A young family of adventurers living by the sea

Monday, 17 June 2013

Young Mum's. Why The Hate?

Teen parents always seem to be at the forefront of hate. They are stereotyped into a box of benefit snatching, underachieving kids who just want a free house and to leech off the government.

I don't know if I could be categorised at a teen parent. Yes I fell pregnant as a teen but gave birth in my twenties. Having said that I don't apply to any of the above comments. Maybe because I pushed myself or maybe because I wanted to prove them wrong. 

Americans seem to be doing everything in their power to shame teen parents. Recently there have been ad campaigns (see right) telling teens that if they have a child then the dad won't stay with them and they will end up in poverty. And then there is the celebrity shaming. Stars such as Carly Rae Jepsen (see below) and Fall Out Boy all tweeting and putting their pictures to a #noteenpreg campaign. Ironic that Carly Rae Jepsen's bestie Justin Bieber was the product of a teen pregnancy. Apart from being so insulting these campaigns are just telling you that you should only have a child when you have changed the world, got married, bought a house and made a name for yourself. I'm pretty sure that no-one in the whole world can achieve all of those things or the world will be a very different place. 

The UK don't seem to have a campaign like these, thankfully. But that's not to say they don't do their share in shaming and scaring teens into thinking that having kids is completely the wrong things to do. From what I know the UK has drop in clinics and basic sexual education during senior school. 

Education is the greatest way to advise teens on pregnancy. It's not a bad thing if one ends up with a child. For some teens it changes their life, sometimes for the better. 

When I fell pregnant I was in my first year of university. I was in the infancy of the relationship with Scott and we had no money to our name. Once we realised we wanted to raise this child together we worked together. Yes it was hard, I can't deny that there were times that I broke down in tears in the bathroom because I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Having said that we are still together 3 and a half years later, we are engaged and planning on buying a home. We graduated university and are striving to achieve our dreams. Yes we have a child but why should that stop our dreams. If anything it's spurred us on to achieve better. 

We don't get state handouts. We don't have a council home. We haven't underachieved. We haven't decided to live of benefits. We want to give our child a good upbringing and good working ethic.

In fact, some older parents could be classed as worse parents than young ones. It's not your age its how you parent and making sure that your child is clothed, fed and loved. Who cares if you are 18 or 38, as long as you and your child are happy it doesn't matter. Who cares if you don't stay in a family together. I know so many parents that have separated and parent so much better than when they were together.

Shaming teens with campaigns will never stop teen pregnancy. If anything they make teens feel like they have no one to turn to when things do happen. What is needed is support and education. When I fell pregnant I would have loved support from people other than friends and family. Next time you shame a teen parent, just think. Are they really doing that bad a job? Maybe say well done next time. 
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