We could have included it as part of the causes but it requires an in depth coverage. Do parents predispose their kids to pregnancy? Most at times parents end up asking themselves just what didn’t they do right? They took their girl to school, provided as best as they could for her, they saw a great future in her, what could have possibly gone wrong? For those who never provided or cared at all for the kids, they would still ask the question (though it sounds weird). Are our children entirely to blame for ‘getting pregnant and disgracing the family’?
Parents or guardians are the people the children are exposed to first before the rest of the world. They are the key people in the children’s life. They are the source of guidance and approval for their children. Parents dictate how their children can turn out or should turn out. I am not saying that every bad choice a child makes is a parent’s fault. But what are some of the things that we do as parents that expose our kids to early pregnancy? I will summarize almost all of them in one word; lifestyle.
- Alcohol and drug abuse: as we discussed earlier, one of the major causes of teenage pregnancy is drug and substance abuse. If a parent uses them, especially in the presence of the child, he/she could get the idea that it is okay to follow suit. In other cases, parents even introduce their children to the different types of drugs that they use. Sooner or later, the children will be using them and exposing others to them and putting themselves in vulnerable situations.
- Inconsistent partners: so say one is a single parent or even has a partner but they stay apart. Almost every day this man/woman brings in a different sexual partner. The children never stop watching, neither do they stop following the trend. If mum or dad changes sexual partners like this, then why could it possibly be wrong if I did the same? Within no time, they will start imitating.
- Busy schedules: yes, people are busy. Busy work schedule, tons and tons of work, house chores when you get back home, the last thing on one’s mind would be a kid who needs one’s attention or time. Yes, one will provide everything else they need as best as they can but time. How can you give them time when you barely have time for yourself? The kids end up being raised by nannies or child caregivers who do not even give them the kind of attention they need. Children being the funny human beings they always are will compensate for your absenteeism by being notorious so as to get your attention or innocently explore these things from outside. Let’s be honest, whatever is provided in schools on reproductive health is not enough to train our children on how to respect themselves and others enough to enjoy maintaining their dignity.
- Media exposure: it is not a wrong thing to have a television or to get your kid a nice phone or a laptop. It is not wrong to give them money to buy a book or a magazine. The sad thig however is that we do not care to follow up on how our kids use these things and how they use them. What kind of sites is your child exposed to? What kind of music videos or music do they listen to or watch? What kind of movies do they enjoy watching? What type of television shows? Like we said earlier, media is infiltrated by sexual stuff which could easily influence your child. Knowing what they are exposed to and restricting them to certain healthy things is necessary.
- Role models: growing up, at least every child has an icon they admire, they look up to, they desire to be like. Your child is no different. In our earlier discussion we realized that apart from us, role models shape our children. The first people a child will admire are the parents. So are you a person you would love your child to be like? Or would you rather they be like someone else because you are your own nightmare? Parents ought to impact the right values in their children’s life so that even as they choose people to look up to, they would choose right. It is important to talk to them too, find out who they like, why they like that specific person, ensuring to ask if they feel this person has a positive or a negative impact on their lives. It is also important for parents to find out what their kids like so they could help them pick role models from that field?
- Relationship of the parents: how do you and your partner carry yourself out? Especially in the presence of your child. Your habits usually shape and determine how he/she will eventually turn out. Do you two constantly argue or fight in front of her/her? Do you openly cheat on each other without seeing it as a big deal? Just how much affection do you display in the kid’s presence? How do you talk about your spouse when he/she is not around?
- Being sent off for early marriages: some parents shamelessly send their children off to get married at such an early age because of culture or poverty. In marriage, prevention of pregnancy is nearly impossible. But how do you expect a child to carry a fellow child? It is time we stopped taking our children’s childhood from them. Let them enjoy being children, let them play around, go to school, interact with their peers. Create an environment where they can feel safe, you are supposed to be their protector in this hard times. It does not matter whether you were sent off to early marriage, just protect your own. We do not always have to let the same cycle continue, especially if it is harmful.