A psycho-educational perspective on the phenomenon of adolescent pregnancy
Adolescent pregnancy is a worldwide social problem. This causes a concern for health workers, the community, and the parents. This is true because adolescents are too immature to shoulder the responsibility of pregnancy. Different methods of contraceptives are available, but most adolescents are not interested in exploiting them. Various reasons why adolescents don't exploit such opportunities were outlined (refer to §1.1). Parents on the other hand, are to be blamed because there is a saying that "charity begins at home" which means that parents are the ones that must start to teach their children about sexuality issues. They are the ones who notice that the child has reached the stage of womanhood/manhood. This is the good time to inculcate the values of morality - what is acceptable and not acceptable. Yes, some parents indicate that the school is responsible for teaching sexuality education, but if they have a good base from their parents who are very close to them, then a lot of problems can be alleviated. The statement of the problem was outlined (refer to § 1.2) and questions raised were answered throughout the study. The literature review, and research program were discussed. The study also dealt with the definition of terms that were frequently used throughout the paper. During the late eighteenth century, pregnancy among adolescents was rare. Intimacy during courtship was not tolerated because courting couples often lived at a great distance from each other. During the later part of the eighteenth century, premarital pregnancies and out of wedlock births began to rise because of the breakdown of stable communities and fornication laws were abolished (refer to § 18.104.22.168). Adolescent pregnancy had an influence on the economy because public funds were spent on teenage childbearing. The money could have. been saved if pregnancy was postponed. A lot of agencies spent a lot of money to provide for the services of pregnant adolescents that could have been saved (refer to § 22.214.171.124). In African countries the problem of teenage pregnancy is not clearly recorded, because of early marriage. The adolescents get pregnant to prove their fertility and in \ most cases their parents acknowledge this because the arrangements for marriage run smoothly. The study showed that children of less than eighteen years were then married (refer to § 2.3.1). The Zimbabwean Government allowed pregnant girls to continue with school after giving birth, with the aim of helping them to be educated. In South Africa, the Constitution states that "everyone has the right to education". Principals and teachers are urged to assist pregnant adolescents with their studies. If pregnant adolescents study at home, they should be allowed to write their examinations. In Swaziland, pregnant adolescents are allowed to go back to school after giving birth, but they wear special uniforms marking them as teenage mothers (refer to § 126.96.36.199). The most crucial concerns of adolescent pregnancy was also outlined (refer to § chapter 3) - that is the causes and the effects of adolescent pregnancy. The study outlined how adolescents develop and discussed the physical changes that occur (refer to § 3.4.1). Adolescents must acquire knowledge and skills in order to continue to advance to a higher level of development. Failing which, this lead to poor adjustment and an inability to solve some of the later tasks. At the same time adolescents have needs that need to be fulfilled. The reasons for being pregnant were outlined (refer to § 3.3). Some become pregnant because they want to substitute the loss of their loved ones. For some, being pregnant is a masked form of rebellion. The saying that history repeats itself is true. Some adolescents become pregnant because they repeat the very mistakes of some of the family members. Most of them become pregnant because they want to be independent, live their own lives and make their own decisions. Most of the pregnant adolescent girls end up being miserable and frustrated. Their school career is being disrupted, because most of them are poor and they don't have caretakers for their babies. Most of them lack material, emotional and financial support. Pregnancy causes a disruption in families. The parents do not trust the adolescent girl any longer and they worry that she will influence other sisters to become pregnant. If adolescents become pregnant by mistake, they resort to abortion - which in some cases lead to bleeding, infections and future miscarriages. Adolescents have psychological problems like depression, fear, nightmares and anger. This affects the baby too. Some of the babies are abandoned or are neglected and maltreated. Most of the children because they are being cared by immature parents they have lower birth weight or are abused somehow by their parents. These children, in most cases, do not do well in intelligence tests and may have behavioural problems. The fathers are also affected (refer to § 3.6). They are often ignored, blamed for being irresponsible and not consulted in matters affecting their children. Some of the fathers, of course, do not want to be involved in the welfare of their children. In some cases, adolescent fathers do want to be involved, it is just that they are less skilled and inexperienced. The father even if he works, he earns lower income - which is not enough to cater for the needs of the baby. Parents sometimes contributes to adolescent pregnancy (refer to § 3.7). This happens because if the family is disorganised, the children often make wrong decisions, including engaging in early sexual activity. Parents can alleviate this by having open communication with their children. They have to tell the children about their bodies, educating them about sexual matters and sexual development. Role models also contribute to adolescent pregnancy in that sometimes adolescents envies single parents who are well to do, who can afford everything their children want (refer to § 3.8). Some adolescents fall in that trap. Some of these models are their own mothers who sustained them throughout the years. They become pregnant hoping to follow in the footsteps of their mothers. Peers can also cause adolescent pregnancy. They pressurize their friends to have babies if they want to be part of the group. Although the government issues free contraceptives, most adolescents do not want to use them. This includes the condom that is advertised daily for men to use for safer sex. The refusal to use contraceptives lead to a lot of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. There is a saying that "prevention is better than cure". All health workers at health centers, parents, teachers and the society should join hands to alleviate the problem of adolescent pregnancy. This is important because adolescents are inexperienced; they need life-skill education which will help them to act responsibly (refer to § 4.1). Different programmes that were used to help adolescent mothers to cope with the new situation that they find themselves in were discussed. In most cases, the families were involved. Some programmes were designed for the sisters of adolescent mothers so as to influence them not to fall in the same trap. Other programmes were tailored in such a way that adolescents could continue with their education whilst at the same time caring for their babies. The study showed that sex education programs should be combined with schoolbased health clinics so that the adolescents could receive information about sex, pregnancy and contraception. Some school districts have developed parenting education and child care programmes to encourage adolescents to stay in school and to provide early learning experiences for the adolescents' babies so that they should be prepared for formal instruction when they enter kindergarten (refer to § 4.5).