Children born to a teen mother are at a higher risk of facing abuse or neglect. Many teen mothers do not know their role as a mother and often become frustrated. Some teen mothers drop out of school to care for their child, not knowing how to balance school and being a mother and never return. In 2004, an estimated 3 million children were reported to state child welfare agencies as abused or neglected; 872,000 of these reports were to believe that maltreatment under stat la or reason to believe that maltreatment occurred (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] 2006 (Hoffman)).
Infants and toddlers (up to age three) had the highest rate of victimization, at 16.1 per 1,000 children. Children that fall victim to child abuse often go through a lot in their lives and may suffer from complications as they grow older. Too much stress at home or school as well as uncontrolled anger and feelings of frustrations can lead to child abuse and possibly neglect. Teen mothers must remember that anger should not be directed toward or taken out on their children.
Teen mothers need all the support they can receive. A teen mother has too much going on to remain calm, which can cause an abusive relationship between her and her child. A teen mother has to juggle caring for her child, going to school as well as finding employment to provide for her child. Without the support, a teen mother may stop doing one of the above, if not two. Gaby Rodriguez, a then 18-year-old Washington State high school student, pretended to be pregnant in an effort to explore conventional stereotypes and the treatment of pregnant teens.
During her journey she realized how friendships end and things become a struggle to get through. All the while she also realized what it was like to be a pregnant teenager (Rodriguez). Clearly, teen parenthood is associated with a host of problems for mothers, fathers, and babies. What is less clear, however, is the extent to which these problems are the result of, rather than the cause of, teen parenthood (Cook 417). Not all teen parents have dire outcomes. If these young parents are able to continue their education, delay having a second child, and form supportive and positive relationships with a family and friends, these young families can be more successful.
Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be shocking. Girls may find themselves thinking: “This should not be happening to me,” and “This cannot be real,” but teen pregnancy can be avoided. No is the time for teens to realize that are not alone. All teens face problems throughout their pregnancies that they have in common with other soon-to-be mothers. Teens must realize that their decision to become pregnant will affect many areas of their life today as well as in the future.
Having children at a young age requires teens to grow up faster than they would have if they would have waited to have sex. Having a child at a young age is not to be rushed and teens must realize that. While sex education is a good tool to many, emotional aspects of teen pregnancy should be added to the education. Many teens believe that having a child at a young age will not happen to them. Above all, having a baby may not be the right decision to some teenage mothers. They need all the support they can receive.
Berne, Emma Carlson. Teen Pregnancy. Detroit [Mich.: Greenhaven, 2007. 81. Print. Cook, Greg, and Joan Littlefield. Cook. “Physical Development in Adolescence.” The World of Children. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2010. 415-18. Print. Hoffman, Saul D., and Rebecca A. Maynard. Kids Having Kids: Economic Costs & Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 2008. Print. Rodriguez, Gaby, and Jenna Glatzer. The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster For Young Readers, 2012. Print Ventura, Stephanie. “Teen Birth Rate Rises for First Time in 15 Years.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 June 2009. Web. 06 Apr. 2012 http://www.cdc.gov.