Take it from me, the father of three teenagers: teenagers are trouble. They whine and grump when asked to do the dishes, fold clothes, or clean up. They beg for fast food day and night. The good manners they practiced just a few years ago are forgotten. Now, I say all this in fun, because my teens are essentially good kids, as are most teens. But if you want a truly difficult and unhappy teen, with a truly miserable life, have a pregnant one.
First, there are the usual problems with pregnancy. There is often pain, as baby grows inside, and the pain of delivery. There is morning sickness and abnormal bleeding. There are worries about infections and miscarriages. Now, give all these problems to a teenager- guess how well they will handle them? Added to that, teen pregnancies tend to be more complicated, with things like high blood pressure and premature birth.
Secondly, there are the emotional problems of teen pregnancy. How will I raise baby- change diapers, feed baby, get baby to sleep (you think chores are hard now!)? Will the father be involved? If so, can I stand to be associated with him for the rest of my child’s life? What will my parents think, and do? Teens, not surprisingly, have much worse problems with depression after delivery than adult moms.
Finally, after baby is born, the life of a teen mother with baby is very hard. Being a teen mom is a sure way to poverty- raising babies is hard enough without having to finish school or hold down a job, and babies are very expensive to clothe, feed, and entertain. Babies of teens are more often premature, and thus sicker, and need to be brought to the doctor or the Emergency Department much more. A depressed teen mom makes for a depressed and fussy baby. Many teens have babies so that they will have a baby to love them, and are often disappointed that babies at first give so little love for all the hardship.
So what is the best way to avoid the living hell of teen pregnancy? For parents, showing your teen this blog will probably not work. Scare tactics seldom have an effect on teens. They are not rational decision makers, much like toddlers. You need to talk to your child before they are in high school, or even junior high. The age you can teach your kid about not getting pregnant is when they are in grade school.
Parents, get to work! Have that uncomfortable conversation (it actually is pretty easy with grade-schoolers) now, so your babies don’t have babies before their time is right.