One of the greatest threats to the health and future of girls today is teenage pregnancy. Teenagers have unprecedented access to sex information, whether correct or not, and are choosing to engage in it. If armed with the wrong information, teenage girls end up either pregnant or infected with sexually transmitted infections or both. Increasing cases of incest, rape and pedophilia also increase the instances of teenage pregnancy and STIs.
Teenage pregnancy is known to put the mothers’ health at risk. The fact that the teenagers are forced into parenthood before they are mature enough also presents emotional and financial problems. This is compounded by the fact that quite a number of these pregnancies come from violent and abusive sexual encounters, which carry with them psychological and social repercussions apart from those emanating from the pregnancy. Many teenage parents have to quit school to look after the children or get jobs to provide for them. In some societies, teenagers are forced into marriages. Unfortunately, this means that the parents can only access low income jobs that have little or no security, and might struggle to provide their basic needs. Therefore, if teen parents are not properly supported, teenage pregnancy can easily lead to impoverishment.
Fortunately, with a little effort, the society can ensure that teenage parents grow up to become responsible and productive parents in the future. First, the society should ensure that the teenagers continue with their education. This might entail providing free daycare services, or having flexible school classes to allow for the teenagers to go to school. Provision of monetary assistance such as welfare may also help in reducing school dropout rates. Sex education can be intensified to give correct information at an early age. There is also need for counseling of teenage parents because of the enormous responsibilities they face at a time when they are still children. The teenager’s family and the society at large also need to be aware of this fact and lend a helping hand where they can.