Oranga Tamariki Report – Normalise Adolescent Sex & Teen Parenting

A disturbing report on teen parenting recently released by Oranga Tamariki has called for adults to “normalise adolescent sex, contraception, and parenting”.

The report also says that “moralistic worldviews and beliefs around unmarried teenage mothers have been criticised by researchers in New Zealand”, and that “adults need to demonstrate that adolescent sex and contraception is a normal part of adolescence, so that all young people can access the best information and support available without fear of stigmatisation.”

This is despite the fact that the report celebrates the steeply declining adolescent birth rate in New Zealand – in line with other English-speaking countries like Australia, the UK and US – and welcome decline in teen abortion rates. The Maori teen birth rate is also dropping but remains disproportionately high accounting for 62% of all teen births in 2017.

Ironically, the report acknowledges that young people are delaying becoming sexually active, and some are using more effective methods of contraception.

Yet this Oranga Tamariki report rails against ‘stigmatising’ teen birth and recommends that adults ‘normalise adolescent sex, contraception, and parenting’.”

It is disturbing that the state agency for strengthening families is pushing a message that will antagonise many families and be contradictory to the message that parents are trying to give their children. It is not about ‘stigmatisation’ or ‘moralistic worldviews’. It’s about what’s best for young people at a crucial period in their life.

The consensus should sit around postponing premature parenthood – not normalising it.

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