers do not marry the mother of their child.
Sarah Brown, CEO of the National Campaign encourages parents to engage their teens in conversation about the following:
Babies don't cement a relationship, they often put tremendous stress on them.
Babies need to be raised by adults, not children who are still trying to figure things out.
If it happens, it happens is no way to begin a family!
As parents we really have a responsibility to talk with our kids about these issues - even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable and they complain. They may seem smart, but the truth is when it comes to life issues they still need a tremendous amount of guidance.
Raising children in this day and age in more complicated than ever! As a mom of a 17-year-old I am constantly aware of all the craziness of the culture and the messages that are being sent about sex and dating. My goals have been to make sure she has accurate information so she can make wise decisions and to help her see how her decisions today will impact her tomorrow and for years to come.
There are a number of great websites with helpful information. Talk to friends , The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Live on Point