Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's not 'cool' being a teenage parent

Learning what values and morals are starts at home.  It’s not the job of the pastor, teacher, or coach to tell young people the dangers of being sexually active.  Parent’s willingness to openly talk about sex, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and all that comes along with being sexually active will help kids understand that they are not ready to be parents. 
It would be naive of parents to think that just telling their kids, “you better not do anything” is going to work.  That philosophy and way of thinking didn’t stop me and is the reason a lot of us are here today. 

The finger pointing about who or what is responsible for so many teen pregnancies leans heavily on outside influences.  The blame game can start with a not having enough youth activities, the struggling economy, the lack of good paying jobs, the number of broken families, the absence of men in the home, and even the movie “Juno” for glamorizing unwed teen motherhood.  The cultural blame game is one angle to take, but there are a lot of problems with that assumption.  If more attention and resources were available for health/sex education in the school systems the problem would surely go away, right? I’m not so sure. 

Instead of thinking about tests, college, and the simple joys of being a kid themselves, teenage parents have the responsibility of being a parent before living out their own childhood.  What can a 15-year old young man or young woman offer a child when they barely have enough to offer themselves?  Walking down the road pushing a stroller, with no car, no job, and no diploma is not “cool.”

What young people don’t realize is that they are starting life off in the hole by becoming parents before they are able to take care of themselves.  Obstacles and adversity even stump adults who venture to become parents, so teenage parents are certainly in for the roughest ride of their lives.  Not “cool.”

It takes years for some people to get back to a starting point after having a child, because now the child’s best interest comes first and foremost.  Teenage parents are creating debt for themselves, their parents, and the local community by not being able to care for themselves and their child.

Starting life at an early age waiting on a check is an ignorant and reckless way of thinking.  Government assistance should be for people that need just that, ASSISTANCE, not total dependency.  Taxpayers are tired of footing the bill for irresponsible young people.

Here are a few questions that should come across the mind of a young man or woman that thinks they are ready to be parents:  Who’s going to buy food for the child?  Who’s going to provide financial support for the child?  Who’s going to watch the child while you’re at school/work?  All of these lead to the next question: How are you going to afford to pay for childcare? Depending on parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends to help take care of a child is not “cool.”

Just because everyone around you is having a child doesn’t make it the “cool” thing to do.  Considering how hard it is for other teen parents, you would think seeing one of your peers struggle would serve as a motivator for others to avoid going down the same path. 

Yes, babies are cuddly, cute, they smell good and all of that fluffy stuff on the surface. But don’t let anyone tell you that being a parent is easy.  Being a parent is the ultimate job and a life long commitment.

Abstinence until marriage is the only true way to stop teen pregnancy, but a plan needs to be in place just in case that message doesn’t get through.  Don’t feel left out if you aren’t a teenage parent.  It’s “cool” to be a regular teenager, and do regular teenage things.  

Originally published by the Charlton County Herald on March 30, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment