Teenage Pregnancy

Mostly today oive been thinkin bout Teenage Pregancy! I ended up at the Governments strategic plan and it set me thinking, so for what it’s worth I copy it here and I’ve added to it (the yellow bits) with my thoughts.
It’s really a societal issue (it seems to me) that seems to have de-valued sex to an on demand recreational pursuit rather than a highly valued bond and expression of love, trust and commitment. I think many young people suffer enormous emotional hurt (and worse) because of a sex obsessed society that also lacks the ability to explore and COMMUNICATE to young people what sex isn’t and very importantly what sex is.
Anyway, here’s my yellow grafitti on the governemt plan. Not claiming to have all the answers or to have got it right BUT firmly believing that youth ministers can have a prophetic voice in the area of sexuality …. as well as having the frankness and humour needed to help young people explore their attitude to themselves and sex.

 
The government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy represents the first coordinated attempt to tackle both the causes and consequences of teenage pregnancy. It has two targets:
 
To halve the under-18 conception rate by 2010, and establish a firm downward trend in the under-16 rate.
To increase the participation of teenage parents in education, training or employment, to reduce their risk of long-term social exclusion. (note it is often exclusion that leads to teenage pregnancy as well as the stated vica versa)
 
The strategy is focused on four broad themes:
 
Joined-up action
Local teenage pregnancy coordinators in each local authority coordinate the delivery of local strategies, drawing on support from a wide range of local partner agencies and MUST include the voluntary/faith sector
 
A national media campaign/ media assessment
Targeted on independent radio and teenage magazines, backed up by a dedicated ‘Sexwise’ helpline and RUThinking website. 1. Media campaign aimed at Parents backed with resources/training that help parents to be able to discuss sex with their children.
2. A serious look at media potrayals of casual sex relationships
3. Promoting a higher view of sex not inadvertently promoting the idea to young people that sex is for every relationship and that losing virginity is a rite of passage out of childhood.
 
Prevention
Improving sex and relationships education, and access to contraception and sexual health advice services. 1. More work on self esteem that enables young people to value themselves as spiritual, emotional, valued people and allows them the strength/space to make decisions (in advance).
2. More youth work/informal education in schools and investment in young people not being excluded but included in the school community.
 
Support for teenage parents
Including tailored maternity services, advice and support from Connexions personal advisers and (in the 35 local authority areas with highest conception rates) Sure Start Plus advisers, financial support for childcare for those in education and training, and help to access supported accommodation. 1. Set in place a mentoring support scheme for teenage parents. 2. Recognise there are teenage mums who do an incredible job and have battled and achieved for themselves/their children against so many barriers and judgments
 

8 Replies to “Teenage Pregnancy”

  1. Oh how I agree with your first paragraph. I say yes yes yes to your yellow comments too – but how does anyone tackle the situations at home which are being portrayed as normal – with 1 in 3 marriages ending in divorce, it seems that the casual sex issue is not just in our young people but in the divorced parent’s attitude too! I’m amazed at the attitude of divorced parents to new relationships. Its no wonder its being perpetuated in a section of our young people.

  2. As well as the ‘sex as recreation’ culture that now overwhelms us (the August edition of Cosmo Girl includes an article “First time sex! Teens who’ve done it tell you everything.”) I believe there are two other cultural norms that we somehow need to address.
    The first is that, as well as young people coming from families two or three generations distant from Christian faith, many are two or three generations distant from a commitment to one-partner-for-life sexual relationships. It’s not something they’ve seen modelled by their parents or even grandparents and perhaps rarely by their friends parents.
    The other phenomenon is a culture of pregnancy as a positive choice by teens, particularly among poorer communities. “Whatever the causes of teenage pregnancy, the fact is that these teenagers don’t believe that the decision to have a baby at such a young age has ruined their lives.” There was an article about this in the Sunday Times.

  3. Enjoyed reading this Ian. Still having to process some of it because there is a lot to digest! Im not convinced about some aspects e.g. Exclusion and pregancy/STIs are connected so what impact will a helpline+website have? Minimal in my view. The only really ‘successful’ media campaign that I can recall was for HIV Aids in the 1980s + that cost millions!! Im even uneasy about saying ‘successful’ because that campaign had a relatively short term impact e.g.there is now a declining use of condom use+basic knowledge of HIV Aids.
    While I dont think there is really anything negative about what is being suggested I do question value for money. Would it not be better to take the millions that an ad campaign will cost, and instead spend it on as many individual people as possible who will be with young people+their families no matter what; creating space, listening, challenging, loving etc. etc.?
    Or would it not be better to just forget about the money and go and create these spaces with young people…just because it would be useful for us, them and for sexual health among other things?

  4. This article made me laugh.
    “Prevention
    Improving sex and relationships education, and access to contraception”
    Improving access to contraception for teenagers. Just put a damn condom machine in every toilet in every high school and college across the UK. It doesn’t take a genius to realise this is the most logical thing to do. What ever the government plans to do for me it won’t be most effectively using their money. I think my idea is the best solution available.
    “1. More work on self esteem that enables young people to value themselves as spiritual, emotional, valued people and allows them the strength/space to make decisions (in advance). ”
    Wait… you’re expecting me to value someone who is soo stupid and intellectually challenged as to get unintentionally gets pregnant via consented unprotected sex? Basically you just told me to value the chav scum in this country?
    I think most people have over looked the huge contradiction in this article.
    You’re wanting to reduce the level of teenage pregnancy. So you open a crapload of counselling services and mentoring schemes. Lets make their pregnancy as easy as possible? Easy street is bound to make people think twice.
    OR strip these people of every benefit possible, and give them no support what so ever in other words completely destroy their quality of life. Lets throw in some good old public humiliation too! This would have me scared shitless(so does the current system).
    “It’s really a societal issue (it seems to me) that seems to have de-valued sex to an on demand recreational pursuit rather than a highly valued bond and expression of love, trust and commitment.”
    Ian i think you are way off on this one. Sex in the animal kingdom is purly for procreation thus to stop ones species from ending up extinct. It has no value. It’s pleasurable otherwise no animal would do it. It should be the same for humans except religion has added an unnecessary value to sex and is now grumbling because its lost it’s control on society?

  5. Hey there Anon,
    woa, looks like we disagree quite a lot but thanks for commenting.
    Do you really believe us to be just animals?
    I don’t believe we’ve added something to Sex, I think something has been taken away. Sex is about so much more than procreation and self interest.
    “Religion” (as you call it) isn’t bothered about not being in control BUT is deeply concern about the damage society is doing to itself/young people.
    Christians recognise the value of all human beings and I really dislike your use of the word “scum!” God’s love extends to all from those who come from ‘sink’ estates right through to people who hold right wing views!
    I guess we’re coming from totally different points of view BUT I thought I’d respond. If you would like to continue this conversation can we please do it via e-mail rather than the comments.
    Shalom

  6. “Religion” (as you call it) isn’t bothered about not being in control BUT is deeply concern about the damage society is doing to itself/young people.”
    Islam is a prime example of how religion is damaging society especailly the young people who are being brain washed into thinking that terrorism is the same as a Jihad. Obviously this is an extreame example.
    Catholocism damaged society, when the pope condemed the use of contraception. However despite these things I do appreciate that all religions are beneficial to society through their charitable work.
    I don’t have much to say about Christianity damaging society. It has happened though. Take for example the fighting between Protestants and Non-Protestants in ireland.
    “damage society is doing to itself/young people”. Ian to me this seems as though you arn’t accepting that christianity is just as damaging to society as society is to it’s self!
    “God’s love extends to all from those who come from ‘sink’ estates right through to people who hold right wing views!”
    Where’s the proof? You’ve provided no evidence to back this up. Does it say so in the bible? I believe the Bible is a fraud.
    Please take the time to read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus
    and research more.
    The Bible depicts Jesus as a huge celebrity type figure. Why have the historical writers from the time of Jesus failed to mention him then?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_as_myth
    It’s all interesting stuff. No Jesus, therefore no resurection.

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