Teenage parents

Teenage parents get a hard rap, and I for one heartily disagree.

I find that the major critics of teenagers who have kids, are those who don’t actually know any teenagers who have kids. Most of this criticism is being based off is what the media tells us (which we all know if a load of jumped up crap that isn’t actually news)and off those stupid TV shows like “fifteen and pregnant” or whatever it’s called.

But here’s the deal: teenage parents aren’t all that bad.

As of today I know of four confirmed ladies aged between seventeen and twenty, who are mothers. And you know what?

They are loving, committed and incredibly strong young women who have taken this incredible task in their stride and made their children the centres of their worlds.

What people don’t seem to realise is that having a kid is a big fucking deal, and finding yourself in that position at such a young age takes an incredible amount of strength to deal with.

I was chatting yesterday to a girl at work who’s having a baby soon. She was saying how it had finally hit her that the baby wouldn’t be a baby forever. That it would grow up and become an adult, and yet she knew she would still have to care for it and be there for it for her entire life. If it were me, I would be freaking the fuck out. But she was so calm, even excited about the prospect.

The girls I know who have already had babies and are raising them on their own, really are some of the best and most committed mothers I have ever seen. One of them updates her Facebook status every time her baby boy grows a new tooth. I went out to lunch with her and her baby recently, and she was so calm, so patient. When he cried or grizzled she just picked him up, calmed him down, gave him his toys to play with. It was a wonder to behold, that someone younger then myself was so much more grown up then I am. Had taken on this responsibility and was bearing it with incredible grace and dignity.

And she loves her baby. They all do.

Does someone like that really deserve to be criticised or called irresponsible?

I think that teenage parents are too quickly judged. Just because you’re young, that doesn’t make you any less fit to be a decent and loving parent.

In every case, the mark of a good parent is not their age or circumstances. It’s the love and commitment they give their child. And whether you been fifteen or thirty five, or gay or straight, or religious or not, or disabled or on welfare or single or in a couple or divorced or widowed, that’s all the matters.

Of course, I understand some teenage parents aren’t so loving and committed to their child’s welfare. But so are plenty of parents in their twenties, thirties, forties. Some people shouldn’t have kids, but this is about the individuals involved, not how old they are or the circumstances in which they got pregnant.

So to the critics of teenage parents, to the people who don’t seem to fully grasp the full complexity of the situation and the amount of strength these young people have,

Fuck off.

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