Members of a society or communities said to be socially excluded are those who are bared of blocked by various factors from enjoying opportunities, resources and rights which are available to other groups of persons in the same society. This paper will cover social exclusion focusing on a group in the community, teenage mothers. Governments try to remedy the problems of social exclusion to various groups in communities through various policies among which include curriculums engaging teenagers and students generally on social exclusion and the best ways to avoid such, financial support to groups that already are considered to be socially excluded, and also through outreach and information. However, the social construction of society makes it harder for such efforts to bare fruits and thus the status quo remains.
Inequality in Society
Social exclusion is a process; complex and multi-dimensional in nature. It may take various form which includes a community of persons or a group of people in a social set up being denied some resources, services or goods. It also goes for the in ability of certain groups of society to participate in normal relations in the society. Generally, it boils down to secluding others from important arenas of normal living that others enjoy including the social, economic and political aspects of life.
Teenage mothers find themselves marginalised or bared from participating in a number of activities that are common among other members of the society. Marginalisation in this case is the exclusion of the group of teenage mothers within a larger society from the normal lifeline of the society whereas non-participation is the prevention of teenage mothers from engaging in a number of activities that their age mates freely engage by the virtue of not having children at an early age.
Impact of Social Exclusion on Teenage Mothers
Social exclusion has huge impacts on any person or groups of persons that are subjected to it. When teenage mothers are socially excluded, its not only the teenage mothers who suffer but also the children born to the teenage mothers. This section of the paper looks at some of the impacts social exclusion of teenage mothers can have.
- Stress is a natural consequence of being cut off from the activities of life that one is used to. Marginalisation or being barred from taking part in certain activities due to a factor such as teenage parenthood inflicts too much stress on the teenagers to the extent that other hardships in life set in as such tender ages; it is hard to manage such like situations.
- Research shows that approximately a third of teenage mothers who suffer social exclusion drop out of school. This is due to the lapse of concentration that they experience. Most of them also feel out of place due to the kind of treatment they get from fellow teenagers from the same institution; making dropping out of school a more attractive option. The end result of this is that most of them leave with little or no qualifications for the period they spent out of school before the time of pregnancy and delivery.
- Even though some of these teenagers may opt to stay in school and carry on with their studies, they are constantly bullied by fellow teenagers in school. This is due to the fact that they are already parents when they are supposed to be in school carrying on with their studies.
- The problems that teenage mothers experience does not only concern their relationship with fellow students but also goes into their studies. These students feel so alone and apart from the bullying that may come their way, their academic performance is also affected a great deal. They pick up numeracy and literacy skills at a slower pace than their counterparts.
- Teenage mothers who have been cut short from the mainstream society socially and economically due to the virtue of being teenage mothers do enter into the labour market at an early age. At this point many of them have no training for the jobs they are going to. This implies that they will only settle for jobs that require little skill associated with low wages. This group of employees can also be exploited in various ways since the social exclusion they are accustomed to could make them feel they are not worthy of any employment rights, they may not even be aware of the rights and may be too desperate for the wages that they would not mind the meagre wages that they are offered.
- Social exclusion has driven many teenage mothers into drug and alcohol abuse. The lonely feeling that most of them have not being involved in normal social relationships or activities their peers engage in leads to other vices as the ultimate escape. Indulging in alcohol and other drugs is appealing to most of them as this makes them forget about their problems and the kind of a lonely life that they are living.
- Teenage motherhood coupled with social exclusion amounts to financial difficulties. When habits like alcohol and drug abuse set in, they lead to addiction and afterwards the teenage mothers will need to support them. This eventually leads to criminal activities and thus trouble with the police. Some of the teenage mothers due to lack of social support end up in jail as one problem builds up to another until the best rehabilitation becomes serving a jail term.
- Social exclusion leads to mental illness. Teenage mothers subjected to social exclusion go through a number of psychological problems; some of them stemming from the teenage pregnancy and compounded by social exclusion.
- Children born to teenage mothers are also affected to a great deal by social exclusion of their parents. They are also likely to be subjected to the same treatment and the probability of financial hardship in their upbringing exposes them to undesirable situations; including teenage pregnancy.
There is need to tackle the problem of social exclusion not only among teenage mothers but also among other groups in the society who are socially marginalised. Among the policies that are recommended to tackle the problem of social exclusion is the social policy (Fronek, P. 2015).
There are a number of ways in which the social policy aims at tackling the problem of social exclusion includes youth participation. Events that bring youths together makes them feel more accepted among themselves. Involving teenage mothers in such events would not feel discriminated against by fellow teenagers or alienated from enjoying whatever fellow teenagers enjoy.
Without empowerment, the exclusion of teenage mothers would continue and perhaps would have greater effects on them. Empowering teenage mothers makes them feel more wanted by the overall society and through this they can get involved in activities that shape their lives for the better.
Lastly, there are certain services that teenage mothers need. Among this include counselling services and healthcare services for themselves and their new born children. Lack of these services make them feel cut off from the society and if these services can be offered to them they can lead normal lives just like any other teenagers.
Generally, the social policy advocates for participation, empowerment and provision of services as the tools in tackling the problem of social exclusion among groups such as teenage mothers.
The social policy however raises some difficulties in as much as it is an attempt to tackle the problem of social exclusion, especially among teenage mothers. This is because of the factors that build upto social exclusion. Just to illustrate, teenagers who become mothers from families with low income are likely to be driven into poverty because of the additional expenses brought to the family as a result of the addition to the family and the expenses incurred. Poverty builds up to deprivation where the teenager will now lack some of the things that many teens do have and this becomes the root reason for their social exclusion. Thus in as much as the social policy attempts to tackle the problem of social seclusion, it can only do so to some extent.
Integrated Services as a Reduction of the Impacts of Social Exclusion of Teenage Mothers
The impact of social exclusion of teenage mothers can be reduced by the means of a number of integrated services. Involving teenage mothers in groups where they are trained on a number of issues that relate to their status aid in making them feel recognized in their status and thus minimize the trauma they might go through without such kinds of group work and training.
Since these teenagers are involved with parenting at such an early age, they tend to shy away from discussing parenting issues especially when around people they fear or they feel would look down upon them. They thus need special counselling on parenting and caring for their children without being ashamed or feeling that others look down upon them simply by being mothers at an early age. They should also be involved in special programs whereby they are accorded space to discuss their own issues as teenage mothers. This will help reduce the impact of social exclusion.
There is need for the teenage mothers to be provided with services and support. Teenagers go through a lot of issues let alone parenting at such an early age. Teenage mothers thus need psychological services which includes regular counselling so as to be able to cope with the mental pressure of not only the possible social exclusion but also of raising up children at a young age. There is also need for support from family members so as to help reduce the impact of social exclusion.
Social exclusion is facilitated by those members of the society who feel that they do not identify to the misfortunes of a group or look down upon a group for their predicament. It is important to raise awareness on such issues, especially on teenage pregnancy and teenage motherhood. Raising awareness on teenage motherhood would make people aware of the challenges that come with it and how to cope with the same. That way, they will be able to accommodate them more freely and thus it will serve as a means of reducing the impacts of social exclusion. Young women will also be educated on how to cope with motherhood at a young age and thus more capable of braving the impacts of social exclusion and live more positive lives.
Lastly, the impacts of social exclusion on teenage mothers can also be reduced through advocacy. In as much as social exclusion is real and teenage mothers are victims, they are citizens like us and the government is making efforts to reach out to them, even though it is hard. There should thus be advocacy carried out to sensitize others on the rights of teenage mothers and advocate for their rights and any other group in the society that may fall prey to social exclusion.
Barriers to Accessing the Integrated Services
The integrated services are recommended for reduction of social exclusion of teenage mothers. However, there are barriers to accessing the integrated services due to a number of reasons. Key is the financial hardships that most of these families go through. Psychological services are sought upon payment of a fee which may seem a secondary need taking into account the needs of parenthood. Further, advocacy requires the intervention of special lobby groups, some of which must be approached by a concerned party or even paid for advocacy purposes.
Stereotypes such as the irresponsibility of teenagers who get pregnant at an early age also do not help the integrated services put in place to reduce the impacts of social exclusion.
To conclude, there are groups of people in the society that are subjected to social exclusion. Among the notable groups include teenage mothers. Government tries to reach out to these groups of people but there are however challenges and the social exclusion still continues. The best way to handle the problem of social exclusion teenage mothers is to provide them with requisite services as outline and to sensitive their families on their needs and the effect of maligning them.
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