Teen pregnancy: so often a dirty secret, a source of shame, and often times a contributing factor in the sometimes negative shift in family dynamics. The topic of sex education is a pertinent one. It makes teachers uncomfortable, and it makes the students giggle out of awkwardness and sheer embarrassment. It’s no wonder, then, that we have teens blindly following the whims of their hormones and in worse case scenarios, finding themselves pregnant. There have always been high rates of teen pregnancies, but in the last year or so, those rates have dropped. In fact, “The National Center for Health Statistics says the teen birthrate fell to 39.1 births per 1,000 teenagers ages 15 to 19 in 2009. That’s a 6% drop from 2008.”
That’s great news, and I would like to think it’s a direct result of parents talking more candidly with their kids, our school systems being less afraid of teaching the subject of reproduction, and teens being more responsible with their actions and reactions relating to their hormones. However true some those speculations may be, some of the decline is ironically being directly attributed to shows like MTV’s 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. Part of the decline may also be due to the recession, as there’s an overall drop in birth rates across the board; there are also those that theorize the drop being a direct result of abstinence-only education (I think of Bristol Palin and wonder how accurate this theory really is!). Regardless of the actual causation, the rates are lower, which is definitely a good thing!
So, be it the influx of reality television shows, known for parading other people’s trials and tribulations on a nationally viewed stage (your television) acting as a contributing factor, the recession, or abstinence, it’s a good reminder to cross your T’s and dot your I’s, so to speak. The old adage “no glove, no love” is apropos…all the time, because there really is no shame in protecting oneself from disease or from pregnancy.