See How This Principal Is Trying to Change the Way We Treat Teen Moms
One of the hardest parts about being a teen mother is the isolation.
Aside from the fact that there are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be a teen mom, teen mothers are often shamed and left to find their own way through school, work, and parenthood. It's hard to say which comes first for teen moms: the shame and stigmatization that often makes life harder for them and their babies or the hardships that they can both face.
As one teen mom put it, “Prior to pregnancy, I often heard that when you become a teen parent you lose all your friends. But actually, my friends became even more supportive than ever; it was the adults in my life that made things really hard.”
Shame on us who make things even harder for teen moms, wringing our hands in despair at the long, treacherous road ahead of them instead of actually trying to make things better for them and their kids. Teen moms are a unique group of women who, in my opinion, deserve more, not less, support, and that's exactly why I'm glad that one high school is launching an initiative to do just that.
Mark Frost, principal of Innovation Central High School High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently announced that he would be launching a “Young Mothers' Club” at the high school to encourage teen mothers to get together and read to their babies, promoting a sense of community and fostering childhood literacy at the same time.
“I am trying to help these ladies and their families deal with it as well as possible, especially with building reading and literacy into their children,” Frost told MLive.com, being careful to point out that he was not trying to promote teen pregnancy by any means, a common worry that some parents have when it comes to ending the stigma of teen pregnancy.
But contrary to popular belief, teen pregnancy has actually been on the decline, and helping teen mothers isn't going to make teens run off and get pregnant. Instead, it helps open the conversation about the realities of teen parenthood and helps these parents and children better their lives, both of which are positive achievements.
The Young Mothers Club will help connect young mothers to free books to read to their children as well as educate them on a wide range of issues, such as nutrition, safety, and parenting techniques with monthly speakers and support.
I think the group is a wonderful idea and would love to see more support extended to teen fathers too, as well as expanding the idea of supporting young parents in college. Because parenting at any age is all about getting all the help you can.
What do you think of the club for teen mothers? Is it a good idea?