Sophia is a very pale 16-year-old even she is from California. She enjoys gregarious people, green tea ice cream, and rainy days.
“Everyone take a condom and banana,” the teacher says with a serious face, like her usual stringent self. Still, the boys turned into monkeys, laughing and jumping around the classroom and flinging their bananas in front of other boys’ faces. Some girls would giggle or attempt to act mature by remaining succinct and unaffected by the rowdy atmosphere. The classroom door was open and, judging by the loquacious behaviors inside, teachers and students who passed by knew. “Oh, it must be sex ed going on.”
Surprisingly, such serious topics like abstinence, contraception, and the most problematic, teenage pregnancy, are not perceived by teenagers as important. Does their ignorant behavior show that there is no need for such education in schools? One would think that in a civilized and mentally advanced country, something like teenage pregnancy would not be a problem. Parents and the education board idealistically hoped for the best; they thought that after learning about the consequences of unsafe sex, most American teenagers would have innocent and pure relationships, which solely involves holding hands and picnic dates.
According to the New York Times, in 2006, the pregnancy rate in American women aged 15 to 19 was roughly 72 out of 1000 women. Compared to many other countries, America has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates despite the federal government spending $179 million per year to keep sex education running in schools.
Obviously, sex education is not a major help in lowering teenage pregnancy rates. After all, most things in school go in one ear and out the other. What many people fail to realize is that teenage pregnancy can be prevented if parents were to provide a healthier environment. One of the major reasons teenage pregnancy thrives is because children are just growing up too fast. The lack of an innocent childhood is equal to a lack of a growth or maturing period. Instead of developing healthy habits and values for life during this growth period, teenagers are exposed to the media’s perturbing way of portraying how glamorous sex can be. Naturally, they begin to think that way too. The accessibility of television, magazines, and the Web make media the “role models” for teenagers to look up to. For example, in today’s magazines, we see pages and pages of glamorous photos of pregnant celebrities. Teenagers are easily attracted to this because they enjoy attention and if becoming pregnant is a shortcut to obtaining the attention they crave, then unprotected sex it is.
Also, at such young ages, children easily copy the way their surrounding adults behave. When parents do not show value and dignity for their bodies, children follow and will not value their own bodies as well. By the time these children become teenagers, their outlook on what creating life means is skewed and blurred. No longer does love matter between two individuals. With this crooked mindset, teenagers are involved in more casual sex and less quality relationships.
Schools can teach but they cannot regulate what teenagers should take in or should ignore outside of school. Therefore, parents can begin building a healthy environment for teenagers in their earlier years by giving more care and teaching more proper values. Teenagers will develop healthier mindsets and value their bodies in the future.
Healthy teenagers will build healthier relationships ,which will involve more love and less babies.