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Moms Weigh In: The Impact of TV's Teen Moms

Moms Weigh In: The Impact of TV's Teen Moms

Moms Weigh In: The Impact of TV's Teen Moms

There's little doubt right now that teen moms have captured our interest: From MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, to ABC's The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Lifetime's Pregnancy Pact, the television spotlight was on teen pregnancy in 2010, and 2011 is kicking off no differently. On January 11th, MTV aired Teen Mom 2, following on the heels of the 16 and Pregnant: Where Are They Now? special and a controversial teenage abortion interview. Circle of Moms members, including current teen moms, mothers of teenagers, and mothers of teen moms have been watching, and we decided to take a closer look at their conversations to see what kind of an impact these portrayals are having on our kids, on our feelings about teenage pregnancy, and on teen moms themselves.

Do Teen Mom Shows Glamorize Teen Pregnancy?

Circle of Moms members disagree, often vehemently, over the accuracy and impact of teen mom shows. Kate C., a mom in Dallas, thinks the shows make "teenage parenthood look like a fun time," and Nicole A., a mother of one, expressed concern that such shows glamourize and promote teen pregnancy: "I think it might make girls who watch think 'Motherhood's not that hard, these girls can do it, so can I. Plus, I'll get to be on TV!'"

In contrast, others argue that such shows reveal the hardships of teen pregnancy, and actually discourage it. As mother of one, Mandy P., shares: "I, personally, don't think it glamorizes teen pregnancy at all and that's what I liked most about it! It shows how having a baby so young can cause you to have to let go of your career aspirations, struggle through high school and college, work hard to make ends meet, put a toll on your relationship, and hurt your social life." Lisa M. in Victoria, B.C., agrees: "What's glamorous about living in a motel, fighting with your immature boyfriend who doesn't help parent, seeing all your friends go off to college without you and giving your child up for adoption?"


Moms Say Teen Shows Are a Great Teaching Tool

"Whether it's on TV or not," says Delia D. "Kids are still having sex at earlier and earlier ages. I think any avenue to open discussion with our kids is good."

Many moms shared the opinion that teen motherhood shows can help parents discuss sex and pregnancy with their children. As Michelle M. explained, "My 14-year-old and I watch "The Secret Life" together and I use it as a great tool to explain to her what she should and should not be doing." Janet N., a mother of teenage girls who was herself a teen mom, also finds the show a helpful conversation tool: "As a mother of two girls who gave birth at 16 and 18, I love this show…I watch it with my girls and it often generates some good conversations."

Are Teen Moms Getting a Bad Rep?

"[The shows] pick the worst girls. They absolutely give teen parents a bad rep," asserts Taylor W., a teen mother herself. Many other Circle of Moms members expressed similar frustration that current TV programs on teen motherhood feature many seemingly irresponsible, ignorant, and selfish teen mothers. "They give teenage mothers everywhere a bad name." says Maci B.

Several moms, including Shavaune C., wish these shows portrayed a more diverse set of teen moms, including "teen moms that do breastfeed…and more moms that are going to college and what college life is with a kid."

Teen Moms Can Relate

Whether or not the "teen mom" image is suffering from the show, many teen moms on Circle of Moms simply appreciate having the hardships of teen motherhood publicized. Kaara H., who got pregnant at 15, admits she enjoys watching the shows: "It makes me feel better about being one of them… The shows help me feel like I'm not alone." And Pamela S. shares "I was a teenage mother and now I am in my 30's with 4 boys and I love the show… I hope that they continue to follow these young girls and see how their lives turn out."

Want to share your opinion on teen mom shows? Looking to dish about "Teen Mom 2"?

With communities for teenage mothers and young mothers, moms of teenagers, debating current hot topics, and discussing popular TV shows like The Office and Grey's Anatomy, Circle of Moms is a friendly, helpful place to share the challenges of motherhood with fellow moms.

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Join The Conversation
Kait45654 Kait45654 6 years
I think it can be viewed both ways, but there is nothing glamorous about being a teenager and having the responsibilities of an adult so young. Most of these girls are trying to finish school and go to college and do well for themselves. Some are forced to make difficult choices like drop out to work or get their GED. On top of all of this several of these young girls are already single-mothers! So no in my opinion this show is not to glamorize teen motherhood. Now there have been a few bad seeds in the show that have made some bad decision and I think these girls should be on the show. Sorry, but some people don't choose to be a parent first and that is all part of becoming a teen mother and those really hard adult decision you are forced to make at such a young age. Teen parenthood is not easy; these parents are forced to make HUGE decisions and on top of that in front of national TV. Weather a teenager sees it on TV or not they are still having sex, if they see the show they might make better decisions about protection or having sex in the first place. If anything the show can generate a great conversation amongst youth or with their parents. I work with juveniles everyday and think it could be a great tool.
KimmyGreen KimmyGreen 6 years
I absolutely believe these shows are glamorizing teen pregnancy. Seriously how many teen moms parents can afford to buy them there own house. I was a teen mom and my parents and I struggle to make sure everything is taken care of. I watch the show Teen mom mainly because it came out after i got pregnant and it related to my life. But watching this show I mean some of the moms live at home with there parents and treat them like shit. I would be kicked out of the house if i treated my parents like that. And my parents can't afford to buy me a house like on the new season of teen mom. And most men don't stick around and marry there babies mom. Some of it just seems like total fantasy. This is just coming from someone who has been there and is still living at home and struggle to attend college and take care of my son and deal with my parents.
TrinaLGrant TrinaLGrant 6 years
I absolutely believe these shows glamorize teen pregnancy. When the majority of our tv shows these days are 'reality' shows where people do anything and everything, no matter how immoral and demoralizing, to get fame and fortune, or even fame without the fortune, we are setting an example to our girls to do anything to get on tv. There was a time when pervading mentality would have made it so the LAST thing a pregnant teen would have gotten was her own tv show. This is just crazy. Let's pay these girls to live this way, and make them famous too. Good grief. Little girls should be worrying about little girl stuff. Instead of trying to expose them to anything and everything and then EXPLAIN it, why don't we PROTECT our children, instead of ARMING them?
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