The rate of teenage pregnancy in Canada has decreased over the last few decades, and reached an all-time low, according to Lisa Strohschein, a sociology professor at the University of Alberta.
Strohschein visited Western University on Friday to speak about the lack of discussion on teen pregnancies over the past few years.
The rate of teen pregnancy in Canada has dropped over 50% since 1996. Strohschein believes the drop is caused by more open-minded education and a greater use of contraception.
Strohschein suggests the rise of several related issues including the opioid crisis, and the growing cases of STIs within the youth population are reasons for the lack of conversation regarding teen pregnancy.
Outcomes for teen parents could include:
- Lower education
- Lower earnings
- Relationship instability
- Poor parenting habits
- Worse mental and physical health
The children of teen parents could:
- Develop health issues at a young age
- Experience behavioural issues
- Are more likely to become teen parents themselves
Marriage amongst teen couples has decreased over 60% in the last 20 years.
Strohschein also shares that young women may want to become mothers at a young age to seek fulfillment and purpose in raising a baby of their own.
Media also plays a major role in ‘glorifying’ teen pregnancy. Reality shows such as 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom showcase young mothers and their daily struggles. To the audience, it’s entertainment but for the mothers, it’s an on-going battle.
Strohschein recognizes the media’s influence:
“I think social media [expresses] that becoming a mother is such a fulfilling thing. We see all these celebrities showing off their babies, but their lifestyles are completely different, and the realities are just not the same as what happens when women become mothers at an early age.”
Although the rate of teen pregnancy has decreased, Strohschein says the issue will remain for a long time due to the ‘cycle of disadvantage,’ the idea that children of teen parents are more likely to become teen parents themselves.
To stop the cycle, more social and governmental support is needed to assist teens with their struggles regarding education, future plans or life in general.
Photo source: Mom Junction