If Only 'Teen Mom' Amber Portwood Had Babysat

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Amber PortwoodPerhaps if Amber Portwood had babysat for a couple of whiny, needy children when she was younger, the Teen Mom wouldn't be where she is now in her troubled life. That's the theory anyway being put to test in the United Kingdom. British Ministers have backed a charity in which teens thought to be at risk for having unprotected sex take care of toddlers. They believe if they see how difficult children can be, the young teens may be more likely to try and prevent having one of their own.

Through the charity, named Teens and Toddlers, teenage girls are matched with a toddler with whom they spend about 20 hours a week. They also receive instruction in child development and sex education.

While it raises some questions such as how do you identify someone at risk of having unprotected sex (they just look slutty?), and how do you ensure their participation, it also doesn't sound like a bad idea. Scare the sex out of them! And the program has shown success as the pregnancy rate drops for those who participate -- 2.7 percent -- compared with a national average of 4.1 percent.

Anyone who spends 20 hours a week with a toddler, even those with the best dispositions, knows how taxing they can be. While they can be cute and fun, 20 hours is also long enough to see the tantrums and the trouble toddlers cause. It would probably take about 20 minutes with my 2-year-old for a teenager to go running for some contraception.

But it's a limited fix for a huge problem. With hundreds of thousands of teenagers becoming pregnant each year in the United States, the U.K., and elsewhere, there's certainly more that needs to be done to treat the underlying issues -- more to teach our children about their self worth, more about helping them make smart choices, more to ensure young girls aren't so desperate to find love that they'll do anything to try and get it.

Do you think babysitting could be effective in preventing teen pregnancy?


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mommix4 mommix4

I think it could go either way. I babysat a lot when I was a teen and still got pregnant at 17. But I have to say that if I had babysat my 5yr old dd it would have scared me!

sweet... sweetashyb

I think being placed with the "right" kiddo could definitely make an impact...one that has horrible tantrums, perhaps attempting to help with potty training, maybe a sick kiddo that's throwing up everywhere....pretty sure that would do it for most teenagers.


2 hours babysitting my son when he was six months old with colic & acid reflux, projectile vomiting everywhere and screaming the entire time, was enough to make my then-15 year old sister run out and get on birth control--and she wasn't even thinking about having sex at the time lol

nonmember avatar Anon

I don't know. I babysat a lot when I was a teen, for both my own siblings and other people's kids (at 15 I nannied about 50 hours per week for 3 wee kids all summer). I was not sexually active nor wanting to be. I think the biggest factor was having an outlook that extended beyond tomorrow night. I LOVED kids, including the challenges, and welcomed the idea of being a mom. I even had a fantasy of running away with (not from) my kid brother and sister. But, I also understood that kids are a 24/7 commitment; hence any other dreams would be deferred at best if a kid came along. So in that sense, maybe . . . .

rerra... rerratron

My mother had my brother and sister when I was 15 and 17, and I never wanted kids until those little snotfaces were born. Maybe it's different when the bawling babies are related to you? All in all, it sounds like the program couldn't hurt, though!

momof... momoflilangel

I'm not sure b/c when you babysit you get to give the child back. Children are LIFE long.

sodapple sodapple

maybe, i babysat and that did not stopped me from getting pregnant, yes it was not at 16 but still. to just know how four kids( two boys and two girls)  can behave is amazing! i survided though. lol 

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