Teenage Pregnancy On The Rise In Malaysia
Parents need to realize that they have an enormous influence on their children’s decisions about sex.
If you do the maths, that’s averagely 1,500 cases of teen girls getting pregnant each month or 50 cases a day in the country.
The Global School-based Student Health Survey was conducted across the country in 2012 involving teenagers from the age of 13 to 17. Survey found that 50.4 percent of them admitted to having sex for the first time before reaching the age of 14.
Parent’s Role in All This
When will the government adopt a comprehensive sexual health education program for schools? Until they do, the responsibility rests heavily on us parents to guide and teach them about the birds and the bees.
Parents need to realize that they have an enormous influence on their children’s decisions about sex. Close parent-child relationships and guidance not only help to protect our children from early sex and pregnancy, but also help them avoid risky behaviours, such as violence, substance and alcohol abuse.
Child neglect, social problems, influence from social media, urbanisation, poverty, incest and rape all contribute to teenage pregnancies.
Sadly, the pregnant teenager is made to feel like an outcast and inadequate by everyone, including her family. Our culture and community doesn’t look too kindly on them too. I’m sure all of them have a story behind their actions just like this one that took the social media by storm.
Abstinence or Birth Control?
As parents we need to teach them about the responsibilities of unwanted pregnancy and birth control. It is also important that they are protected from sexually transmitted diseases.
Some parents may champion abstinence more, but I personally think equipping our children with the knowledge of birth control is more effective at reducing unwanted pregnancies. What we fear in teenage pregnancies is greater risks on the baby, including premature death. There is also risk of unsafe abortions and baby dumping.
Of course this does not mean that abstinence is not good. It is! But how much can you shield from them, by abstaining them. They are bound to learn about sex from somebody if it’s not from us parents. And how long can we play chaperon? Some day we all have to let go and trust that they will make the right choices.