Dear Teenager: Financial Reality

Dear Teenager,

Say you did get pregnant and had a baby. How would your life change? Let’s look at it from a financial perspective. Could you afford a baby? (Most of my stats and some basic ideas came from this website) Would you have your parents support? Seriously, think. What would be your answer to this question right now?

Sick babyDo you have your answer in mind? Now come the facts. Did you know delivery alone can cost over 25,000 dollars without any complications? Even if you can afford it, will it financially break you? This is only the beginning.

Do you have health insurance? If not, you have a major problem. Newborns are very susceptible to getting diseases so health care could end up saving you baby’s life. Without it you may not be able to care for your baby or worse your baby could die without the proper treatment.

All a baby is going to do is raise your expenses. So if you are already struggling to find a job or are in debt you and your baby could very possibly end up homeless and starve to death.

How will you afford diapers? They are used at least twice a day for at least the next two years. How can you afford baby clothes? I don’t have to tell you how fast a baby grows. It could be a major problem.Farrah Broke?

Now what do you think? I know some of you will be skeptical. Maybe citing this example, what about Farrah from Teen Mom? She was broke and she pushed through. If I push hard enough I can make it through as well. At least some of this is a major misrepresentation.

First of all, do you really think Farrah is broke?? Really? She stars on a TV show that has more than 3 million viewers according to US weekly. When is reality TV ever reality. I’m sure some of that happened but of course Farrah is going end up ok in the end. Again this is a rare case. “There are more than 400,000 teen births annually in the United States, most of them unmarried mothers on welfare, according to the National Campaign to prevent Teen Pregnancy.” (David Crary, Associated Press)

The reality is most teen mothers without the support of their family will not recover. They are not able to find or let alone hire anyone to watch their baby while they work. Therefore they cannot work or cannot get hired, especially in the recession today. They cannot provide for themselves or their babies and end up getting their baby taken away or end up dying on the street.

Julia

Dear Teenager: Your Life with a Baby

Dear Teenager,

Hi I’m Julia. I know your parents probably are having you read this and you probably think it’s really dumb. I know, I get it. If I was in your situation at your age I would be thinking the same thing. But regardless I am here to warn you about pregnancy.

Picture of Me

First a little about me. I’m not much different from you believe it or not. I just turned 20 and am almost still considered a teenager myself. And I will be the first to tell you that I am not a saint. I am not a geeky little girl who sulks at home wishing she got attension from guys and instead targets you. Don’t feel like I’m leacturing, my goal is to inform.

I partyed and I had sex and their were a lot of train wrecks in Shocked Teenage Girl with Pregnancy Testthe begining. It’s part of figuring out life. But I was lucky nothing happened to me. I watched girls, some close to me, get pregnant and have a baby. I’ve watched some have abortions and some sign adoption papers. None of those decisions are easy and are all very avoidable.

Don’t be fooled by what you see on TV. Teen Mom or The Secreat Life of  an American Teenager are misrepresentations of real life teen mother and child. This is what you life will really be like. Pick a catagory back on the home page.

Parents: List of TV Shows about Teen Pegnancy

Over the past couple of years an unsettling amount of popular TV shows revolve around the subject of Teen Pregnancy. These include:

  • Teen Mom
  • The Secret Life of an American Teenager
  • 15 and Pregnant
  • 16 and Pregnant
  • Large Times at Gloucester High

These shows are having major effect on teenage girls which should be obvious. Check it out for yourself. Here is an episode of MTV’s Teen Mom. You may also want to take a look at the Teen Mom Blog. The show is a big deal!

Teenagers will want to act like what they see on TV. Unless you have been living under a rock this is not new news. “It catches up with common sense. Media helps shape the social script for teenagers. Most parents know that.” (Bill Albert, Chief program officer at the non-profit Nation Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy interviewed by journalist Lindsey Tanner)

Teen pregnancy is now a topic to stress to your daughters when you first have “the talk.” I know you were probably planning on telling her about the risks of having sex but the risk of having a baby is no longer quite as scary to your daughters as it used to be. It has become almost accepted among most teenagers today.

For instance, The Secret Life of an American Teenager appears on ABC Family. This is supposed to be a family channel! It is making the situation more normal for its audience of 3.6 million views. (Statistic cited by Chuck Barney, Houston Chronicle, TV Feature – Series strikes chord with young viewers –  Secert Life takes candid  look at teen pregnancy)

Teen Mom‘s rating have also flown off the charts with more than 3 million viewers according to a recent issue of US Weekly magazine. It was also the featured front page story. Oh and another front page feature on Teen Mom came out two weeks later. That’s twice in one month for US Weekly Magazine. I hope I am enlightening you of the severity of this problem. Talk to her!

Parents: Be Aware of Media Influence on Teen Pregnancy

The media’s influence on teen pregnancy is a very real problem that is taking the country by wildfire. I warn you, don’t be fooled by the numbers. The teen pregnancy rate is falling but we still have by far the highest teen pregnancy rate throughout the western industrialized world.(http://www.pregnancy-info.net/teen_pregnancy_statistics.html) “The fact that just under 1/3 of all girls in the United States will get pregnant in their teenage years is a sobering thought.” (http://www.pregnantteenhelp.org/articals1.html)  The mindset of young teenage girls is changing and I blame certain sources of the media.

Let me tell you about an unsettling conversation I overheard at the mall about a year ago. There was a group of teenage girls, all about the age of 15, giggling and shopping like normal young teenage girls. But their conversation was certainly not normal.

Teenager 1: “Kara, let’s pick out a dress from Motherhood because your clothes are getting too small again.”

Teenager 2: “How many months are you now?”

Kara: “Five! The baby will be here in April!”

Teenager 2: “That’s so exciting!”

Teenager 1: “I can’t wait to pick out little baby dresses with you!”

Teenager 2: “Did you find out if you made the cut for ‘Teen Mom‘ yet? That’d be so cool to see you on TV!”

Cake - reads Congrats on your teen pregnancy

That’s right! This 15-year-old girl is not only pregnant, she is excited to be! Did she completely forget about the responsibility of having a child? Completely forget about the mid-night feedings and diaper changes?  Completely forget about the challenges she will face like trying to study for finals with a baby by her side? Or maybe she hasn’t. But instead is excited for her grand adventure to be captured on tape. Excited for her 15 minutes of fame.

A lot of young girls are thinking like this and it’s certainly a problem. I urge you to talk to your pre-teen and teenage daughters before it’s too late. Parents need to warn their daughters that pregnancy is not a grand adventure or a cool fad. Fads come and go but a baby will never go away!

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