Teen Mothers and Young Parents: The Problem

A great number of parents these days should not be parents. It’s as simple as that. The media in one form or another is raising children all over the world and it’s destroying what little hope I had for the future. People are asking: “What ever happened to just being young and stupid? Why are we putting our children through the courts for something that wouldn’t even have warranted much more than a spanking in the 70’s?” That’s a good question. Here’s a good answer: it’s not the 70’s anymore. In the 70’s, being young and stupid meant throwing a baseball through a window or maybe pulling some kind of prank like gluing car door locks. Today, being young and stupid means beating another child unrecognizable or pulling a prank like smashing out all the windows on a car. In fact, I have a perfect example.

About a month ago, I was driving down Route 676 in Camden County, New Jersey on my way home from work. There was a lot of traffic so I got off the highway and decided to take back roads to get home. After I get off the highway and drive for another couple minutes, I get to a light where there’s a public pool. Kids are everywhere – there had to be at least a hundred of them. I’m stopped at the light and some of these kids start crossing the street. The light turned green and they’re still there – standing there talking to each other, not crossing the street. When I ask if they can move, one of the kids (who looks like he’s about 8-years-old) punches the hood of my car and stares at me as he takes his time crossing the street. By the time the entire group of about 20 kids gets to the other side of the street, the light is red again. I’m sitting there waiting for the light to change green again and the same kid joined by a couple of his friends start throwing rocks at my windshield. At this point I’m thinking these kids are going to do some serious damage to my car if I don’t get out of there, so I ran the light. Now, luckily they weren’t big rocks and the kids weren’t strong enough to break my windshield, but I wonder where he learned it was okay to do what he did? What parent really would allow their children to walk around thinking that hurting people and damaging things maliciously like that is okay? If these parents don’t think it’s okay, why is their child getting away with stunts like this? I’d like to point a couple things out things that coincide with this, if I may.

The United States has the highest teenage birth rate in the developed world. In fact, in the year 2003 ten percent of all births in the United States were to teenagers. Has anyone else noticed that the younger the parents are getting the worse the kids are behaving? In fact, I know women who are 35 with grandchildren. Am I the only person that seems to make this connection? The younger a girl is when she has a child, the less likely that child is to be taken care of as it should be.

In 2002, only 10 percent of teen mothers aged 15-17 had graduated from high school. After giving birth, it is estimated that only 33 percent of teen mothers will eventually graduate from high school, and only 1.5 percent will receive a college degree by the time they reach 30 years of age (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2004; National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2004a). These are staggering statistics, but do you know who is really suffering throughout this whole mess? The children.

A mother (or father) with no education has very little hope of instilling decent values into their children. If a 5-year-old boy watches his father sit outside and drink beer all day, he’s going to think that’s what a man does. It’s the same thing that is often brought up with abuse. A child who is abused or witnesses abuse in the home is more likely to become an abuser. Well, this is the same thing. The thing is none of these parents are willing to grow up. They’re young and feel like it’s not going to really make a difference. As long as they can say, “I told my child not to do this,” they feel they’re getting off easy. I feel so bad for these children. I feel even worse for all those men and women out there who are wonderful people and would make wonderful parents but cannot have children of their own. I know women who are afraid to have children now. They feel like bringing a child into this world would only cause it pain because of how other children act. It’s just not right.

So, what ever happened to being young and stupid? I don’t know, why don’t you ask the young and stupid parents who had a child they cannot afford to take care of – financially, physically and emotionally.

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