The socio-economic status of teenage mothers dropping out of high school because of teenage pregnancy has been low and dismal, compared to their counter parts that persevere and go on to finish high school education, acquiring certificates.
Various factors have been associated with the reasons why teenage pregnancy negatively affects the lives of individuals prompting them to drop out of institution of learning. The teenage mothers who drop out of school are perceived to experience hard economic times because lack of academic qualification results to limited job opportunities. Teenage mothers are not ready to face life and therefore they need special care of which completing education is very essential in laying a firm foundation for their future. Lack of special care and consideration, affects them psychologically and financially, which in turn affect their children consequently affecting the country for generations to come becoming a cyclic perennial problem. Teenage mothers who drop out of school may not make it in life compared to those teenage mothers who continue schooling acquiring a certificate. Lack of proper education negatively affects the socio-economic status of teenage mothers
Teenage motherhood has been an extensively and intensively discussed topic as it has direct effects on the society, having persisted for ages. Many teenagers become pregnant in high school of which about sixty percent do not finish school, many do not finish their schooling mainly due to the financial constraints and peer pressure.
Teenage pregnancy and high school dropout by girls is highly linked. The pregnancy of teenagers in the modern world has been mainly linked to lack of focus. This is because teenagers with high life aspirations with clearly stated goals tend to shun activities that might jeopardize their career dreams while those teenagers with fewer career aspirations and have only completed few years of school tend to get involved in rather risky choices that eventually create a cycle of adolescent pregnancy. Focus is dependant on other factors like poverty and counsel. Teenage pregnancy, that is from the age of thirteen to nineteen leads to reduced educational accomplishments (Rumberger, 1994).
Education and Job Requirements
Since only about forty percent of teenage mothers complete school only a single digit of these are able to graduate from the various colleges. The teenage mothers who drop out of high school do not acquire good certificates, which make it difficult for them to acquire promising jobs that can economically sustain them (Gillham, 1997).
The children born of high school dropout live in poverty compared to the teenage mothers who finish high school. The US Department of Education has reported that in the past, high school dropout due to teen pregnancy amounted to more than fifteen percentage of the total school dropout of over a million teenagers. In recent times dropout because of pregnancy has reduced significant to about four percent. The significant reduction of teenage mothers’ dropout is being attributed to the major reforms the public schools have taken. The reforms have been institutionalized to accommodate teenage mothers catering to their various needs. Teenage drop out due to pregnancies has been mainly attributed to peer pressure and financial constraints, to cater to these problems, some states have set up schools specifically for pregnant teens and the teen mothers. This enables these teenagers to complete school in an environment away from ridicule by peers and an environment that caters to their various needs and wants (Musick, 1995).
In the modern world job acquisition has become an up hill task due to the country having been hard hit by the aftermath of recession. The rate of unemployment in the country is very high thus the job market has become very competitive and people are hired on merit (Rumberger, 1991). High credentials and high level of education has become a requirement from many employers even on securing a job that is regarded as less formal. Teenage mothers who have no academic certificates that is to say they have low level of education, have found it hard to secure a stable job that can guarantee them and their children a stable source of income.
Mothers who have at least graduated from high school have a high chance of securing a job thus uplifting their socio-economic status. In the job market, it does not matter whether you are a mother or not, what matters is the level of qualification, which influences heavily on your output level. Most school dropouts, these have been estimated to be about 1.2 million, are generally faced with tough economic hardships teenage mothers included.
This group of high school dropouts account for almost half of the drug abusers due to depression (Harding, 2003).
Responsibilities and Motherhood
Teenage mothers who have dropped out of high school are still dependants; they are not ready or seasoned enough to face life. Having been used to school life where their parents provide everything, dropping out abruptly due to pregnancy, psychologically traumatizes the young teens. (Remedy Health Media, 2011) They are also supposed to start being responsible taking care of young ones yet they themselves are regarded as minors by the law.
The harsh reality results in psychic breakdown and mental disorders. Stress is also common among this group of teens, with many turning to drugs while others to prostitution to try meet the various economically demanding roles once a teenage mother drops out, her life path becomes altered. Unless she goes back to school, which becomes harder with advancement with age, she might never be able to acquire a university degree. Without a university degree in the modern 21st century, it becomes a sort of a nightmare. The social class in the modern world is dictated by the level of education, amount of money one has, or the level of influence that an individual has on the society. Economics is directly related to the social class (Gregson, 2009). These mothers are only capable of securing manual work or odd jobs that demand working for long hours if one has to make any substantial income that can sustain the family’s needs and pay rent that is soaring each day.
The baby back at home has no sufficient time to spend with the mother and thus does not get the required parental care (Biddle, Gorely, Marshall, Murdey & Cameron, 2008).
The issue of teenage motherhood should be addressed with urgency because it has been one of the pertinent issues that have continued to drag the society into poverty status. The children born in poverty are likely to remain poor even in their adulthood.
Survey has shown that women who came from poor families or were brought up in poverty were more likely to become teenage mothers than those who had not encountered poverty or had no history of poverty. It has also been proven that childhood experience of poverty was very closely related with the risk of poverty as an adult. Social economic independence of teenage mothers should thus be fostered with teenage motherhood being discouraged as much as possible. Survey has also shown that teenage mothers have been faced with many challenges and disadvantages than other women. These disadvantages have been attributed to the age at which a woman had her first child rather than parenting itself (Arai, 2009). Women who get children when they have finished their education have a sufficient source of income, while teenage mothers especially school dropouts continue to struggle in life of which, this is likely to be the same case for their children.
In understanding how to counter teenage motherhood several methods have been proposed. Parents and the elderly members of the society should learn to listen to teenagers without passing judgment. Teenagers require safe places to talk freely about the various issues affecting them without being scolded or looked down upon. Teenagers who have trusted individuals they can identify, especially on the school compound, are less likely to engage in risky sexual activities, and if they do, they are more likely to use contraceptives. On the other hand, pregnant or parenting teens should be encouraged to stay in school; especially in the particular school, they were enrolled. This boosts their academic performance at the same time contributing to the health of the baby, as there are reduced stress levels. For example, the state laws in Georgia clearly outline the rights of teenage mother to continue schooling at the school of enrollment.
The school curriculum should also be encourage to incorporate courses on sexuality, as those teenagers who learn about health education are less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors ( Zastrow & Kirst –Ashman, 2007). The school and public health relation should also be promoted, so that there are many school-based and linked health care services provided to teenagers. The various schools and the business community should also join efforts in creating real opportunities for teenagers to have experiences at the job markets through such programs as internship. Teenagers would thus become more serious in pursuing their career aspirations, shunning risky sexual behaviors.
Lack of enough parental care and parental guidance is one of the major factors for the teenagers to lose focus.
The young mothers, who have dropped out of high school unlike those who graduate, bring up children who lack the essential facilities to develop their respective talents, consequently under developing the society as such individuals do not realize their full potential. If such individuals had been accorded the appropriate facilities, they would have probably become more productive and pivotal in advancement of the society and national building. African Americans population has been the hardest hit by teenage mothers dropping out. This affects some young African American teenagers, as they are unable to acquire work. Being an age-old problem of teenage mother dropping out of school, most African Americans in modern America are involved in crimes and drugs compared to the white population (Rumberger, 1991). Teenage motherhood is challenging and the young girls need a lot of support. Without education, improving their living standard becomes very difficult.
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