I Want to Be a Teen Mom When I Grow Up


the original girls of MTV's teen mom

 

Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot for teenage pregnancy shows such as MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. I have never been 16 and pregnant nor am I teen mom, but a very close friend of mine is 22 with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. (You do the math.) Her children are my god children and I am actively involved with them. In addition to my friend, my sister also got pregnant in her late teens, early 20s and that’s how my ten year old niece entered the world. But I digress.

Last night as I was channel surfing, I stumbled upon the Teen Mom 2 Reunion Special on MTV. Although I didn’t really care for this group of girls, I decided to watch the special anyway. It wasn’t really my cup of tea so I ended up changing the channel. In the brief period I did watch, I began to think about the affect these shows are having on young girls. Does watching a show like Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant glamorize being a teen mom? Do young girls choose to have babies so soon because of shows like this?

Teen Mom Maci Bookout and her son Bentley

In my opinion, I do think the shows glamorize teen pregnancy a little bit. Although you see the young mothers struggle through their relationships with their friends, families and boyfriends, money, and going back to school, these issues are not explored as throughly as they should. Although the mothers in the show have the support of family, friends, and boyfriends, many teen mothers do not have such a wide support system. Their families kick them out, friends and boyfriends reject and neglect them.(24 percent of all unwed, expect mothers are teen moms.) The mother is forced to feed herself and her child on her own.  Because most teen mothers never finish high school, they cannot find a job to buy diapers, food, clothes and pay for a sitter or shelter. (The price of diapers and formula alone is ridiculous). Even those who do finish high school hardly ever make it to college, let alone complete it. According to the Center of Disease Control, two thirds of teen moms don’t complete high school.

a pregnant girl feeding her baby

As for young girls having babies so soon, well, teen pregnancy was on the rise long before MTV made shows about it in 2009. According to Center of Disease Control, 1 and 3 girls get pregnant, equating to about 750,000 teen pregnancy reported each year. There are several reasons why this could be, but I’ll save that conversation for later. Either way, the statics are staggering.

It’s not all bad news though. Birth rates of teenagers have steadily been declining since the early 1990s. The teen pregnancy rates of Black teens has dropped 40 percent, while it has dropped 34 percent for White teens and 19 for Hispanic teens.

So what can be done to stop young girls who watch the show from thinking that being a teen mom is something they should aspire to be? Educate your young girls. Watch the show with them and explain that most girls aren’t as lucky as the ones shown on television. Talk to them about the importance of abstinence AND safe sex. If they are old enough and express interest in sex, show them how to use a condom and discuss birth control. The more these girls know about sex and the more open you are, the more likely they won’t get pregnant.

 

 

4 thoughts on “I Want to Be a Teen Mom When I Grow Up

  1. I agree with you, I was pregnant at 18 and my daughter is now 8 years old. Thank God I have matured a lot since then and I know I will have to sit her down soon and let her know that teen pregnancy isn’t easy and etc.

    I don’t watch shows like that because they can sometimes have girls thinking they could be famous…which is a negative in my book.

    We need to eduacate our children and let them know it isn’t the best choice for them.

    Great post!

    1. I completely forgot about the become pregnant to be famous part. That’s a very good point. It’s sad that girls think that pregnancy is something that will make them famous.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! =]

      1. No problem… yeah that why you see so many Maury shows with the young girls who want to get pregnant..go on there to get their 15 mins of fame… uh Nah…

        Great post!

  2. It is hard being a young mom, and although I love the show because I am a young mom, I do agree, that it is missing a ton of stuff. Pretty much all of the teen moms on the show go back to looking perfect after having their children, some people, like myself, aren’t that lucky. Although I am still skinny, I have stretch marks and extra skin, and it makes me feel bad about myself. Money is hard when you have kids. What they need always has to come first, so you find yourself going without the things that you want or need. I was lucky, I was able to finish high school. I had the help of my mom for the first 3 months, then moved out. I almost dropped out, because my schooling and my (fiance at the time)s Job scheduals were overlapping, and we didn’t have anyone to watch my daughter. But I had the school let me leave at 10:55am (after all the classes I needed to graduate were over), and he had his work schedual him to go in after 11. I did graduate, I just want allowed to walk in graduation, because I couldn’t stay all day for graduation practice. Now I have 2 kids (as you mentioned, you godbabies) 🙂 Life is still hard, we want to move out of my father in laws, but make no where near enough money to leave 😦 we are looking for people to group together and share a place, but we haven’t had any luck.

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