Teen pregnancy rates in the US are decreasing and that is good news. According to the CDC, there has been a steady decrease since 2017. But, even with the decrease, there is still work to do. In American culture, teen pregnancy has been glorified. And all consequences have been substituted for attention and notoriety. But teen pregnancy can have negative effects on a teenager, which include mental and emotional consequences as well as difficulty in completing one's educational goals. Teen pregnancy disproportionately affects teens of color and teens from low income areas. Socioeconomic disparities have one of the largest effects of teen pregnancy which places teens in a cycle of unhealthy behavior. Teens who are included in this group are twice as likely to become pregnant. How do we as a community combat this issue?
One of the ways we can combat this issue is by informing teens about the consequences that come along with teen pregnancy. There is a huge gap of proper sex education in low income communities and schools. With that in mind, parents and youth serving organizations must directly approach and address the issue of teen pregnancy. Honesty plays apart as well. Being open and honest with a teen can foster healthy dialogue. More often a teen will be more open to discuss how they feel with someone they feel they can trust.
While we live and work during this pandemic, we have to be mindful that teenagers may still be tempted to engage in risky behavior. By providing teens with alternate options during this time will decrease the chances of teens engaging in risky behavior. There is an old creed that says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. As we navigate through this difficult time, we must be mindful of the teenagers in our own homes and communities. Let’s work together to ensure healthy futures for our teens. For more information on PATH, visit our website at www.positiveteenhealth.org, or visit us on Facebook at A Positive Approach to Teen Health.
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.