The Effects of Teen Pregnancy on Children

Haronamas Walton

Children from homes run by teenage mothers have to face almost insurmountable obstacles in life. The incidents of depression and mental health problems, the lack of father figures, and the high rate of poverty often connected to children in homes run by teenage mothers put them at serious disadvantages when compared to children raised in nuclear families. Many people believe that the implementation of sex education in schools and the addition of more federal aid for single parents are major causes for the country's high rate of teen pregnancies. When the true purpose of sex education and federal aid is to help strengthen the mother and her child so that they can eventually lead productive lives.

The absence of a father figure in the home brings about a chain reaction of dilemmas. The emotional problems that children suffer because there is no father in their life can be potentially hazardous to their future. Many children tend to be effected mentally because these powerful emotions have the potential to do permanent damage in a child's life. Children may experience sadness and depression, aggressive behavior, frequent illness, difficulty in school, eating problems, and sleeping disorders.

Many children also suffer from various social difficulties and self-esteem problems that come along with living in a one-parent household. The pressure that children raised by teenage parents go through is tremendous. Children who don't have fathers present in the home often feel unloved. There is no trauma as excruciatingly painful as parental rejection and there is probably no worse of a way to wreck a person's life.

Males are affected differently by the absence of a father than females are. A boy needs a male role model in his life so that he can learn how to become a man. Children who don't have good role models often choose negative, unsavory characters to mold themselves after. These children become susceptible to many of the dangerous risks associated with children who are raised by teenage parents. "Males that grow up in one-parent homes may gain negative personality traits like immaturity, laziness, and disrespect for women (Meurer, Meurer, & Holloway,1996)."

Females who grow up without fathers in the home usually end up having pre-marital sex (Hinckely, 1998). " They subconsciously want to make up for the affection that they didn't receive from their fathers. They become too dependent on men because they want someone who can replace their father. These women usually don't know how to relate to other males and they have the wrong idea about what a relationship should be like.

Girls may even grow up to hate men because of an unconscious resentment toward absent fathers. The shift from the traditional nuclear family to one-parent homes has been dramatic in the United States. "In many Western industrialized societies, the one-parent family is becoming more common and tolerated (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1999)." However they often have not proven to be successful.

"Since 1970, the percentage of children living with single parents has doubled, from 12 to 27 percent, because of the increases in the divorce rate and the number of unmarried parents. Single parent families now include more than 18 million children and comprise the most common non-nuclear family (Meurer, Meurer, & Holloway,1996)."

This is a startling statistic considering the fact that crime and poverty is directly related to children who are raised by teenage parents. People who are faced with the harsh reality of raising children are usually not prepared to handle the responsibility. A lot of men try to run away from the problem. They then reject their children and neglect to provide any kind of financial assistance for them. The mother is ultimately left alone to juggle the task of raising the children and earning all or most of the family income needed to support them. "Forty-one percent of these mothers have never been married (Hinckely, 1998). "

Most teen mothers have to rely on government aid like Welfare, W.I.C, Focus Hope, project housing, and Medicaid as relief. These mothers are only able to give their children the bare minimum for survival. I see this first hand because a lot of people I know currently have Medicaid insurance or at least receive a generous amount of financial aid from the government to attend college here at Aquinas. There are a lot of people who attend colleges all over the country thanks to financial aid