Posts tagged ‘teen pregnancy’

We Choose People Like Our Parents

Do you believe we choose mates like our parents? My daughter certainly thinks so, and I am really wondering if parents are the reasons young women in our communities to go awry, south, crazy, whatever phrase you want to attach here.

Here’s the story: I am related or mentoring at least five women over the age of 20, who are pregnant and unmarried. Two of the young women I have known all of their lives. Their parents are hard-working people. Well their mother is hard-working; dad is retired now, but was always what my grandmother would say – ‘nickel slick’. Nickel slick is someone who knows the rules, but doesn’t always abide by the rules. These girls were raised properly, taught to respect themselves and yet seemed to follow the path of their girlfriends (getting pregnant) and not their mother. Why?

Daily I hear that social norms are changing, and marriage is passé. It’s no longer necessary to be married to have children. One of the young ladies felt that way long before she got pregnant. While I completely disagree with that line of thinking, let’s dig deeper to get at the root of the issue. Why are our daughters feeling that they have to raise children by themselves, with no husband and many times, no boyfriend? In African American communities, “Non-Hispanic black men and women aged 25-44 have lower percentages who have ever been married than non-Hispanic white and Hispanic persons of the same age.” – See more at: http://marriage.laws.com/marriage-statistics#sthash.ydfVSfgd.dpuf. According to Dr. Boyce Watkins, “black women aren’t getting married because many of the available black men are incarcerated.” http://tiny.cc/mtyjzw.

I believe the issue has to do with how we are raising our daughters. I talk about it in my new book: Raising Your Daughter: the Joys, Tears & Hormones! It’s one thing to expect your daughter to conduct herself as a lady, wait until marriage to have sex, and allow men to respect her as the beautiful woman that she is. Is that the example that she sees growing up? Is that how you conducted yourself? Was her father (your husband) faithful to you? Did he treat you kindly and respectfully? Today, many women are starved for love & attention. Maybe you don’t have a relationship with your father. Maybe you didn’t know your father. Maybe he didn’t tell you he loved you. So, the first ‘nice’ comment you receive from a guy, you have sex with him and you believe you’re in love. Major mistake! And not a mistake you want your daughter to have to learn from. Teach your daughter to have dates where nothing is required of her but her company. Matter of fact, teach her to be selective, have many dates, and decide if you like what your date is talking about. Get to know him, his family and his background before you become intimate.

Having a child should not be a ‘Rights of Passage’ for your young daughter. I guess that means you have to do a better job of picking your mate too.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Author & Parenting Coach

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter: the Joys, Tears & Hormones! Available in late summer, 2013

July 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm 1 comment

Teaching School Tolerance

I saw this link on pregnant teen girls and our need to be sure that they are educated in school. Check it out and tell me what you think.

http://www.tolerance.org/blog/support-pregnant-teens-lasts-generations

Submitted by Sarah Sansburyon March 30, 2012

Paulina walked slowly down the hall, her gait marked by the waddle of many pregnant mothers. As she came closer, you could see her belly, slightly swollen. You felt her discomfort as she squeezed into her desk. Five months in, she hadn’t seen a doctor or taken any vitamins. The baby’s father wasn’t in the picture. There were rumors of rape. Her parents had all but disowned her.

What role should the school play in the life of a teenage mom? How can we help?

Of course we don’t advocate teen pregnancy. Pregnancy prevention is the best policy. However, the question is what to do when it happens—because it will happen.

Like all teenagers—no matter their creed, race, gender—young mothers are still students deserving an equal opportunity for education. A school needs to be flexible in making that happen.

Sadly, the fact is teen moms are more likely to drop out than graduate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 50 percent of teen moms get their diploma. Of those who get their high school diploma, only an estimated 2 percent will graduate from college by age 30. It’s not only hard to be a mom while going through school, but that most schools do not offer teen moms the needed support.

In fact, only a few states have specific laws requiring schools to provide special services for teen moms like home-bound studies or in-school programs. Other states, like  Kansas, have no laws regarding attendance or alternative programs. Some states“require” helpful programs for teen moms. Others “encourage”them. Some schools do an excellent job of serving pregnant or parenting teens.

A teen mother‘s success seems unfortunately tied to the luck of the draw—the state and district where she attends school. One purpose of public education is  to help create capable, contributing citizens—even if they are young moms. A little help now may be all she needs to stay on the path of education.

We need to champion their needs—whether that means speaking to your administration, board of education members, or even state legislators. And, if you have any pregnant students, be flexible and supportive as best you can. It can be as simple as providing a comfortable desk area or, on a larger scale, supplying materials and instruction needed while she recovers during maternity leave.

No matter what our personal philosophy is on teen pregnancy, we need to boost our students’ likelihood for success.

Paulina, a senior, had a baby boy in January. With the support of her teachers and school counselor, she had started taking prenatal vitamins, regularly seeing a doctor and will be participating in a home-bound study program when she’s on maternity leave. She is determined to graduate—for a better future for her and her baby.

Sansbury is a middle and high school teacher in Georgia.

April 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment


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