It’s Harder Than You Thought Being a Teen Parent

Looking into the past, there are many things that come to mind both good and bad. Starting from our childhood to teenagers and until now. However, there will be one of them that you will remember for the rest of your life. No one is perfect and making mistake is part of us and it’s how we learn from our experience to be a better person. It’s how we approach those mistakes that matters the most.

One of the largest problem or mistakes in the current day is teen parent. In 2016, “there were 20.3 births for every 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19, or 209,809 babies born to females in this age group.” In 2015, “the birth rate was 22.3 and is down by nine percent from 2016.” (Office of Adolescent Health Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing). The number has been declining slowly however, teen parent can ruin a person life or whatever dream they might have in the future.

At the age of 16 to 19, have you ever imagine being a parent? most teenagers at the age are enjoying their high school life or trying to graduate high school so they could get into their dream universities. Knowing that college is coming students are preparing themselves to be mature living on their own for the first time. Having a baby for them would be the worst nightmare at their ages. Not knowing what to do, who to talk to, and their degree that might be put on the line. Making teen parent a controversial topic as what the adults are supposed to do to be helpful to them.

Michael Chen an 18 years old student at Nicholls State University whose life was turned around two years ago. Michael was a normal high school student who had a dream, enjoying his time with his friends, and missing assignment or not showing up to class. That was one of the mistakes he made. However, it was incomparable to the one he discovered on June 17th, 2016. When he knew he was going to be a father at the age of 16. Who would ever imagine being a father that early in your life. Michael was shocked and lost. It was like he wasn’t there and his whole body was crashing down. The only thing in his head his dream which slowly disappeared one by one. He didn’t eat, sleep, or even show up to school. Not so long before his parent and the school knew something was going on. This is the story of Michael Chen and the regret of his life or what we called teen parent.

Telling his parent, he was going to be a father was the hardest part. It takes courage to stepped up and took action in the mistake he made. His parents couldn’t believe what just happened in the past couple weeks. They were disappointed exactly like what he expected them to be. It took some time before they were able to accept what happened and be there for him when he needed them most. His parents always told him “EVERYTHING will be ok!” and not to listen when people criticized him about his mistake being a teen parent. He felt terrible every time someone criticized him since it was always about how his parents took care of him badly which result him to be in the situation he was in.

Walking around the hallway back in high school, there were people looking at him and talking when he walked passed them. He wished he could start a new life in college where no one knew about his background. The only people who he felt comfortable around were his friends and some of the teachers who understood what he was going through and gave him advices from time to time. His economics teacher would let him come in a bit late in case he needed to do something for his child. His counselor would always ask him how he felt and kept pushing him when he felt like he didn’t want to do anything.

Michael was a friend of mine who I met when I got here, Nicholls State University. It was shocking when I knew he had a kid. Question was popping up in my mind due to my curiosity. He said “having a kid has totally changes his life in both positive and negative way. it certainly made his life harder and If I knew better when I was 16 nothing like this would have happened. However, it taught me a lesson no one could ever teach me. One of the most important lesson I learned from it was taking responsibilities in my action is how you approach those problems you have instead of running away from it not because I have the courage but the faster you are able to fix the problem the faster you are able to move on. Making better decision and maturity were what I gained from my mistake knowing it will affect someone I cared about.”

Being a teen parent was never what anyone wanted to be but if it happens what would you do? Michael did what was right for him and he couldn’t get rid of the baby even if it will be better for him but he the child didn’t do anything wrong and he deserves the live the life he was given. The society today doesn’t see the problem that is causing this problem. Michael who had a personal experience with told me that “adults think those posters about preventing teenage pregnancy is useful however, the truth is there is nothing innovative in them and the only thing they do is insult people who are in the same situation I’m in.

One of the most popular posters we see about anti-teenage pregnancy is a picture of a baby saying, “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.” According to the article this poster is “drawing mounting criticism from reproductive health advocates, women who had children as teenagers, and others who say they reinforce negative stereotypes about teenage mothers without offering any information to help girls prevent unplanned pregnancies.” (Taylor City Campaign Targeting Teenage Pregnancy Draws Criticism) From the teenage parent’s perspective the only thing these posters are doing is insult and stereotype directed to the teenage parents in the society making them feel even worse after what they have been through for years. What community should be doing is teaching their children to be careful where who they surround themselves with and introducing sex education to give them an idea of using protection when it happens.

One question I always asked him was if he could go back in time what would you change this time? The answer I got was surprising to me “I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me not because I wanted a kid but because it changes who I am as a person. Being more mature and more responsible is what I always wanted to be but never had it in me since I was a kid. What happened to me taught me a lesson I wouldn’t forget for the rest of my life. I’m excited to see where this will bring myself to in the future.” Said Michael smiling at me before walking back to his dorm.

 

Work cited

Taylor, Kate. ‘City Campaign Targeting Teenage Pregnancy Draws Criticism.’ The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2018.

Office of Adolescent Health. ‘Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing.’ HHS.gov. US Department of Health and Human Services, 02 June 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2018.