When most people are asked why teenage women become pregnant, they respond with something on the lines of, "They become pregnant because they could not control the urge of temptation before getting married." That is not entirely true for most teenage women. In fact the reason most teenage girls become pregnant is because they do not get enough love and attention. They do not have a parent willing or able to talk to them about their lives and to direct them in the right direction. Single parent families are usually in poverty. Teenage women who have only one parent in the house are sometimes neglected all the time because that one parent is out working and trying to support the family. According to Evelyn Lerman in Teen Moms: The Pain and the Promise, the eighty percent of teenage women who become pregnant are in poverty before they become pregnant.

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As a result of their neglect, teenage women might crave love. So, they seek out someone to love, and that someone would be a boy or man to have a loving relationship. The woman intends to spend her life with the guy. They become closer emotionally and physically. The woman feels compelled to invest her body to maintain the relationship and that is where the problems of becoming pregnant begin.

Some teenage women in a loveless household might not feel the need to be loved by a boyfriend. However, without a parent to direct the teenager and set limits, a teenager might be unable to distinguish right from wrong. That is where peer pressure takes hold. Teenagers who are part of the "wrong" crowd of people who smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs, and have sex might be pressured by their peers to follow their routines. Lerman estimates that twenty-five percent of teenagers feel pressured to have sex. The best way to fight peer pressure is to have a strong relationship with a parent, and without a parent to talk to that might be extremely hard if not impossible to fight.

Another form of pressure to have sex comes from television, movies, and other media. Teenagers see these characters in movies and television sleeping around and not getting pregnant; or they hear about the promiscuous lives of singers, actors, models, writers, or sports players, but do not hear about the often-tragic outcome of their sex lives. So, they are given the message that it is not dangerous to have sex with one person, or even more. Teenage girls might also receive the message that it is ok to have sex from another source: their moms. Single mothers who had a child when they were teens, and are now managing their lives might be giving a message to their daughters without even knowing it. Their teen daughters can see that they made it though life even though they had sex so young, and that they [teenage girls] can do it too. Sixty percent of all teens are raised by a single parent (Lerman).

Teenage girls who do not have a father figure in their lives are more likely to favor having a relationship with an older man to compensate. In fact, in a majority of relationships with teenage girls dating older men, the younger the girl the older the man. A big reason for this is that a teenager feels so hip and cool showing off her older boyfriend to all her friends and colleagues. Teenage women may feel a sense of psychological security with an older, fatherly man in their lives. Money can be a reason for dating an older man. Women who are in poverty and want a better and more comfortable lifestyle would gravitate to a man who has big assets. Of course some teenage girls do not care about popularity, security, or money. They just love the person that they are with. They fall in love with their intelligence, background, or kindness. Then the girl begins to have sex with the older man, and becomes pregnant. When this happens, a girl's life can be ruined even more severely compared to getting pregnant with someone around her age. The teenager could be mocked and called such violent words as a "whore" or "tramp". She could lose her reputation, family, and friends. Worst of all she could lose her boyfriend if he were to be sentenced to jail for having sex with a minor or in some cases being forced to choose between her and his wife. All of these outcomes can diminish a teenage girl's self image and well being. Most relationships with older men do not work out because the two people involved eventually realize that they have little or nothing in common.

The Psychological Effects of Teenage Women During Pregnancy
by Sean Powers (September 22, 2002)

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