The teen “Pregnancy Pact” controversy continues with an article in USA Today. For generations adults have tired to figure out and then put a stop to teen pregnancy. Everyone has someone to blame. It might be those who encourage birth control or no birth control options or the media and Hollywood stars or neglectful parents or the model of parents who got pregnant themselves as teens.
I think the blame game is a waste of time. The reality is we need to understand what teens need in order to understand why a “pregnancy pact” like this even got started.
Teens need what I call the “4 Basic B’s” as they move through adolescence.
1st basic need is:
Teens need to understand why their bodies are changing and what they can do with their bodies.
2nd basic need is:
Teens are looking for a sense of belonging, so they want to know where they ‘fit’. That is why they crave peer groups.
3rd basic need is:
Teens are deciding what they are going to become. Their sense of identity is extremely important as it helps them accept who they are in relation to others.
4th basic need is:
For teens, breaking away from their parents feels like a necessity rather than just a preference.
Knowing the 4 Basic B’s of teens explains why they would want to make a ‘pregnancy pact’. Getting pregnant can mean that kids can get all 4 of these basic needs met. Teens can use their bodies in the ultimate adult way, becoming impregnated.
Teens can get the sense of belonging by joining a group who are all doing the same thing. By becoming a pregnant mom they can discover who they will become, basically someone’s mom.
And lastly, the rationale teens can have is that this will clinch their chances of breaking away from their own parents’ as they will have the seeming freedom of being out on their own as parents themselves.
None of this rationale is correct of course, but that doesn’t always matter to the teens that are desperately trying to get these 4 basic needs met.
So parents listen up. Know and respect what your teens need to discover about themselves and teach them ways to get the 4 B’s without getting pregnant, Dr. Ann.