Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not a Record to be Proud Of

Not so long ago I predicted a "bumper" crop of teeange pregnancies at one of Thanet's secondary schools and today, I see the Thanet Times is running a front page story that the Island has more than any other spot in Kent. From 2002 - 2004 there were 71 under-sixteen pregnancies and 356 under-eighteens.

When the 2004 - 2006 figures emerge the results could be equally worrying and once again, the results are concentrated in a couple of key wards, the most deprived in Thanet.

To achieve these figures suggests a catalogue of failure at different levels of responsibility in our community and there's no end in sight and no answer either to a cycle of deprivation which will carry-on to another generation with the results visible in the growing special needs requirements of local schools.

Experts say the problem stems from deprivation, numbers of children in care, young offenders on the isle and the number of teens who have no ambition.

Despite topping the tables for under-18s and under-16s becoming pregnant, Ruth Herron, of Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership, says the numbers are coming down. She said: "The problem is linked with young people who have no aspirations or opportunities. There is a huge amount of work being done in schools to tackle this problem."

Every town has its problem but I'd prefer that Thanet, with so many other problems, wasn't top in this category of despair.

12 comments:

Michael Child said...

We are inclined to forget that our most famous lovers Romeo and Juliet were engaged in what today is called under age sex. I am told by some young people that they are put off from gaining adequate contraception as the believe that at the family planning clinic they will have to undergo an intimate examination called a cervical smear before they can get contraception. I have also discovered that some doctors will not prescribe condoms as intermediate protection while contraception is being arranged. I am trying to work out a suitable Latin quotation appropriate to anyone not wishing to be smeared in this way, as they have started appearing on Simon’s blog but my Latin is not what it was, here are a few ideas, but I could really do with some help. Illegitimi nil carborundum. Non illegitimi carborundum. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Anonymous said...

The answer from the PC brigade to reduce teenage pregnancies and VD, sorry, STDs, has always been " more education in schools". The evidence seems to indicate that more sex education leads to more under-age sex. The data does not indicate wether these pregnancies went to term or were terminated. What is the picture in respect of STDs and abortions in Thanet's young?
I wonder if the muslim communities in similar deprived circumstances suffer the same teenage pregnancy problem or is it a case of tighter family supervision in the vein of "lock up your daughters" and a sense of shame and letting down the family name that prevents the problems. In other words it is not deprivation and poverty but poor parenting allied to poor morals that is the problem.

Michael Child said...

We are always a little bit worried about these anonymous posts – I mean after all people who can’t quite face up to who they are and who’s Latin and English begs certain questions but my brighter teenagers have suggested that we repost this as it really is.
The answer from the PC brigade to reduce teenage pregnancies and VD, sorry, STDs, has always been " more education in schools". The evidence seems to indicate that more sex education leads to more under-age sex. The data does not indicate castrated ram these pregnancies went to term or were terminated. What is the picture in respect of STDs and abortions in Thanet's young?
I wonder if the muslim communities in similar deprived circumstances suffer the same teenage pregnancy problem or is it a case of tighter family supervision in the vein of "lock up your daughters" and a sense of shame and letting down the family name that prevents the problems. In other words it is not deprivation and poverty but poor parenting allied to poor morals that is the problem.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I think question of teenage prenancies is a pretty hard nut to crack unless we live under sharia law as the previous contributor could be suggesting.
There is the fact that children age quicker, If you compare 1950's children to todays children they are completely different. Todays youth are far more confident than 1950's youth. They also mature quicker biologicaly for example my teenage son is bigger than me and at 15 he looks 18 when in fact he is a child in a mans body. Some Girls are wearing bras at 11.
I personaly think our consumer society doesn't help as it leads youth into thinking they are adults when they are not.For example they can smoke, pay adult fares, find employment, get a bank account all at sixteen.They are also educated better than 1950's youth and are better informed thanks to the internet which is not a bad thing, but at the end of the day they think they are adults when they are not. If these figures were 1950's statistics they would be dreadful but what we have today is a casualty of the modern world. Just remember even tunbridge wells has teenage pregnancies.

DrMoores said...

Tunbridge Wells has its own sink estates as well but one can't easily blame the problem on maturity. Children matured very quickly in the 19th century too, it depends on the upbringing and the environment, The fundamental problem appears to me that children are treated as adults and marketing opportunities at too early an age and many of their parents are children too. Consequently, the cycle continues and expands.

Anonymous said...

The fundamental problem appears to me that children are treated as adults and marketing opportunities at too early an age and many of their parents are children too. Consequently, the cycle continues and expands.

I would also add that the belief that the State will always provide is an added incentive to these people.

Castrated Ram said...

Thank you Mr Child for your collective thoughtful correction of the missing 'h'. I find it odd that pedants still manage to irritate me. Please, Sir, would you explain why you are worried about anonymous posts?

Anonymous said...

Dear 'Castrated Ram', whilst Michael's team of brighter teenagers have looked at 'wether' and whether, they failed to correct your 'data'. To the true pedant, data is of course the plural of datum despite the fact that the Oxford English Dictionary would indicate that the use of data as a singular word has become accepted usage in the sense of a collective noun. Your sentence using data, should to the pedant, read as follows: 'the data do not' and not 'data does not'. I would suggest you get a grip of things but of course you've lost them!

Michael Child said...

First in answer to castrated ram, this is a very important issue to my teenage children and their friends, they were very concerned to try and understand what you and the other people leaving comments were trying to express. I was disabled as a child, so unlike them I didn’t have a conventional education and rely heavily on spell checkers, meaning they are always pointing out my castrated rams to me. My apologies for the pedantry, but it will mean that most of their contemporaries will read this dialogue, which may even save a few teenage pregnancies and is well worth ruffling you feathers for, I am sure you will agree. As for anonymity it’s a catch 22 situation to try and explain.
On the more serious issue, amongst the current lot of Thanet teens that I know the youngest any of them has given birth, was at the age of 10, didn’t know what she was doing, didn’t know she was pregnant. Thinking back to my own 50s and early 60s childhood, I don’t think that the bicycle shed brigade had much to do with the quality of parenting. The Scandinavian countries, that seem to have the best records on this, have very early and detailed sex education. As far as I remember in this country, any male over the age of 14 who has any sort of sexual relationship with any girl under the age of 16, is committing a crime. And I don’t suppose any one under 16 asking for contraception is going to find the ensuing kafuffle easy to handle, in fact they all seem to know it’s best not to mention it to many adults. Since a very large proportion of teens are having sexual relationships and seem to have been since Shakespeare’s time or even biblical times, its not that likely to stop. In view of aids, not allowing them free easy access to condoms is tantamount to genocide, or put more mildly as a solution to solving the various youth problems it could be seen as a bit extreme. In the swinging 60s one of my contemporaries, who had an illegitimate child at the age of 19 was made a ward of court by her parents, the child was taken away form her and put up for adoption. 20 years later, when the child had grown up and decided to find he mother, she was quite surprised to find both her parents had been happily married for 18 years and that she had siblings. Before abortion became legal I suspect that most teenage pregnancies were terminated illegally, so it would be impossible to find out what the situation was like. The fundamental problem is when you have impossible legislation the victims are unable to resolve the problems, thinking back to your own youth, can you in all honesty say, that were you female, if you are not, there would have been no circumstances in which you might not have got pregnant. If the answer is that you could have got pregnant, how many adults could you have told? Back in the good old days of course people did the decent thing.

Wether said...

Apologies accepted Michael. You make a number of serious points and I am delighted your youngsters are reading the comments and joining in! Perhaps our entire perspective about early teenage pregnancy is wrong. We should celebrate and nurture all new life and the mothers responsible and give them far more support than we do.

Anonymous said...

Anon Again!

I prefer to remain fairly annonymous, thanks.
As per usual, there is NO-'0' deterrent to stop these prolates from breeding. There is no respect shown for each other in Britain.(that, is taught in Scandinavia).
The 'chav' society is taking over with the 'ignorant' way of life, whether they are crossing a road, or humping in the Classroom.
What IS the deterrent needed?
SELF CONTROL. This should be taught from pre-school age (by Parents, Ha) and throughout their School years, by responsible Teachers!

Michael Child said...

The problems for today’s youth that partly stem from the fact that those under 18 are sort of non-people, they can normally expect no benefit and no housing when things go wrong. The problem could be summarised as sex and drugs and rock and roll, with the adults around them hiding behind, taboo, illegality and what a horrible noise. The answers perhaps are protection, informed understanding, and if it’s too difficult for me to play there may be something in it, could possibly be a constructive start. With sex, AIDS has made the stakes completely different to when I was a youth. With drugs, if you were lucky as a youth you will have survived into adulthood without some permanent addiction to something either illegal or not i.e. junky or alcoholic. Like sex much is in your jeans. However Ecstasy, a drug that enhances sexual experience, is also relatively new, and must add to their problems. As for many of the youth of today, bereft of a satisfactory community of which they are a part, rather like the early Christians who were accused of eating babies and thrown to the lions, they appear to form groups where their music is their liturgy and drugs their sacrament. The illegality of the drugs and the weirdness of their music only enhancing the attraction. Unfortunately, is that the right word, because drugs are a very effective sacrament indeed and anything that alters ones perception of reality, without one putting in a lot of hard work, is probably ultimately damaging, any solutions are hard to find. Persecution is a peculiar thing, Christianity flourished, England’s stately homos are no longer writing De Profundis in Reading Jail. It would seem that trying to solve many of the problems of our youth by legislation, litigation and incarceration or separation and hostelisation, is in fact persecution. “Something was dead in each of us, And what was dead was hope.” The Ballad of Reading Jail (1898) Wether thanks for you understanding, its good to be able to identify you too, a battle scar bravely won?