Teen parenting affects a million teens in the US per year. These data include both boys and girls. There are actually about 500,000 babies born to teens each year. This rate has steadily declined but still affects many teens who are not yet ready to be parents because they haven’t gotten out of childhood yet themselves.
Teen parenting often means single parenting. Rarely does the couple live together or get married. In many situations, the father of the baby doesn’t stay involved in the baby’s life and the young girl must obtain the help of her own parents to help raise the baby. This is doubly difficult if the teen mother belongs to a single parent family.
Doctors and healthcare workers stress teen parenting classes for teens who are about to become parents. They can learn about acceptable standards of care and all of the developmental issues involved in raising babies and young children.
Some schools address teen parenting by having daycare facilities in the school so that teen moms can continue their schooling and graduate from high school. The teen is allowed to see her baby during the day and some portion of the day is spent learning how to properly care for the child. Even with such school programs, many teen moms drop out of school and go on welfare to raise their children.
Teen parenting is more accepted in today’s society. Forty years ago, a pregnant teen was sent away to have her child and the child was often adopted away. In the last twenty years, such homes for unwed mothers just don’t exist anymore and girls are increasingly choosing to have and raise their children. Unfortunately, being a teen mother is a risk factor for getting pregnant again and being a teen mother all over again. This puts a strain on the teen mom and on society in general.
Teen parenting goes better when there is a caring family that participates in the raising of the child. This can include the parents of the teen mom, aunts, siblings and close friends that together work hard to take the stress off the teen mom and help raise the child in a stable environment. Not growing up in a stable family environment is one of the greatest risks to a child of a teen mother.
While it is rarer, teen parenting can involve a single teen father as well. Sometimes the mother wants to give up the baby but the father of the baby doesn’t want to agree to that. Once it is established that he is the biological father, the father can raise the child as his own much like a teen mother. He is given the same rights as a teen mom and hopefully will take advantage of the same opportunities for education as are offered to a teen mother. Teen fathers also need a stable home environment and the help of family and friends to raise his child in as healthy a home as is possible.