Title: Our Story: Teenage Mothers on Risk and Protective Factors Influencing Their Resilience Towards Completion of Their Education and Future Goalsetting
Stream: Counselling, Guidance & Adjustment in Education
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Jo Badenhorst, Central University of Technology, South Africa
Rebecca Babedi, Gauteng Department of Education, South Africa
It is widely accepted that the teenage years are challenging because of the changes associated with the transition from childhood to adulthood. Teenage motherhood as a phenomenon is a challenge that is observed globally, and South Africa is no exception. The teenage mother faces challenges such as stigmatization and condemnation – not only in the community but also when she returns to school. In high-risk communities, factors like poverty, socio-economic decline, family instability and lacking social support are likely to affect the young mother’s academic performance and her ability to ‘bounce back’. To this end, the study explored the experiences of four teenage mothers from a high-risk community on the risk and protective factors that influenced their resilience to return to school and meet their educational goals. The ultimate goal was to gain an in-depth understanding of how they cope with their formidable circumstances and successfully reintegrate back into school. In-depth interviews, accompanied by various drawings and self-reflective activities generated rich data. The findings suggest that the most substantial risk factors which could potentially jeopardise the future success of teenage mothers were feelings of rejection, regret, stress, anxiety, and helplessness. Adverse economic conditions, a resource-poor environment and failing social systems – in particular, the school – intensified these feelings. However, potential protective factors that emerged were a strong However, potential protective factors that emerged were a strong will to carve out a better future for themselves and their children, and an anchored home environment that paved the way for a stable temperament, acceptance, assertiveness and ambition – all essential components for goal setting.
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