As post-Easter exams approach, Life and Style's Jess Howlett shares her tips on how to remain motivated over EasterWritten by Guest Author on 19th March 2018
Stigma, Shame & Scorn: Why Perceptions of Young Parents need to Change
Life&Style writer Rhiannon Ketteringham argues that the stigma around teen pregnancy has no place in modern society
Amongst the recent rumours surrounding Kylie Jenner, teen pregnancy seems to be a hot topic of conversation. Everyone differs in their opinions over this issue but I for one have noticed much stigmatisation of teenage pregnancy and parenthood on social media, particularly in the past few weeks, something I find somewhat strange considering that for most of our grandparents it was the norm to have children much younger.
“No matter what age you are, you are never completely ready to be a parent and there will never be a ‘perfect’ time to become one
If Kylie Jenner is pregnant, there are very few 20 year olds or even 30 year olds more financially capable of providing for a child. Regardless of whether you love, hate or don’t really care about her, she is a successful, wealthy, business woman who shouldn’t be judged on her emotional capability to support a child. Whilst money isn’t the only factor to consider when raising a child, several people have told me that no matter what age you are, you are never completely ready to be a parent and there will never be a ‘perfect’ time to become one. I know many intelligent, successful women who had children early and then went on to build careers, without needing any career breaks for maternity leave or childcare (which although it shouldn’t, can very easily hinder professional developments). Essentially, I am arguing that the common perception that early or unplanned pregnancies ruin your life is not necessarily true, as every pregnancy comes with their own challenges regardless of age.
“Although the public perception is that teen pregnancy rates are higher than is the reality, it is rather unsurprising that considering a much higher percentage of women are choosing to study at university and are more career focused
As a general trend in the UK, teen pregnancy has reportedly halved in the last 8 years, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that just 2.3% of pregnancies in 2014 were of women ages 15-17, this is the lowest rate it has been since 1969. Although the public perception is that teen pregnancy rates are higher than is the reality, it is rather unsurprising that considering a much higher percentage of women are choosing to study at university and are more career focused, marriage and motherhood often are put on the back burner. Furthermore, with sex education being made compulsory in schools and access to contraception being much improved, there is a reduced chance of teenagers getting pregnant by accident.
There are however many concerns that with government spending cuts affecting 1/6 council’s resources for providing free contraception and funding sexual health clinics, this trend could revert. Another issue is that faith schools are on legally obliged to give sex education as is appropriate to their religion, which means many teenagers may lack relevant information about safe sex and consent. Moreover, there is a concern that young parents have been adversely affecting by these general trends in that now they are more stigmatised and judged. Newsbeat reported that even mothers and fathers in their mid-twenties felt judged for having children and received rude comments about their life decisions as they had young kids. Evidently, continued support and investment not only in sex education and contraceptive services but also in support and guidance for young parents is required to ensure teen pregnancy doesn’t become a bigger national issue.