Are teens likely to get pregnant if sister was a teen mom?

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, explains how teen girls are much more likely to get pregnant if their sister was a teen mom and how parents can help to avoid it
Are Girls More Likely To Get Pregnant If Sister Was A Teen Mom
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Are teens likely to get pregnant if sister was a teen mom?

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Teenage girls are from 4 - 6 times likelier to become a teen mom if their older sister is already a teen mother. And in the Latin-American community where sibling bonds are very close, that figure jumps to a ten-fold increase and risk. Now, there are a few reasons for this. One of them is that what you've seen in your household becomes more acceptable simply because you've experienced it and have become habituated to it. So while becoming a teen mother might be unthinkable to a lot of girls, when they've witnessed their older sister go through it, it becomes a little more imaginable. Secondly though, there's a lot of paradoxical positive attention that comes to a teenage girl when she becomes a teen mother. Her parents, who may be angry at her for having been a little bit careless with her sexual partners or sexual choices, nonetheless are grandparents for the first time and they're gonna swoon over the new baby in spite themselves, and this is especially the case with the mother. Also, the teen mother is doing what feels glamorous to a younger sister. She's taking on a lot of adult responsibilities, she's having very adult conversations. That is very grown up and it seems worth emulating. One of the good things is that younger sisters may also de-identify. They may see the choices that an older sister has made and say, "She's the teen mom in this household, I'm gonna be the academic or I'm gonna be the one who gets involved in sports." And often, one of the studies I cite in my book found that when teenage girls avoid becoming a mother after their older sister has, it's not because they've just luckily dodged the bullet; it's because they made a conscious choice to avoid it.

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, explains how teen girls are much more likely to get pregnant if their sister was a teen mom and how parents can help to avoid it

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Jeffrey Kluger

Science Journalist & Author

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer at Time magazine, covering science, health and other fields. He is the coauthor, along with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Apollo 13, the book that served as the basis of the 1995 movie. His more-recent release, Splendid Solution, told the story of Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine.  His novel, Nacky Patcher and the Curse of the Dry-Land Boats, was published in June 2007, and his newest nonfiction book, Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex, was published in June 2008.

Before coming to Time, Kluger worked for Discover magazine, where he was a senior editor and humor columnist. Prior to that, he was health editor at Family Circle magazine, story editor at The New York Times Business World Magazine, and Associate Editor at Science Digest magazine. His features and columns have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Omni, McCall's, New York Magazine, The New York Post, Newsday, and, of course, Time. He has worked as an adjunct instructor in the graduate journalism program at New York University; is a licensed—though non-practicing—attorney; and is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He lives in New York City with his wife Alejandra and their daughters, Elisa and Paloma.

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