Essay on Teenage Pregnancy
Adolescence is the period of transition from childhood to adulthood, which is between 13 to 20 years of age.The term “adolescent” refers to the psychological maturation of an individual while “puberty” refers to the point at which reproduction becomes possible.
Most people refer to this stage as a period that is highly stressful and volatile although teenagers nowadays successfully meet these challenges.During this period, physical changes occur rapidly and sexual maturation occurs along with the development of the primary and secondary sexual characteristics.
In an article by Kathleen Surburry in Time Magazine entitled, “Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High”, the school is besieged by a boom in teenage pregnancy rates.
Upon investigation of its principal, John Sullivan, it was found out that seventeen teenage girls made a pact to become pregnant and raise their children together.
Teenage pregnancy can be considered as a social problem. As stated by Jarmrozik and Nocella (1998), “Social problems are social conditions, activities, attitudes and so on that at some stage may be perceived as problems, although they might have existed in society for some time without being seen in this way.
The change in perception signifies a change in values, attitudes or interests, or new knowledge and awareness of a real or potential threat”
Eric Erikson, created the eight phases of the process of socialization wherein each stage consists of a psychosocial crisis that an individual must face and attempt to find a resolution before proceeding to the next stage.
Adolescents (aged 13 years to 20 years) are on the fifth stage of the psychosocial crisis wherein individuals are battling with establishing an identity versus role confusion.
This is marked by a period of learning one’s true personal identity that is separate from one’s peers. This is mainly a period of discovery and self exploration and most adolescents experience some aspects of identity confusion even though they are well adjusted. This is largely due to the peer pressure that is largely prevalent and feelings of self insecurity and doubt.
At this stage, adolescents attempt to create their own personality, sexuality, ideas and roles as well as aiming to develop their strengths. It is not uncommon for teenagers to express various identities and may even go though a period of identity crisis in order to find their true selves.
Successful resolution of this stage leads to the development of fidelity and the establishment of their own personal identity. Failure to weather this stage will lead to role confusion wherein they may exhibit unstable behavior and may exhibit very minimal decision making skills.
Adolescents often experience strong changes in various aspects: in their cognition, emotions and physical looks (Susman 2003). They may consider their parents or guardians as less important compared to their friends and peers.
They often look up and idolize glamorous movie stars which may not be the best role models for them especially in a day when teenage pregnancy is highly glamorized by young stars. As such, teenagers may engage in socially unacceptable activities without fully understanding its consequences.
Another theory that was put forth by Sigmund Freud is the development of personality through a series of stages wherein pleasure is centered on specific areas of the body that are erogenous in nature. The libido or psychosexual energy, thus, influences the individual’s behavior and actions.
The early stages of this focus on attaining individual needs and leading to taking in consideration the needs of others. Adolescents belong to the last stage: the genital stage in Freud’s psychosexual theory. During this stage, the individual has a strong sexual interest in members of the opposite sex. The emergence of sexuality and desire usually appears at the onset of puberty.
Adolescents may experience the first stirrings of sexual feelings and may seek to express this with members of the opposite sex without fully thinking of the consequences of their behavior. It must be taken into account that familial influences along with an individual’s religion and culture have an impact on how the adolescent express their sexuality (Abbassi 1998).
Piaget states that the changes that occur within the mind as well as the widening social environment of the adolescent results to a high level of intellectual development. This is also known as formal operations. The adolescent develops the ability to determine possibilities, rank possibilities, solve problems and make decisions through logical operations.
The teenager has the ability to think abstractly and deal effectively with hypothetical questions or problems. When confronted with a problem, the teenager can consider an infinite variety of causes and solutions. Thinking may now venture into such subjects as achieving world peace, finding justice, and seeking meaning in life.
Adolescents have the capacity to reason with respect to possibilities and new cognitive powers allow the adolescent to do more far-reaching problem solving including their future and that of others. Although adolescents have the capacity to think as well as an adult, they lack experiences on which to build their decisions which may also result in conflicts between teens and their parents.
Since human behavior impacts on nearly every aspect of life, this is an important area of science. Different fields in psychology can really help us a lot as it can provide us with a clear understanding of every concept about human personality and development.
Abbassi V (1998). “Growth and normal puberty.” Pediatrics 102 (2 Pt 3): 507–11
Jarmrozik, A and Nocella, N. (1998). The Sociology of Social Problems. page 21.
Susman, EJ et al (2003). Puberty, sexuality, and health. In: Lerner MA, Easterbrooks MA, Mistry J. , editors. Comprehensive Handbook of Psychology. New York: Wiley
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