Providing conducive environment for teenage mothers

Many girls are now going back to school after giving birth as a result of teenage pregnancy.Picture:Deborah Oluoko
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Becoming a parent at any age can be a life altering experience. Regardless of race, education, socio-economic status motherhood and fatherhood uniformly places demands on one’s life that were non-existent prior to the child birth.

Education being of vital importance and a main aspect of human security and a means of empowerment in the modern day world, girls aged between 13 and 17 continue to dropout of schools due to the pressures they experience including stigmatization associated with early parenting, isolation from peers and lack of needed support from parents, friends and schools.

Socio- economic outcomes have been the traditional focus of research on teenage parents often findings of a negative impact on employment and earning, however education and help mitigate these negative outcome on the girl child.

In most cases teenage mothers result into dropping out of school and even going into early marriages because of their predicaments instead of going back to school after child birth.

Back to school

This not being the obvious case in most instances, some teenagers are willing and parents advocate for going back to school even after child birth.

However, teenagers often cite school related reasons hindering their school attainment and  for dropping out such as rigidity by school administrations, lack of adequate leave for teen parents to complete their general parental and or child responsibility and jeers and seclusion by fellow students who now view  and treat you differently.

School administration should ensure that a supportive and a well-organized school environment can serve as inducements to teenage mothers and help them continue with their education peacefully.

Having in mind that supporting a teen mother academically may be the step that will help them in gaining education and skills they will need for a successful life and their children and avert the rate of dependency and poverty.

In as much as schools are busy teaching about abstinence and reproductive health issues in schools, there should be measures put in place to welcome a young mother when she decides to continue with her studies after the maternity leave.

Psychosocial support

Teachers should understand the emotional feeling of the new mother and students should also understand that one can face with the same predicament as their fellow student.

It is discouraging to note that girls are the ones that always bear the brunt of carrying the burden of early motherhood with the responsible partner continuing with their education peacefully, this affirms that even in the 21stCentuary freedom, rights and power of women is still disadvantage when compared to men in virtually all aspects of life.

A positive minded teenage parent reevaluates their focus and education attainment goals when they become pregnant, regardless of their earlier attitudes. Indicators show improved grades a resolve to graduate and new interest in further education.

Conducive learning environments for teenage mothers help them reinforce their interest in education.

Benefits of conducive learning environment

But it is an instrument in helping them to see how education would help them improve and provide a better future for themselves and their children, increase their employment possibilities and help them avoid over dependency on the public and family.

Although some school personnel believe that being a teen mom will limit the students educational attainment this is contrasted in researches showing that teen mothers and their parents that the effects of the pregnancy were short term and limited and that the girl can resume her studies as earlier and lead a normal life just like any other girl her age.

After all no girl expects their pregnancies or the fact of being a mother to interfere substantially with their education or chances of employment.

Policy makers should include working with an understanding of how teen mothers see themselves and how they see their own role in the success of the school.

Focusing on teenage parents only as a welfare recipients or students with low academic achievements limits that broader way one can think about education attainment.

In order to avert the myth and stereotypes that Africa is wallowing in endless poverty and over dependence on international aid for survival, stakeholders should ensure that girls complete their education even after giving birth to enable them secure well paying employment for their betterment and the society at large.

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