Saturday, December 10, 2011

Teenagers aren’t good parents

As parents, we are responsible for the safety and well being of our children.  Being a parent is an enormous task for adults and that task is certainly a colossal challenge for teenage parents.  There is no getting around how hard parenting can be for teenagers and the bottom line is that they just aren’t ready for parenthood. 
Adolescents have a hard enough time being accountable to themselves, their parents, and keeping up with their textbooks, or cell phones.  Some of them can’t make their bed when they wake up in the morning and forget about keeping their room clean without being told.  What in the world would make a teenager think they are ready to be responsible for another human life?

Children aren’t dolls or toys.  You can’t just put them in the closet or turn them off when you get tired of them being around.  Babies are living, breathing people that depend totally on their parents for food, clothing, nurture and care.  They need more from you than you could ever imagine.  

A few days ago a teenage couple in the Tampa area lost their seven-day old baby to an animal attack while the 16-year old mother slept in the bed with the baby.  A pit-bull mix mauled the child to death and neither the mother, or other people in the house heard a thing.

If you can, close your eyes and imagine the following living conditions. Envision a trailer/mobile home, with towels for curtains, plywood for broken windows, old house furniture in the front yard and the lawn in desperate need of cutting.  Now imagine up to 10 people at a time living in the trailer with two newborn babies, both born to teenage mothers, and three dogs.

Poor, young, inexperienced, and uneducated, compiled with these living conditions is a recipe for disaster.  This situation is absolutely a freak accident so I’m not going to start pointing fingers, but let’s look at the situation.

Let’s start with the dog.  Some people believe pit bulls are one of the most dangerous and unpredictable dogs in existence.  I am not a fan of that particular breed of dog myself, but a smaller dog could have done just as much damage to a seven-day old baby as the pit bull did.  Euthanization was the only logical option for the animal control folks because the dog did commit a vicious and deadly attack, but is the dog really at fault?  After all, dogs are animals and can’t be expected to know how aggressive to be with a new born baby.

The young mother and her lack of experience with both dogs and children could be a major factor as well.  On the surface, you have to wonder how could she sleep during the attack.  Was she on drugs, or maybe she was sleeping hard after being up all night with the baby?  The dog had to make some sort of noise during the attack and the baby should have been crying, right?  I’m not so sure. The dog could have simply snatched the newborn from the bed and played with the baby as if it were a doll or toy, not realizing he was doing harm to the child.

Any experienced parent would know that sleeping in the bed with a new born is dangerous and could be potentially deadly.  She could have easily rolled over on the baby herself and smothered him to death.  Experienced parents also know that you don’t leave a baby alone with any kind of animal. 

We will never really know what went on in the room that day, but we do know that these teenagers are going to have to live with this incident for the rest of their lives. The death of their young child will definitely scar them forever and they are going to need some major counseling to help them deal with the loss of their child.

This unpleasant incident further illustrates why 16-year old kids are not ready for parenthood.  I don’t care how mature a teenager thinks they are, or how ready they think they might be; they simply are not ready for that responsibility.

The message I want to get through to the youth is that listening to your parents about the consequences of having sex is not optional. They can also use the lessons learned from other young parents to avoid going down the same path.  Hopefully this tragedy won’t be in vain and will help teenagers comprehend the fact that they truly aren’t ready for parenthood.

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