Discussion on teen pregnancy usually focuses on the young mothers only and what they'll need to sacrifice in order to raise their babies. The young men who cause these teen pregnancies are often overlooked because, according to stereotypes teen, dads aren't involved, and don't want to be. And when they do, it's kind of a big deal.
A recent YouTube video posted by teenage mom Camryn Turner featured herself and five other teen mothers discussing all of the stereotypes made about them and openly talking about the challenges they face. The channel is called Cam&Fam and follows Camryn as she raises her baby daughter. She is only 17 now and her fellow moms in the video all seem similar in age but you can tell they're all amazing moms who really care for their children.
These young moms in the video brought up and openly discussed many stereotypes they face on a daily basis being a teen mother. They made a great point when teen fathers came into the conversation. All of these girls got pregnant, chose to have their babies and raise them themselves. They have all sacrificed and given up their youth and childhood to care for another being. As parents, we all know how difficult that can be at any age. Let alone, when you're still navigating high school.
Of the six girls in the video, five of them are still with the fathers of their babies they acknowledge how grateful they are for the help and how unusual that is. That isn't an accurate representation of teen relationships and teen parents today. Eight times out of ten, teen fathers don't marry or move in with the mother of their child. For the girls that do have partners, they know how big of a help it is how grateful they are to have support.
That doesn't take away that the dads are praised congratulated and called "good people" for stepping up to care for their kids. But the girls do it all the time. As the girls laugh and say, "Why should they get praise for being a decent person?" We have to agree. A man should step up and be a dad no matter his age.
Teen moms are 100% expected to give up all of their hopes and dreams to deal with the choices they made. Our society is less than empathetic to teen mothers and usually looks down on them for getting pregnant so young. As a society, we tend to forget that they didn't get pregnant alone and there is someone else waiting in the wings of responsibility.
But, really, what choice did the moms have? This was expected of them and if they didn't do it they would be heavily judged. But when a boy stepped up to be a teen dad, they were praised and the moms found it frustrating. Uh, yeah. Teen dads do get off easy. They aren't the ones who will be judged as being too young to be pregnant or deal with the dirty stares from less than helpful strangers or have all kinds of assumptions made about them.
Teen dads being parents shouldn't be given a trophy for doing what they should do. It isn't easy for either parent and teen dads do have their own unique set of challenges. Statistically, they have lower-paying jobs and receive a lower level of education. Teen fathers also have a hard time finding similar support systems and groups that may be available to young moms.
And despite what most believe, surveys have found that most teenage fathers want to care for their children, however, that may not be financial support.
Teen dads who don't live with their chid usually supply less than $800 annual for their child. The dads who stick around try their best. Just like moms. The point is that both positions should be held equally.
Teen pregnancy is at an all-time record low in the United States thanks to the availability of contraception, education, and more teens choosing to abstain from sex. The birth rate in 2017 for women between the ages of 15-19 is 18.8 per 1000. This rate is down 55% since 2007. Still, the United States has a relatively high teen pregnancy rate compared to other similar western countries.
Becoming a teen mom is a life-changing experience that results in your childhood suddenly ending as you care for a tiny infant who depends on you for everything. It's a shock for a mother of any age but can be especially trying for a teenager. Unfortunately, statistics aren't kind to teen moms either who often lack support and find themselves behind in education and careers. Sound familiar? Yep, same issues as teen dads without the praise and grandeur.
Teen moms have been in the spotlight for over a decade since its summer of 2019 with the when the MTV series 16 and Pregnant premiered. Its sequel Teen Mom debuted in that winter As viewers, we were fascinated by the lives these young girls lead and watched their struggles with interest and empathy.
Often the stories were tumultuous but there were also many heartwarming moments. These shows portrayed teen moms fairly accurately. The dads were rarely involved and if they were, they were rarely as emotionally committed as the moms.
The fact of the matter remains that teen mothers and fathers are held at different standards in society. Teen moms are expected to care for their babies with little thanks while dads are praised for simply being a good person and caring for their children.
As we age into adulthood and have babies at "acceptable ages", adult dads are also praised for "babysitting" their kids. As a mom, when is the last time you were told, "Great job!" for taking your kids to a store alone. Or told you're the babysitter. The fact of the matter is that when you're with your own kids, you aren't babysitting. You're parenting and that's exactly what you should be doing.
Teen dads who step up to their actions and don't abandon their children are wonderful. They really are. But that should be the norm, not the exception.