I was recently on my drive to work listening to my local radio show, when they had a small segment on teen mothers. One of the local dj’s had the audacity to say that it was okay in his eyes to become a mother at 16. I was highly disturbed at this new trend. I’ve read the statistics, I know that the number of young mothers is going down. And yet, I continue to read about teenagers making “pregnancy pacts”, and young girls talking about wanting to have a child for that unconditional love.
I wish they would get tougher with these girls. I wish Hollywood would stop glamorizing young stars who have children so young. It is sending signals in a very loud way that its okay. And it shouldn’t be. These children, and yes, I do still consider them children need to stay young while they can. Not out there trying to raise a baby while still babies themselves. Most, and I say most, not all, of these young mothers will not finish high school, let alone get their GED. They will end up on welfare, where once in, its very hard to work your way out of. They come to depend on others to help them raise their child, as they were yet not taught how to do this.
I can say that having my first child at 19 was quite a wake up call for me, I cannot imagine what it would have been like at 16. At least I was not only graduated, but I held a full time job, and I was able to quickly mature more than I already had. The babies of these young girls have such a disadvantage right from conception.
First off, a 16 year old is not yet fully grown, therefor her body isn’t quite ready for that change of growing a child. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to suffer from lower birth weights than not, which leads to more medical problems down the road. Secondly a teenager is still not in control of those emotions, imagine her having to wake up with a baby at 2 am. She doesn’t know how to do the simple things we older mothers don’t think twice about. Most aren’t able to handle the crying for no reason, the need by a baby to just be held. They aren’t able to understand these things. In result, they tend to act out. Whether its in anger, yelling at the baby, shaking the baby, or worse. Or, they simply ignore the child.
Then you have the financial difficulties a teenager mother will face. Most don’t have jobs, and if they do, it’s in the fast food industry part time after school. Now it becomes a necessity to drop out and get that full time job. Some will have families that fully support them, and yet what does that teach them? Not a dang thing in my eyes.
I think there should be a class in high school for these girls, a real class in which they are shown all the difficulties in having a baby. Emotional, financial, all of it. It needs to be taught without sugar coating anything, no showing the good side of having children. These girls need to realize a baby does not mean they will get the love they are looking for. That it is a much bigger responsibility than they ever dreamed of.