Stereotype: “a set of inaccurate, simplistic generalizations about a group that allows others to categorize them and treat them accordingly”
This is Part 2 of my list of 9 Teen Mom Stereotypes. You can read 1-3 here.
4-6 Teen Mom Stereotypes
Teen moms are single
This stereotype plays true for a lot of teen moms. It would be wrong to say that high school sweethearts will stay together forever. It would be wrong to say that anyone at any age will stay together forever. In today’s society most parent’s are divorced or separated.
Even so, not all teen moms are single. Some even stay with their child’s father. In fact, my boyfriend Nick and I have been together since I was 16 years old. Our six year anniversary is coming up in February. I know just as many teen moms who are with their baby daddies as I do teen moms who are separated.
Teen moms are bad mothers
Anyone can be a bad mother, regardless of age. Everyone will sometimes feel like a bad mother, regardless of age. Parenting is one of the most highly judged topics. Everyone has different opinions on what is good parenting, and what’s not.
But what I’m talking about here is that people assume that a teen mom will be a bad mother in general. Not always true.
When I became a pregnant, I didn't know a thing about being a mother, but I quickly learned. I ran out and bought What to Expect when You’re Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, What to Expect the Toddler Years, and took out any other parenting book I could. I signed up for babycenter.ca's newsletters. I researched the best ways to discipline a two year old, when they should start solids, what foods to avoid, sleeping schedules, best baby products. I researched until my brain was about to burst with knowledge. I never assumed once that I knew what I was doing. I would research different sources that had different opinions and advice and try to figure out which one was the best advice for me and Sidney. And a lot of young parents I know did the same thing. Not to mention, we all had our parents support and advice, too.
To say that just because someone is younger automatically makes them a bad parent is wrong. If teenagers are so horrible at taking care of children, then why are so many of them babysitters?
It is true that some teenagers turn out to be bad mothers. You hear in the news all the time about it, and on television shows but those are worse case scenarios. The media rarely talks about anything good.
Teen moms will never go to post-secondary school
My friend is in her third year of college and she has a three year old daughter. My other friend just started a Practical Nursing program this year with a two year old. I’m looking into post-secondary school right now for next September. My sister is also a young mom, she had her daughter when she was 19, and she’s looking into a hairstyling program. Having a child doesn’t mean that post-secondary school is not an option. It just means you have some figuring out and planning to do that other teens and twenty something year olds don’t.
Before I had Sidney I didn’t even seriously consider college. I thought I might go, but probably not. I wasn’t a very motivated person, money never appealed to me the way it did to others. After I had Sidney, money had a whole new meaning, and a successful career became a top priority. If anything, having Sidney motivated me to want to graduate post-secondary school.
It all comes down to the individual and what they deem important. Becoming a parent when you’re a teenager makes life a little more difficult then if you’re already graduated, or starting your career. Money becomes an issue, school becomes an issue and your social life becomes an issue but just because you have different problems, or different priorities doesn’t mean you’re destined for failure, will be an awful parent or doomed to remain single. It just means your problems and priorities are different, but every parent faces their own problems and chooses their own priorities at any age.