Recently, a study published in the American Sociological Review indicated that young women have babies in a “contagious” manner. Published on May 29, the study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States and tracked the childbearing behaviors of 1,700 women from the age of 15 to the age of 30.
The average age at first birth for women in the study was just over 27-years-old. There was an extremely high level of synchronicity in childbearing and apparently fertility among women that knew each other in high school
For more information about this article and research study, click here.
These new findings are somewhat alarming because teen pregnancy in the United States is still an issue. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the teen birth rate in the US has hit an all-time low, but it is still double that of 20 other industrialized nations.
How can we combat the “group think” that this new research study has uncovered? The answer is education. We need to empower our young people to make educated decisions based on knowledge and facts, not emotions. We don’t want to scare students into not wanting children at all, but understand all of the aspects that they need to consider. We want to give them the tools and resources for answering that important question: When is the right time for me to have a child?
The internet is full of websites and articles touting advice on the best time to have a baby. This article recommends looking at expectations, values, family history, and how your life could change.
The lesson plans in Realityworks‘ RealCare curricula are also full of good information to help students with the choices they will need to make on parenting. Specifically, the Understanding Pregnancy curriculum take students through an extensive exercise wherein they identify their goals and values, asking themselves how pregnancy would impact these plans. The RealCare curricula includes a lesson on the cost of having a baby. Students research the realistic financial impact of having a child as a teen and discover that they are not ready.
Here are six areas of personal readiness your students should consider:
- Relationship Readiness
- Financial Readiness
- Emotional Readiness
- Social Readiness
- Intellectual Readiness
- Physical Readiness
How do you educate your own students to make informed decisions regarding sexual activity?