Teen pregnancy remains to be a problem in the society. There have been many ways by which teen pregnancy would be addressed but there are existing internal and external barriers that prevents and individual from addressing the issue. The internal barriers include the difficulty of evaluating the seriousness of a problem, the tendency to deny the gravity of the problem, The fear of being judged, labeled or punished, the suspicion or distrust of human service agencies, The shame of not being able to solve the problem and the fear of the unknown. External barriers include the difficulty of finding the appropriate program and helper, the inadequacy of services, high cost of services, past history, reputation or public image of a program and myths and lack of information about the human services.
Teen Pregnancy and Barriers in Solution
Current social and economic conditions have created problems which targeted the basic foundation of society: the family. In connection with this, the dilemma resulted by the degeneration of several values seem to be continually denied rather than being acted upon. In reality, one social problem is connected with many other problems which could also be worse than the other.
Teen pregnancy is closely linked to a host of other critical social issues — poverty and income, overall child well-being, out-of-wedlock births, responsible fatherhood, health issues, education, child welfare, and other risky behavior. (The National Campaign, 2008, Home Page)
It is increasingly alarming that this problem have remained embedded in the statistical reports as relevant contributors to the growth of the population, spread of sexually transmitted disease and as an underlying effect of sexual abuse among the teenage bracket. This paper would discuss teen pregnancy as one of these problems but shall focus on the barriers that affect its resolution.
Teen pregnancy is not an isolated issue. It is an aggregate of many other issues affecting human health, productivity and child welfare. Concerns on the crisis of HIV-AIDS can also arise from this matter. Hence, its inseparability from other important issues can not be denied. In reference to that, the solution promised must be in accordance with the basic principles of protecting individuals. More than being a sexual issue, teen pregnancy deals with the financial, emotional and psychological readiness to take on the responsibility of parenting (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2004). The risk of teen pregnancy is increasing and unless sound measures can be employed, it would continue to affect our youth. First in our defense line is to identify the solution and deal with how to get through the barriers that hamper the success of this program.
However, several solutions can be found in about every publication and media in the country as people realized that this serious issue must be dealt with. Newspaper ads, phone in services, magazines and other similar publications and even television and radio can be good sources of information regarding this issue (Healthday, 2008, Home page). The main question remains. What prevents people from getting help?
“Barriers that Prevent People from Getting Help” suggested some of the internal and external barriers on the issue of teen pregnancy. The affected is not only the pregnant teen but also her immediate family which would bear all the burden of her pregnancy – financially and emotionally. In the increase of teen pregnancy ratio, alcoholism and domestic violence also increased as a result of this turbulence. Here are some of the barriers enumerated on the article.
The first of these internal barriers is the difficulty of evaluating the seriousness of the problem. Many cases of teen pregnancy result to mislabeled individuals because of our inability to assess the problem and identify the causes of this. Parents for example would tend to question their child’s mental ability and think that the pregnancy was a result of slower development compared to other teens. Teens may also feel as if they are solely affected by the problem. Mentors on the other hand would be able to see these changes or problems at school and often perceive what interactions teen students have.
When the problem arises, the first stage would be denial. The reason for this is that people would still try to escape from that reality because deep inside them, they have recognized the implications of this problem. In essence, the denial of the situation is the denial of his/her responsibility on the cause of the problem. Automatically, anyone who encounters teen pregnancy surely has an idea how it would be to become pregnant and that what they actually have in their womb is another human life. Given this precondition, it would be normal to deny that she is pregnant and lead her thoughts away from it but the biological changes would occur overtime and the symptoms would become much visible. When it has become obvious, the pregnant teen would again face another problem that is fear of being misjudged, labeled or punished.
As it is currently embedded in the societal norms and tradition, pregnancy is still associated with marriage and pregnancy outside marriage would tend to become a gauge for promiscuous teens. No matter how baseless it would be, the moral standards set by the society can not be reverted in an instant. Teens would normally face the consequences of this problem with difficulties. Even the father of the child would also experience the same dilemma but unlike his, the teen mother would not only have to face the psychological pressure but cope with the changing physique and emotions in response to her environment and pregnancy (Kids’ Health, 2008).
The suspicion or distrust of human service workers and agents is crucially involved in the barriers for pregnant teens to consider asking for help. Sometimes teens would choose not to open up their problem until it has worsened. To think that teen pregnancy has a very high rate of unsuccessful delivery, child or maternal death and birth defects were common results of teen pregnancy. Statistical reports assert that out of 12 million teens, 3 million is affected by sexually transmitted diseases and 9 per cent of them would be having low-birth weight babies. Each pregnancy would be a risk both to the mother and to the baby. So, if the teen refuses to seek help then the problem could become worse. This also leads to another barrier which is the shame of being unable to solve own problems. Most fears however result from not knowing the right decisions and their consequences. Fear of the unknown only delays the avenues to seeking help.
There are other barriers that are affected by outside influences unlike internal barriers which are mostly personal in nature. First is that teen parent meeting the difficulty of choosing the appropriate programs for her. There are several factors which would become a component of this decision making process including race, gender, age and degree. It could also possibly arise from the inadequacy of services. Some teen parents do not have access to appropriate medical attention not because of the absence of medical centers but the accessibility of these services in terms of economic capability. Reports show that most teenage parents would face this hardship because of inability to prepare for early parenting. This constraint is affected by the high cost of services which normally could not be afforded by marginal sectors.
Another important barrier worth taking into consideration also involves the past and current programs that have proven to be ineffective and because of that any further campaigns would be treated with the same distrust because of past history, reputation of public image of a program. Lastly, myths and lack of information about the human services continue to have an impact on how teenage parents would respond. Lobbying for the abolition of certain laws and measure which could be responsible for the problem could also be dealt with by some human resource teams and that would also affect how the system supports the current issue.
These internal and external barriers discussed only guide us to the reality of teen pregnancy that it is indeed a very serious problem. The affected individual, the teen parent, remain to be informed about the risks and problems involved in the issue and that this concern can be dealt with properly only if there is a two way cooperation process involved. The development of the bay and the health of the mother is always at risk.