Shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom bring lots of controversy to TV. Some parents and groups think that it glamorizes teen pregnancy and others think it helps to prevent it.
I am a huge fan of these shows. I have watched every season from season 1, of both shows. I tend to lean more on the side that this show does help to prevent teen pregnancy. While the show doesn’t always show how hard it is to be a teen mom and there seems to be lots more drama as the seasons grow on, I think it sends more of a positive message then negative one.
I was a teen mom.
I found out I was pregnant in May, on my 17th birthday. I was tired all the time, I couldn’t keep my eyes open in class and was so nauseous. I refused to go to school and was finally able to convince my mom to let me finish the last month of school on independent study. I got my workbooks and in between sleeping and vomiting I would do my work. I think I also did independent study during the summer, but I can’t remember. I know once school started again in August I didn’t go back to my high school, while I had the option to go there, I decided I wanted to go to school with all the other pregnant girls.
I walked in on my first day and was SHOCKED that I knew half the classroom! People I was friends with socially the year before and even a girl I went to middle school with were there. There was about 10-15 of us at any time. The school turned out to be a great match. They taught you how to cook, about being pregnant, how to care for a baby, and also did regular school work to stay on track for graduation. I had my son in January and took a few weeks off school. When I went back I decided I would do in independent study/night school so I could be with my son. It worked for a few weeks and I ended up hating it. I was lucky enough to get free daycare from the school and went back to school with the pregnant girls. Luckily I was on track to graduate on time and I did. I didn’t graduate in June because the school messed up on my credits and I still needed one science class. I took that over the summer and graduated in august. I was officially done with high school!
I was 18 by the time I graduated and moved in with my son’s dad. He was never very responsible on keeping a job so we always had to rely on family to help with food, clothes, and diapers for my son. We had a great support system, which lots of teen moms DON’T have and I am blessed/thankful for that!
I took a year+ off school and stayed with my son. I finally got tired of doing nothing with my life and enrolled in a trade school where I got a medical billing and coding certificate. I took night classes so my mother in law could watch my son and finished in a year. I got out of school and found a job a month later. I was blessed because it was a great job and also paid great too! I got out of school and was making 30K a year + benefits. How many 19 yr olds with kids do you know making that kind of money? (I know 30K a year isn’t a lot, but it was good money at the time). My career opportunities kept growing over the years, until I made the decision to stop working.
The relationship I had with my son’s dad was never good and should have ended years before it did, but we held on because of our son. Walking away from that relationship was one of the best things I ever did.
Becoming a teen parent made me become responsible. It opened my eyes and made me see that I have to make choices that are in the best interest of my son, not just myself. I know this doesn’t happen with all teen parents though. It’s hard and unless you have a great support system you are going to struggle. There are tons of programs to help though. Ways to get free child care, food stamps, health insurance, and rent assistance. You have to look at all your options and use them. When I see people on shows like teen mom not finishing school it pains me. There is no reason they shouldn’t finish. Half the time they complain that they don’t want to leave their kid in daycare. I never liked leaving my son in daycare, but I did it because I knew an education would give him a better life and it did. Working at McDonald’s my whole life wasn’t going to be an option for me.
To the girls who think having a baby will give them someone who loves them are misinformed. Babies are needy! They take all your time, energy, and money and give you nothing back in return. They aren’t going to give you the love you are looking for…
Statistics say that kids born to teen moms are likely to repeat the process. I can only pray and educate my son so the same thing doesn’t happen to him.
I’ve also heard people say that giving kids information on birth control encourages them to have sex. I am here to inform you that is not true. Kids are going to do it weather you give them birth control or not. Wouldn’t you rather have your kid using protection? I remember asking my mom to go on the pill and she said No, because she didn’t want me having sex….
Parents – you need to have “the talk” with your kids. Educate them! Don’t leave it up to the schools to do. Inform them of the consequences of sex, about STDs, and birth control. I know that talk is uncomfortable, but it has to get done. If your daughter is sexually active put her on the pill. I am dreading the day I have to have “the talk” with my kids or the day that they come home asking for birth control, but from my experience (from me and people I knew growing up), they are going to do it weather you like it or not. It’s better to have an open relationship with them and the more you inform them about it, the less likely they are to do it. Communication is key!
What are your thoughts on shows like Teen Mom? Would you let your teenagers watch them? Why or Why not? Would you put your kids on birth control? I am always open for a friendly discussion!