Teenage pregnancy…epidemic or not?


This morning on my way to work I was listening to the radio and the hosts were discussing teenage pregnancy as an epidemic. I believe they stated that there were 90 teenagers in one school (Memphis, Tennessee)  this school year.  The radio show hosts were debating on whether these teen mom shows on television were contributing to the “epidemic” or not.  The female host was stating how she is more intimidated to have children now that she has seen some of the episodes of these shows.  The male host was talking about how he has heard that many teenage girls see this as an opportunity to audition to these teen mom shows and earn rediculous amounts of money to have their own segments. 

I tend to see both sides of most arguments so it can be challenging for me to have a strong opinions depending onthe subject.  I have personal experience as a mother (new mom at 27 years…almost 28), personal experience with friends who were teen moms, a sister who became a mom at 21, and experience working with teen moms as a social worker.  So, I have seen many differing viewpoints and situations. 

I have to say, I absolutely disagree with the exploitation of these teen moms on the television shows, not to mention the exploitation of their innocent newborns.  You cant even walk through a grocery store checkout lane without seeing a tabloid published about these youngsters and their problems.  If it werent for the tabloids, I wouldnt know who these girls were.  I think the temptation for these girls in trouble to put their name out there and earn boat loads of money for a television series is extremely tempting especially if they dont have a lot of earning potential (who does at 16?).  I dont think they can comprehend the challenges that comes with fame, let alone parenting. 

Speaking of parenting, I dont even think these teenagers are thinking about how they plan to parent these teenagers other than possibly financially supporting them with their fame.  My worries vary from whether I allow too much television during the day, what songs and books are appropriate for my daughters age, language used around her, appropriate toys, influences of the people around her…whether my parenting techniques are up to par…any Im a social worker by trade.   These young girls dont have a clue how difficult it is to be a new parent.  As an adult, I struggle to ask for help when I need it and when give in and ask, I feel guilty for feeling the need to have help.  If you cant support yourself you should not be having children. Okay, so I guess I have an opinion…

With that said, I do think that teenagers who are choosing to become parents, whether the pregnancy was planned or unplanned must be treated as adults with dignity and offered solutions to help them make better informed decisions.  Just because they may make decisions that arent completely rational – remember teenagers brains are still forming and developing the reasoning portion – doesnt mean that we should condemn them to an eternal state of irresponsibility.  They can make good decisions with the right support system. 

I had another point to mention regarding planned and unplanned pregnancies.  While I think it is slightly resourceful (I still dont like it) for these girls to seek income opportunities when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, it is completely irresponsible for them to plan the pregnancy in order to become famous and be on one of the teen mom shows.  First of all, there is a limited number of positions that any television company is going to hire to be on the show and even if you apply for the show, it doesnt guarantee a position.  And, hello girls, there are 90 teens  in one school…have you heard of competition.  Whew!  Apparently I have a strong opinion.  I just really wish these girls would know the consequences of their actions and realize that they are completely giving up the freedom that comes with your younger years.  Once you have a child, your life should be devoted to nurturing that babe and making sure that you do everything in your power to reasonably and safely provide a healthy environment.  With that said, I will put this topic to rest. 

I hope I stirred some emotions and possibly some thoughts.  I do want to end with a clause – I think people are resilient and can bounce back from any obstacle in life (good or bad) and can create opportunities in life to provide healthy environments for their children.  I dont want to demonize teen pregnancy because some teens can be very responsible, it’s the piece of irresponsibility that really triggers me to be so passionate to advocate for children…okay, Im done.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tracy
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 10:20:57

    Hi!!! I’m stopping by from MI Bloggy Moms to say HI 🙂 Stop by and visit me @ http://www.havingfunsaving.com – If you are a Kroger or a Meijer shopper – always check my Grocery tab before you go for the best deals and coupons!
    Take care,
    Tracy

    Reply

  2. Jessica
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 10:49:31

    Just stopped by from the Michigan group at bloggy moms and it is so funny that I did because I just so happen to have been a teen mom quite a while ago now. In some ways I think the new shows are doing a good job because they are showing the realities of what life is like for these girls but in other ways I think it is bad because of the press and money that the girls are getting.
    Ultimately, when you are a teenager you think that you are invincible and it is very hard to change that line of thinking. I always tell people, looking back, I think the only reason that I could have a child so young was because I was too young to have any idea what I was getting myself into.

    Reply

    • princesspipersmama
      Jan 22, 2011 @ 08:18:09

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the honesty. I dont like to offend anyone and this is such a touchy subject. Congratulations for making a huge life decision and being conscious about your choices.

      Reply

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