10 Tips for Teenage Parents

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, teen pregnancy, abortion and birth rates in the United States for teens age 15 to 19 remain among the highest in the industrialized world. Three in 10 girls will be pregnant at least once before their 20th birthday. One in five teen moms will have a second child during her teen years. Significant disparities also persist across racial and ethnic lines, geographic regions, rural and urban areas and among age groups.

Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood are closely associated with a host of social and economic issues that affect teenage parents, their children and society

Teenage mothers are less likely to finish high school and are more likely to live in poverty, depend on public assistance, and be in poor health than slightly older mothers. Their children are more likely to suffer health and cognitive disadvantages, come in contact with the child welfare and correctional systems, live in poverty, drop out of high school and become teen parents themselves. According to a recently updated analysis by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the annual public cost of teen childbearing—due to the cost of public health care, foster care, incarceration and lost tax revenue—is nearly $9.4 billion.

Teenage parents have one foot in childhood and the other in adulthood

Being a parent at such a young age often leads to anger, stress and resentment. Educating yourself about parenting and learning all you can about how to be an effective mom or dad are the best things you can do to ensure that your child grows up happy, healthy and well-adjusted. Here are 10 simple things you can do to be a better teenage parent.

  1. Realize that carefree days spent at the beach or the mall are over. Your child is your first priority, and child care is a full-time job,
  2. Note that the period between conception and birth brings tough decisions, mixed emotions and a self-evaluation for the future.
  3. Realize that your parents may be mourning the dreams they had for your future. Know that anger will pass, especially if you and your partner can prove that you can deal responsibly with the situation.
  4. Sit down with a piece of paper and list your goals in life as well as your current resources. Identify the needs of a child and how your goals and resources will have to be adapted to meet them.
  5. Be assured that no matter what others tell you, your life is not over; it is just taking a different direction.
  6. Know that family stability is necessary for the growth and development of a child.
  7. Budget your income before your child is born. Babies tend to be expensive, and the more savings you have in reserve, the better.
  8. Realize that babies cry because it’s the only way they can communicate their feelings to you.
  9. Be aware that statistics suggest that teenage parents are more likely than older parents to strike their children. They tend to have less experience with children, are less patient with their child’s development and have a strong belief in physical punishment.
  10. Respond to the needs of your child. He wants, and often needs, his needs to be met NOW, no matter how exhausted you feel.
The ARISE Sprouts series is a comprehensive four book series written specifically for girls in their early and mid-teens.