Teenage Parents

.. zed why the relationship did not work. Active-behavioral strategies are coping responses in which individual take some type of action to improve their problem situation. For example, a couples problem might get some help from the other people, like a counselor. Avoidance coping strategies are responses that individuals use to keep stressful circumstances out of awareness so they do not have to deal with them. Everything we know about coping suggests that avoidance strategies can be extremely harmful to individuals adjustments when they are used for more than a brief relief from experiencing stress.

For example, of having a marital problems, an avoidance strategy is to simply do nothing about the problem concerns. In another respect, one who make full adjustment to his environments, his social being, and other people is one that who easily relate their experiences, feeling and emotions to the people whom the interact with. Some people say that they share affection in order to gain more or less the same from others and try to get along with them and be able to form close and satisfying relationships with others and believed that when problems are shared they are lighten. Social support of other people is a significant factor in relieving marital stress (Bunk and Janssen, 1987). Moreover, according to Robert L. Khan (1986), there is only one anti-stressors that helps in almost all situations – having a strong system of social support. Friends and family can provide an objective view of problem and they can also give encouraging feedback as couple make progress in learning how to handle stress better.

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Considerable research now indicates that social support reduces or buffers the adverse psychological impact of exposure to stressful life events and on going life strains (Cohenand Wills, 1985.) In addition, acquiring social support can be away of coping with stress caused by the problems and conflicts encountered in everyday life. Ensel and Len (1989) said that if we consider life stress as the aspect of the social environment having a detrimental effect on well-being, then it is reasonable to expect that there are aspects in the social environment that enhance one’s ability either to improve well-being to counter potential adverse effects of life stress. The authors defined social support as the process by which resources in the social structure are brought to bear to meet the functional needs in routine and crisis situations. Zimbardo (1992) adopt a similar concept of social support as referring to the sources others provide, giving the message that one is loved, cared for , esteemed, and connected to other people in a network of communication and mutual obligation. Zimbardo further mentioned that we all cope with stress as individuals, but, for a lifetime of effective coping and for the continued success of our species, it is necessary for as to form alliances with others. Isolation can lead to inadequate coping and can itself be the cause of stress.

Contemporary research shows that being a part of a social support network and living and working in a healthy environment leads to an improvement in coping. RELATED STUDIES However, many discover that getting married was a desperate flight to intimacy and being married becomes a burdensome pressure to escape aloneness and freedom (Lester, 1979 ). This is one of the reasons why many end up in divorce and separation which define the unstable marriage of a couple. Furthermore, the Juvenile Delinquents Court, Quezon City has a record nearly one thousand person who applied for annulment of marriage or legal separation ( Record Book,1975. The main cause of this is early marriage. However, early marriage is not an easy one, it can lead you to problem as a result of stress.

“Marriage is not just an adventure but a lifetime commitment. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution” ( Article 1, Family Code ). Therefore, if you planned to marry be sure and be aware a number of potential problems which are encountered by a marriage couple. According to ( Roberta Flack ), ” Getting married is easy. Staying married is difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime should rank among the fine arts.” Recent studies reveal that one of the most sought changes in a married couple’s life, the birth of their first child, is also a source of major stress, contributing to reduced marital satisfaction ( Cowan and Cowan, 1988 ). Hundreds of studies demonstrate beyond doubt that teenage marriages are high-risk marriage.

A few succeed, most fail. The great dream of happiness and lasting romance disappears under the burdens, monotomy and routine of earning. Cooking, paying bills, housekeeping , caring for children , and being excluded from the teenage groups (Landis, 1977). As seen from statistical studies the optimum age for success in marriage is between ages 21-29 for women and between ages 24-29 for men. (Gilmer, 1977).

Furthermore, a study conducted by Landis (1979) revealed that the younger the person at marriage, the greater the likelihood of failure. Failure runs up to 75% among the younger marriages. Part of the reasons is that young marriages are forced by pregnancy. Some researchers have viewed stress as resulting from exposure to major life changes or life events ( Dohrenwend and Dohrenwend, 1974; Dohrenwend and Shrout others may face complications in giving birth. Newborn children of teenage mothers often have low birth weights and higher than average incidence of serious birth defects. Infant mortality rates are also high among children born to very young mothers (Neubeck,1991).

2) Teenage mothers often do not complete high school, and may live below the poverty level (Atkinson, et al,1990). 3) Teen-age mother’s lack of knowledge of maternal and child health care puts a great strain not only to her and the baby also on her own family who often times carries the burden of caring for pregnant adolescents. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK The family cannot be understood in isolation from the rest of society. It is integrated into the community and culture to which it belongs. What takes place in the family is highly dependent on and related to that which takes place in other aspects of society (Medina, 1991) Today, more and more social scientist and population experts are focusing their attention on the increasing number of teenage pregnancies worldwide.

There is indeed enough cause for such concern. Most of the teenagers who admitted having engaged in premarital sex eventually encountered the problem of pregnancy. Findings of a National Research Council (1987), revealed that teenage pregnancy rate in the United Stated is one of the highest in the world. In 1984 alone, 1 million teenage girls and 10% of all teenage girls in the nation become pregnant. About half had their babies, 13% miscarried, and 40% had abortion (National Research Council, NRC, 1987) . Furthermore the first Interhemispheric Conference on Adolescent Fertility in the Philippines revealed that close to 13 million girls who become married in 1975 where teenagers.

With regards to adolescent fertility situation in the nation, local expert have found the increase in teenage pregnancies in the Philippines (Bernales, 1985). Dreyer (1982) suggest several reasons for early expression of sexual behavior; 1) Adolescents are reaching sexual maturity at younger ages than in previous decades; 2) Knowledge and use of contraception are becoming more wide spread, thus eliminating fears of pregnancy; 3) Adults’ sexual attitudes and behavior are changing; 4) Adolescents consider sexual behavior normal in an intimate relationship (Lefton, 1991). However , the consequences of teenage pregnancy are great. To name a few, these are : 1). The younger the age at which pregnancy occurs, the higher the probability that the mother and child will have serious health problem. Young mothers may face complications in giving birth. Newborn children of teenage mothers often have low birth weights and higher than average incidence of serious birth defects.

Infant mortality rates are also high among children born to very young mothers (Neubeck, 1991). 2). Teenage mothers often do not complete high school, and may live below the poverty levels (Atkinson, et al, 1990). 3). Teenage mothers lack of knowledge of maternal and child health care puts a great strain not only to her and the baby also on her family who often times carries the burden of caring for pregnant adolescents. Teenage marriage is a worldwide phenomenon in which thousands of teenagers make terrible mistakes because of not knowing how to handle adolescents’ emotions.

Some who are misinterpreting their feelings of love leap into premature marriages. Many married couples who opt to stay together may not really be happy. They stay married for the seek of the children, or for religion or financial reasons. But actually they find that they are not really in love at all. Since eros or erotic love is a natural love, as also philia love, (Rosenbaum, 1979), it is natural that when couples spend a lot of times together they begin to think about building a permanent relationship. In the researcher’s observation, many Filipinos marry at young age, usually before reaching the age of twenty.

In rural areas, teenage marriages occur as early as thirteen years old because of lack of opportunities to pursue other activities like going to school that can divert the attention of young people towards the powerful stimulation of sex and the attraction of the opposite sex. Burchinal, (1977), has done a great deal of research on young marriages. Young marriages are arbitrarily defined as those entered at under 19 years of age. Individuals who select a mate in the younger age groups have certain characteristics that distinguish from the older group. Burchinal found that early marriages: 1). Usually involve young girls and their slightly older husbands.

2). Involve premarital pregnancies in between approximately one third to one half of all cases. 3). Disproportionately involve persons with lower or working class backgrounds. Another studies of young marriages indicates that girls who marry young are emotionally less stable than those who marry later and they have less satisfactory relationships with their parental families.

Burchinal suggests that the rates of young marriage may go down in the near future. He thinks if possible that increasingly greater value attached to extending education will have an impact on young marriages: “Increased school and post-high school attendance should be associated with a reduction in young marriage rates. Among 17-year-olds, schooled dropout rates declined from 32% in 1950 to 24% in 1960.” But while marriage frequently leads to ending formal education if the individuals are in high school it is much less apt to have the same negative effect when the couple are older and in college. There is some evidence to support Burnichal’s contention. Parke and Glick show that 23% of all the women who were 30 to 34 years of age had married before 18.

” The rate of early teenage marriages is successively smaller for each younger group of women. Only 15% of all the women who are currently 18 and 19 years old married before age 18.” However ,there are variations in age at marriage related to certain social variables. For example, early marriage has a strong attraction for some young people. Some see early marriage as the best means to achieve adult status and related privileges. It is also seen as providing a daily and nightly partner “who serves to reduce the psychological cost extracted from the alone individual by the mobility-achievement system which pervades much of our society.” In other words, early marriage is seen by many as providing them with a ” significant other at a time when they have a strong need for that type of relationships.” As suggested earlier, there are also possible negative consequences to early marriage.

The earlier the marriage the more apt it is to be dissolved by the couple. Also, the earlier the marriage, the more likely it is to be characterized by negative effects. Very often the question of success or failure in a marriage may be less determined by chronological age than by personal and social maturity. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Marriage involves critical planning. Any action taken may result with gains and losses.

If the partners are indifferent towards the factors that contribute to success, their marriage will become worthless. But if the factors are given priority, they will gain a meaningful marriage. Early marriage below twenty years old, may be considered as an offshoot to some factors such as emotional, financial, religion, age, and educational attainment. This study assumes that families of today are endangered and reason for this phenomenon is the rapid change in society norms and conditions caused by urbanization and industrialization (Medina, 1991). As a result, the family is encountering new and more complex stressors as compared to the stressors faced by the family of yesterday.

Following this concept, the reaserchers in this study has identified three stressors namely: Financial factors, psychological factors, and social factors. Financial refers to insufficient income/earnings not enough to sustain the needs of the family. Financial difficulties are usually handled by couples through budgetting or borrowing money usually from relatives and close friends (Leslie, 1980). Psychological refers to the negative perception or interpretation o fthings of events. It may be either frustration or conflict (Sferra, 1961).

In this study, it involves emotional-refers to negative affect of feelings; behavioral-refers to negative acts or behavior; and cognitive-refers to negative thinking and perceiving. Social, pertaining to man as living to society (Webster Dictionary, 1967) As used in this study, it refers to the interaction of teenage man and woman with other people or friends. Coping strategies are the means of dealing with the perceived threat of various types of stressors. A person cannot avoid stress but he can learn to cope with it. There are two main types of coping identified in this study.

These are negative and positive coping approaches. Positive coping is confronting the problems through positive action or through realistic problem-solving activities. Negative coping is confronting the problems through negative action. The concept of this paper is illustrated in the schematic diagram, below.