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TEENAGE SINGLE MOTHERS

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Incidences of depression and mental health problems in children of teenage single mothers are much greater than of children born to traditional families. The high rate of poverty and the lack of a father figure in the lives of children of teenage single mothers put these children at a serious disadvantage in society and at great risk of continuing the cycle.

Children of teenage single mothers also experience serious self-esteem problems that lead to a variety of social difficulties. There are some studies that show a direct correlation between children raised by teenage single mothers and crime. Children raised by teenage single mothers are also more likely to live in poverty in their adult lives.

While there are studies that show that children can grow up emotionally stable in single mother families, there is evidence that teenage single mothers are not successful in creating a nurturing, stable environment that can compensate for the lack of a father figure in the home. Females growing up in a home without structure or stability, that also lacks a father figure, are more likely to have premarital sex and become teenage single mothers themselves. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty and underachievement.

Male children growing up in a home without structure or stability, that also lacks a father figure, are more likely to choose negative activities and associates. They are also more likely to grow up with disrespect for women and a lack of maturity. These teenage boys are more likely, in turn, to become absent teenage fathers.

Teenage single mothers rely on various government welfare programs, public housing and Medicaid. These teenaged mothers have rarely finished high school and have no skills that are marketable in the workplace. With the implementation of stricter welfare rules, requiring that welfare recipients attend training for work placement, some of these women will have a chance at creating a more secure financial future for themselves and their children. However, the chances that these women will ever be able to live completely independent of government programs are slim. In order to successfully wean these families from government assistance, greater access to educational assistance, daycare and counseling is needed.

It is also imperative that greater emphasis is put on the issues of teenage single mothers before the teen becomes pregnant. Ignorance of the basic methods of birth control and sexually transmitted diseases must be dealt with. Sex education classes in schools are now focusing on preventing pregnancy. Parenting classes are available to teach teenagers the basics of parenting.

Teenage pregnancies hold consequences for society as a whole. It is up to society as a whole to work to solve this issue.



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