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Rise in Teen Pregnancy linked to Peer Pressure in United States

Teenage pregnancy statistics report that a total of 329,797 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a live birth rate of 31.3 per 1,000 women in this age group. America happens to have the highest rate of teenage birth compared to other industrialized states. Many teens, especially boys, feel pressured to be sexually active before they are even ready to take this step.

A survey shows that one in three boys between the ages 7-15 have felt the pressure to have sex by their peers at some point or another. Although teen pregnancy rates have fallen during the last decade but the phenomena still wreaks havoc in the lives of millions of teens. A major reason, peer pressure, still stands strong influencing the rate of teenage pregnancy in the States. The relationship between peer pressure and teenage pregnancy has been a hot-button topic for a long time. The reasons why peers are so easily able to drive teens to do things like be sexually active, drink, smoke etc is that from childhood teens are programmed to listen to their elders. This grows all the more stronger when kids enter their adolescence. They start aping others, making themselves vulnerable to the influences of their peers. They cave in easily to the norms that their peers identify and go with the flow instead of making decisions themselves.

There is a reason why terms like ‘hooking up’, ‘booty calls’ and ‘friends with benefits’ are so common among teenagers. Teens are naturally driven to conform to peer pressure.

The power of peer pressure

Grown-ups often miscalculate or fail to notice the power of influence children have over their peers. This influence becomes even stronger in the child’s teenage. Even as many of us go down the memory lane, we remember going to our friends or older siblings for deeply private and embarrassing questions rather than our well-meaning, more knowledgeable parents.

Teen sex and gender

A survey suggests that 30% of boys are pressurized by their peers to take part in sexual activity. Every so often, it is the male peers who direct this pressure towards other teenagers forcing them to have sex even when they are not ready. 23% of girls feel the same kind of pressure. Boys are much more pressured to engage in sexual activity than girls. They in turn browbeat their female peers to have sexual intercourse.

Fighting the peer influence

To effectively encourage teens to make the right decisions about sex, their relationships and their future, we need to broaden our horizons and expand our strategies. Most of us jump to punishing our teens when they tell you they have tried something wrong. We need to listen what our kid says and there can be alternatives too to conventional punishments. When you punish them, they will not come to you the next time.