Kenya has been hit by cases of teenage pregnancies, popping up during the national exams, coincidentally. This year’s candidates have carried the burden of a closely scrutinizing nation, which has shifted the eyes away from exam malpractices to teenage pregnancies in schools, notwithstanding the fact that these cases have been there in previous years.
In days gone by, adolescent pregnancies were frowned upon and the trend of teenage pregnancies at the moment is alarming. One could ask what are some of the causes? Who is responsible, the effects and preventive measures?
I would like to take you through some of the factors surrounding teenage pregnancies, not forgetting the fact that different situations vary with the setting and the opinions. One thing everyone should remember is that it’s not only about girls, boys too are adversely affected, for they also indulge in sexual activities while they are still young and some grow up with the wrong state of mind.
Some of the causes of teenage pregnancy;
(a) Young girls deceived by older men who use poverty as the bait-When a girl comes from a family living in poverty, one shouldn’t ignore the fact that she may admire stuff out of their reach or a better life for her and her family. Older men may use this to trap them and indulging in sex isn’t out of question.
(b) Peer pressure-With the changes in society and trends many girls may find themselves being influenced by their friends to indulge in sexual activities.
(c) Rape and sexual abuse-People should remember that some girls are living under constant sexual abuse from even family members.
(d) Societal influence- The trends in the society are encouraging a more open and liberal world, and sex isn’t shunned as it was before. As a result, young girls and boys are exposed to the dirty side early on, and one finds many girls are pregnant yet no one raises the alarm, this definitely trickles to schools.
(e) Girls used by parents- Sometimes girls are used as pawns by parents who want to get quick money by marrying her off or placing their financial burden on her, she may indulge in sexual activities as a result.
(f) Cultural beliefs have also contributed much on teenage pregnancies.
(g) An open corrupt entertainment scene. This may include quick access to pornographic material, which grooms the minds of children to be more open with sex and other related activities.
The next question is who is to blame? The truth is that it’s a system that takes into account both parents, teachers and children. So far, it’s been a shifting blame game with parents blaming their children for leading a promiscuous life, yet the parents are tasked with providing the guidance while their kids are still young so that they grow into a principaled lifestyle. Teachers should also accept responsibility to provide guidance because they act as the teachers when they are in schools.
The main effect of teenage pregnacy is that it pokes holes in the societal fabric, affecting everything from development to breaking families. The youths are the roots that guarantee a strong oak future for the nation, and once targeted or once they are weakened through untimely acts and incidences including teenage pregnancies, it halts the pace of their nurturing and stability, consequently, sooner or later, the society will feel the impacts.
(a) Parents should spend more time with their children and talk to them about sexual matters in a way a parent should let them not be taught by the internet and friends.
(b) Schools should adopt a sexual education programme and through this children would know and choose what is good for them.
(c) Cultural beliefs shouldn’t be used to influence the personal sexual lives of children, this has led even to rampant FGM cases.
(d) Parents should have a say on what their children watch and they shouldn’t be exposed to immoral content. Believe it or not, when one is watching filthy content it may seem a trivial matter but the mind is a powerful tool.
(e) Contentment should be encouraged, children should be taught to live contented lives as well as parents, no matter the financial situation at the time.