This past Sunday we had our monthly Teen Parent meeting. We dicussed scenes from the MTV show Teen Mom. It is probably worth your time to watch at least the summary episode if you know a teen parent.
The interesting thing to me was that I found many of the things we talked about didn’t just relate to being a parent as a teenager. They were applicable to all parents, the difference for teens is the fact that they have so much life ahead of them.
For example, one thing they talked about centered around relationship problems for these young couples. WOW did that relate to me. I had no idea how much having kids would change the relationship I have with my wife. For many teens, especially the girl, they think that having a baby will give them security in their relationship. What happens too often is the guy realizes how hard having a kid is and without a marriage to be committed to he bails. Oh, he still cares for the baby and senses some responsibility but he is more interested in having someone that will focus on him and not the kids.
This leads to the second thing. I was in agreement at how different guys and girls attatchment to the new baby is. As men we feel a strong love but not nearly what the mom feels. One teen described it as an obligation that is sometimes a lot of fun and sometimes sucks. I can see this and I could definitely see it if I had kids in my teen years. What has to happen no matter when you have kids is to realize this is a choice you made and you have a responsibility to care for your whole family. As a man it is up to me to provide, keep safe, and raise my children to be good caring people and at the same time to continue to cherish my wife as I promised I would in our marriage vows.
The next piece that I noticed hit home more than the rest. It was how selfish some of the teen parents were. They wore their selfishness on their sleeve and had no remorse for saying they have a right to still be a teenager and go out and date, etc. The reality is that once you have kids, no matter what age, you give up your right to be selfish in the same way. You have chosen, like it or not, to be a parent and you are now responsible for another life. It is up to you to take care of that life as a mother and a father. Everything else is out the window.
Some poistives I saw were an emphasis on having a mom and dad. It is so important to have both. Some of these kids ended up where they are because they didn’t have a good model of what a caring loving relationship is. The other thing was encouraging these parents to have good support they can trust. Use that support to take breaks and take time for yourself. Yes this baby is your responsibility but if you don’t take care of yourself you will likely do a poor job caring for the baby as well.
- Parenting is the hardest and best thing you will ever do, don’t make it harder by getting pregnant before finishing high school.
- Certainly don’t try to do it alone.
- Be sure the relationship you’re in is able to hold up to being completely turned upside down with the addition of a beautiful new baby.
These are the kind of things that lead to a Life Lived Better, and that’s what we are all about.