What is it Like to Be a Teen Parent?

Nathan Hagen, Writer

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Having a child in high school is not the greatest idea, but it happens quite often in America. But why are kids getting pregnant in the first place? We’ve all gone through sex education and learned about safe sex, so what more is needed to stop teenagers from getting pregnant?

Teen mothers and fathers are usually not looked at in the best light. According to the article Breaking Down The Stigma Surrounding Teen Pregnancy by Mass Alliance, pregnant teens feel “Worthless. Humiliated. Unwanted.” This is not the way we want our youth to be feeling based on something they might not have even wanted to happen. Teens should be able to feel like there are people supporting them and their child. Becoming a parent at a young age is not what is best for the teen and the child, but it still should not be as criminalized as it is. This stigma is even present at Tahoma. Junior Maclayne Credere says that teen pregnancy is “sad” and “can ruin kids lives.” But these teen parents are human, too. In the article “17 Things No One Tells You About Being A Teen Mom”, 29 year old Lisette says that “I was 15 with my first pregnancy and 16 with my second. The hardest part of being a young mother was the misconception and stigmatization from society. Adults are cruel and the lack of support from society puts you down and makes you feel ashamed of being a parent.” The people around pregnant teens should be helping them, not making a hard situation more difficult.

From the perspective of a teen who is not a parent, I always feel pity for teens who are pregnant. I am guilty of believing in the stigma that they will not and can not be successful, or even graduate high school. In the article Pregnant At Prom: My Life as a Teen Mom by Teen Vogue, Kirstin tells her story about getting pregnant as a senior in high school. While most people assume that because the mother is still in high school, both the child and the parent will not be successful. Kirstin proves that wrong, as she became a pulmonary oncology nurse by age 22 with the help of her mother. Her story proves that the teen and her child are not doomed from the start.

Obviously, we don’t want a large amount of pregnant teens in our school because, yes, it could lead to a poor life for the child or the mother. But what is Tahoma doing about preventing teen pregnancy? We have our standard sex ed classes every couple years, but I don’t think that is getting the point across to some teens. However, I believe that Tahoma is not responsible for pregnant teenagers. They were briefly educated on the subject and that should be all the school needs to do. But the dangers of not using some form of protection should be emphasized more and regularly.