Teen Mom 2's Chelsea Houska's parents supported her even after she got pregnantWhen politicians are stuck trying to legislate good parenting, it always makes me heartsick. A proposal to force teen moms to live with their parents is no different.
Shouldn't that be a given? If your kid gets pregnant, they don't stop being your kid!
The proposal comes out of Britain, where a group of MPs (Members of Parliament) are concerned that public funds given to teen moms are actually encouraging teen pregnancy. Essentially they say teens get pregnant because they want to move out, and those monies enable them to do it.
It's a fair point.
But what kind of parent lets their pregnant teenager move out of the house? What kind of parent doesn't want their kid to be home at one of the most difficult times of their lives?
I don't want to think of my daughter ever ending up pregnant as a teenager. It's why I believe in talking about birth control with your kids (as well as encouraging they wait a good long time to have sex ... yes, abstinence SHOULD still be encouraged, but we have to be realistic).
But let's say it happens.
It could. Unfortunately.
There is no set "type" of girl who ends up pregnant as a teenager. The girl who had a bun in the oven in the class behind me was from a so-called "good" family. She was highly intelligent and motivated. Still, she got pregnant.
The truth is, every parent of a daughter needs to consider what they would do if their child got pregnant. Would you throw them out? Would you want them to stay home so you could help them with the baby?
Consider this: Right here in America, 67 percent of teen mothers who moved out of their own families’ household live below the poverty level. At least 63 percent of teen mothers receive some type of public benefits within the first year after their children were born, and less than one quarter receive any sort of child support from their child's father.
Teen moms who move out don't tend to do well.
Teen moms who have supportive parents, on the other hand, tend to have better outcomes, as do their children. Just look at Teen Mom 2 star Chelsea Houska. Her father in particular has received criticism for coddling his daughter, but Houska is one of the few stars of the show to have a clean track record when it comes to tabloid scandals. And her daughter, little Aubree, is obviously well cared for and seems to be on track development-wise. She's well-spoken and smart as a whip.
That's significant when you consider the statistics from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy show "children born to mothers younger than 18 years old score significantly worse on measures of school readiness including math and reading tests."
Parenting a teen parent is depressing. It's disheartening. It can make you feel like you failed as a mom or dad.
But these things happen. The true test of a good parent is how you handle it. Do you turn your kid out or do you continue to be THEIR parent in their time of crisis?
For the good of our kids and their kids, teen parents should be living at home. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Do you think parents should be required to keep their kids at home when they become teen parents?
Image via MTV