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Under 16s pregnancy rate still rising and government have reached the limit of their action

(39 Posts)
beatie Thu 26-May-05 13:52:41

This follows on nicely from the 3 sisters who all got pregnant within a year of each other and how the mother would not take the sole blame.

Guardian - Appeal to Parents on Teenage Birth

Why do you think we have the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe? It must be a wide combination of things. Is it just down to parents not discussing this with their kids? Do we have a higher proportion of people living in 'poor' areas than other European countries?

It seems a bit sad to me that the government cannot find another way to tackle this.

nutcracker Thu 26-May-05 13:57:08

I don't think it has anything to do with being poor or not.

beatie Thu 26-May-05 14:02:26

The article mentions that

"The problem is particularly concentrated in poor areas. In some inner city boroughs more than one in 10 teenage girls becomes pregnant"

I'm questioning whether the population of other European conutries have significantly fewer deprived/poor areas in their countries to account for this or whether there are lots of other factors which make Britain unique?

Here's a more stats based article

northerner Thu 26-May-05 14:06:19

I think it's very much to do with being poor. In many cases it's lack of money, education, aspirations and morals.

Very very sad. And so difficult to break the circle.

beatie Thu 26-May-05 14:09:25

I heard on the radio that the government have spent £40m per year trying to reduce the teen pregnancy rate. I wonder what this money was focused on.

foolysh Thu 26-May-05 14:11:59

How do you define "poor"?
Maybe a better designation would be areas where people feel/could be described as "socially excluded" from mainstream society expectations/aspirations.
(Perhaps) In other words, does Britain (compared to other European countries) have a more unequal society and do those at the bottom "give up" as a result?

I think by most independent standards, Greece, Poland, Portugal are all "poorer" places.

foolysh Thu 26-May-05 14:12:58

When did the govt. start spending that money? How quickly should results have started to appear? For all we know, without spending that money teen pregnancy rates would have been worse...

northerner Thu 26-May-05 14:13:34

Gosh that's an awful lot of money. Would be interesting to find out how it was spent.

I grew up on a tough council estate in Teesside, and there were loads of Teenage Mums in my school and on my estate. There are even more now (my parents still live there) I'm trying to think what it was that prevented me from becoming another stastic, and I think it was the fact that my parents instilled morals into me, and I really did not want for them to be ashamed of me.

nutcracker Thu 26-May-05 14:18:49

How is to do with being poor then ??

beatie Thu 26-May-05 14:18:56

foolysh - I'm not making any particular claims, just reporting what I read and opening a debate about it.

I'm interested in the issue, I don't have pre-formed opinions. Just trying to get my head around things.

hotmama Thu 26-May-05 14:19:43

I don't think that it is necessarily the Govts responsibility it is the parents responsibility to do the groundwork. However, I do think sex education should be compulsory and not just about the birds & bees - all the horrible stuff as well.

I think it may be linked to aspirations etc. Surely, if you felt you had no future or control over how our life was going to turn out and the only thing you could control was your fertility - then you are more likely to get pregnant at the first opportunity - I'm not saying that this is necessarily 'right'. Hopefully, I am not coming over all middle class and patronising - because I am not meaning to - and I don't have any answers!

northerner Thu 26-May-05 14:21:12

Nutty - I think it's beacuse if you live in a more affluent area then the standards of living are ovbiously higher, education often better so therefore the youngsters tend to have more determination and more aspirations. I'm not saying teenage pregnancy doesn't happen in these areas, but just on a much lesser scale.

Pruni Thu 26-May-05 14:23:30

Message withdrawn

nutcracker Thu 26-May-05 14:24:09

Right ok.

Just annoys me a bit that the first thing people say is that it's to do with being poor. We are a poor council estate family but I will be making sure my kids know the facts and that have aspirations to be something or someone.

northerner Thu 26-May-05 14:26:26

Exactly Nutty and that's the difference. That's what made me different from the others on my estate, I am so grateful to my parents for that.

I had my ds at 25, and they all considered me a geriatric mother back home!

nutcracker Thu 26-May-05 14:28:35

I can't believe that mother let her 11 yr old have sex in her house. I would rather chain my dd's to the house than let them do that.

northerner Thu 26-May-05 14:30:52

Me to Nutty.

I remember the peer pressure at school to have sex but it was around 14/15 when I was there, it's ovbiously getting younger and younger now.

nutcracker Thu 26-May-05 14:32:39

Yep and it's frightening i think. I mean I am quite strict with my dd's on a few things and sex will be one of them until I am satisfied they are ready for it. It certainly won't be at 11 or anywhere near there.

beatie Thu 26-May-05 14:32:58

Pruni - things are much different now in that the men find it easier to walk away from the woman and child they have fathered.

I think the fact that 9 out of 10 girls in these deprived areas doesn't get pregnant is something to focus on. I agree that there are many decent families who live in poorer areas - who pass on sound moral values to their children. There is just a higher proportion in these areas than other areas who don't. If that makes sense.

I live in a nicish suburb of a very rundown, densely populated city. On top of the fact that all the senior schools are poor, the teenagers are growing up on top of one another and perhaps come from poorly educated families, I feel there is nothign else for them to do here. There is very little for ME to do here.

I am appalled by the state of the two swimming pools in the city. They are old and scummy beyond belief. Aside from that and one skate park, I'm not sure what there is to do for teenagers in this city. I'd like to see more money spent on youth services and youth workers who work within the core of these communities.

Actually, I lie, one of the schools, which was a failing school, had a lot of money pumped into it and now has a swimming pool and decent sports facilities which are also used by the local community. The results of this school have improved since.

puddle Thu 26-May-05 14:36:39

When I was at school you didn't see pregnant women in the media really. People my age might remember how strange and groundbreaking it seemed when Neneh Cherry appeared pregnant of TOTP and Paula Yates on the Tube. Ironically, given the average age for first time mothers was lower then than now, I related pregnancy to being older, settling down, something I definately didn't want to be identified with.

I don't know whether this is related but one thing that has really struck me recently is how much there is in the celeb magazines about pregnant clebs. Those who breeze through pregnancy looking glamorous and stylish throughout, pop the baby out and then give glowing interviews about how great motherhood is. I think what I am trying to say is that this false idea of motherhood may have become glamorous, fashionable and actually something to aspire to for some young girls, rather than something stemming from a lack of aspiration?

hotmama Thu 26-May-05 14:42:37

Northerner - tbh I think a lot of teenagers do have sex younger than 16 - and telling them not to won't necessarily stop them - surely what is needed is better contraceptive advice! My mum had me when she was 16 in the 1960's - the pill was only available to married women etc.

Case in point - I started seeing my dp when I was 14 and surprisingly did have sex before I was 16 - however I was informed about contraception and went on the pill - and my mum knew - although she didn't approve - but she knew telling me not to have sex wasn't going to work.

My first pregnancy was at 37 and this was planned.

I know contraception doesn't mean that you won't get pregnant but proper use will be more successful then saying don't have sex! IMO

However, there are limits and a mother that allows her 11 year old to have sex should be prosecuted as an unfit mother!

Heathcliffscathy Thu 26-May-05 14:43:39

i think it has much less to do with being poor (we are certainly NOT the poorest european nation by a very long shot) and far more to do with a singularly british prudishness when it comes to sex and sexuality. Sex is behind closed doors and associated with dirtiness in this country in a way that is unique i think.

"Evidence suggests that when there is open discussion of sex in the home young people are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners and use contraception when they do have sex."

sex education absolutely should be compulsory in primary schools, no school should be allowed to opt out (i think they currently are).

parents should talk to their children about sex, about the possible consequences of unprotected sex and about the joy that sex can be, both within and less likely, but still possible outside of committed relationships.

these articles are so sad, not just because to become pregnant when you are still a child is to lose such a crucial time of growing up and learning, but because these statistics say so much about our societies attitude to sex, which i find deeply unhealthy in the main.

i know i'm banging on, and that i banged on on the sex phone line thread too, but i feel so strongly about this...

beatie Thu 26-May-05 14:46:09

Thanks Sophable - that's interesting.

Heathcliffscathy Thu 26-May-05 14:47:01

beatie Thu 26-May-05 14:49:40

So - the government support the view that parents need to discuss sex with their children. How do you implement such a measure?

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