On air: Is being a teenage mum a bad thing?

This started on the blog after yesterday’s show with news of Britney Spears’ teenager sister having her first child.

Then we heard about the school in Boston where a group of girls appear to have made a pact to get pregnant at the same time. The reaction to Jamie Lynn Spears first child has on the whole been disapproving, but must it always be like that when young women get pregnant?

Are teenage pregnancies inherently a bad idea? Or are there circumstances when it makes complete sense? If that’s so, what are those circumstances? Does a young woman need to be a relationship? Or doesn’t that matter if there’s family support coming from elsewhere? And isn’t it simply healthier for a woman to have a child when her body is best prepared to do so? Tell us about your and your countries attitudes towards teenage mums.

94 Responses to “On air: Is being a teenage mum a bad thing?”

  1. 1 Brett
    June 20, 2008 at 13:56

    Is it a great idea to plan on being a teenage mom? Most likely not due to a lack of established career or income (and often times lower income than a comparable person 10 years older), but I applaud those who do it and do it well and wholeheartedly.
    Teen parents which I have seen often have a great family support structure to help them along. And the ones that get over themselves quick and stop being a selfish youth and devote their lives to their child do wonderful with their children.
    It’s those that want to live the youthful life, and pawn their child off on their parents that are irresponsible in regards to raising their child.

    It’s like Chris Rock said “If a child calls their grandma ‘mom’ and their mom ‘Pam’, that kids goin to jail… You gotta get your ‘club on’ or your ‘kid on’, you can’t get both on at the same time”
    Which makes a very good point about the lack of involvement in young parents with the grandparents often raising the kids or doing most of the work or financial support.

  2. 2 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 14:13

    Technically no. You have the highest odds of healthy kids, and you won’t be a senior citizen by the time they become adults, if you had a child at 16. However, I personally don’t think it’s necessarily wise. If you cannot support yourself, you shouldn’t be bringing people into the world you cannot support. So this question could be extended to those people, regardless of age, that rely on welfare, or UN aid, when they cannot feed themselves, let alone their 7 children.

  3. 3 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 14:15

    I think the key, scary aspect of the article I linked to yesterday was that one of the fathers was a homeless guy. I’m curious, did the girl plan on moving into his cardboard box? Or does this show the lack of capability of thinking things through?

  4. 4 Brett
    June 20, 2008 at 14:17

    Exactly steve, I have grown up and known 17 and 18 year old mothers who were far better and more equipped to raise a child than many 35 and 40 year olds.
    And this is in referrence not only to their ability and will to raise a child, but their financial situation and personal and family support structure. Alot of good friends and close family will go a long way in helping to raise a child and give a base for a strong and willing mother or father to do her or his thing.

  5. 5 Julie P
    June 20, 2008 at 14:37

    I listened to one of the teenage young women get interviewed about her decision to have a baby at her age. She said she finally had someone to love her unconditionally. Low self-esteem is not good enough reason to have a baby.

  6. 6 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 14:43

    @ Julie P

    I doubt that was the real reason. She was probably micking something she heard someone else said. I have a feeling this was following a trend. But if it’s true, low self esteem, not only will she be damaged by having a kid, she will damage the kid as well. Low self esteem leads to very bad decisions, some of which harm others as well.

  7. 7 Julie P
    June 20, 2008 at 14:51


    I’ve heard other teenage women state that as a reason. At that age, teenagers are very suggestable, so the person I heard in that interview may have been given the mantra. I happen to feel if there is not love enough for one, then there isn’t love enough for two. Perhaps, if unconditional love is the real, start with a pet, like a cat or dog.

  8. 8 Ros Atkins
    June 20, 2008 at 14:56

    Speaking of teen pregnancies…..check out this article from Time Magazine. I can’t say whether or not this represents a general trend in teenage decision making; I kind of doubt it but it definitely shocked the hell out of me. However, according to this article the number of teenage pregnancies in the US has increased over the last couple years.


    Have a nice weekend, Ros!

  9. 9 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 15:03

    @ Julie P

    Yes, I suppose they could follow the Paris Hilton trend, and get one of those dogs that can fit in your handbag. It’s amazing how mindless so many people are. It wouldn’t shock me if it ever became trendy to cut off one’s pinky.

  10. 10 jade
    June 20, 2008 at 15:07

    there was a time when as soon as a girl had her first period, she could be a mother, and married off. there was a great deal of clan support to take care of her kids. on the other hand, a female who was aware of bigger things and knew many things could also be deemed a witch.

    looks like it has something to do with whether we are over-educated: who needs to know what things?

  11. 11 savane
    June 20, 2008 at 15:26

    Somewhere in the world today, a child has asked its mama: “Why did you decide to have me while you were still a teenager?” And that mama will reply “Well duh!!! C’os like, my girlfriends and I, like made a pact, to like, get pregnant together, c’os we thought it would be like, really cool! Dont’cha think it’s way cool we both use the same ID to get into a 21 and over club!”.

    Not sure my slang is up to par! I’m 40 and had my first child at 28!

    If you……..
    ………make your decisions based on ‘group consensus’;
    ……..believe a baby will give you unconditional love;
    ……can’t afford to feed, educate, clothe and house your ‘bundle of unconditional love’ (let alone yourself) and believe your parents wish to relive your baby years by raising your child, their grandchild, so that you can experience your youth as you could have if you weren’t a teen mama……


    Why we must have a valid driving license to operate an inanimate object, but not to become a parent at any age? Hmmmh!!!

  12. 12 CarlosK
    June 20, 2008 at 15:26

    Hi All

    Being a teenage mum is not a bad thing if doing so doesn’t break the law of Heaven and earth.

    In any civilized country, there is a law known asthe age of consent. It varies from country to country. In Jamaica that age is 16 years. That doesn’t mean its ok for every 16 year old girdl to get pregnant. It simply means that the man who fathers the child will not be imprisoned!

    I will defer to the medical practitioners to decided what is the earliest age at which the female anatomy is ready and it is safe to become pregnant without it posing a physical challenge to the mother.

    However, the more important consideration for me is the mental readiness of the girl. Getting pregnant and carrying the fetus is a very big responsibility. This process should not be undertaken willy-nilly or as a fad. Those girls who were not prepare mentally for motherwoos will soon wake up and well the coffee or more appropriately the dirty diapers! and then they will realize what a huge mistake they have made.

    But the most important reason to prevent teenage pregnancy is the danger of AIDs getting out of hand. Did any of the advocates check out how many of those girls were infected with HIV? Syphilis, Gonorrhea, etc? Unsafe sex is going to lead to a world health crisis.

    Finally, if we only they had read and respected and accepted the good old book as it relates to having sex in marriage they would not become pregnant. If any of them are legally married then there is no case to answer however if they are not them Society has another big problem on its hand and on the way.

    Carlos, Kingston-Jamaica.

  13. 13 Atsu
    June 20, 2008 at 15:27

    In Ghana teenage pregnancy cannot be good under any circumstance. it mostly ends the education of the mother, very few teenager, even with a wealthy background are able to further their education after delivery.

  14. 14 Anonymous
    June 20, 2008 at 15:29

    I personally happen to be part of this statistic. I was raised in a very conservative environment and became pregnant at 15 (my FIRST time!!). Fortunately, I had the support of my family to ‘survive and succeed’ in spite of the odds. I was strongly opposed to abortion at the time and could not fathom the idea of adopting my child out, therefore became a 16 year old mother. I missed out on all things social between 16-25, but being a single mother inspired me to fight for a college education (including my graduate degree) in order to support my daughter + become an appropriate role model. It was a struggle but infused my life with a strength I would never have aspired to otherwise. I am now 36, with an almost 20 year old. Everyone thinks we are sisters and we have a strong bond. I would not change my experience as it has formed both of us into who we are today–not without bumps and bruises.

  15. 15 Anthony
    June 20, 2008 at 15:32

    In California I hear a few things from young girls:

    1)It will be fun!
    2)It will be cute!
    3)I want me and my kid to be best friends! 🙂

    I truley feel sorry for these babies. They are going to grow up with a disadvantage, and a stupid mother.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 16 jo
      May 5, 2009 at 16:31

      hi , i disagree with some of the comments on here im a young parent myself i had my son at the age of 14 hes not 2 years old and i work for salford foundation i would die for my son i think its totally wrong that people can judge other people you dont know what its like untill uve been through it yourself !

  16. June 20, 2008 at 15:32

    I don’t know about it being bad or good. The cause of the rise in teenage pregnancies in the US is due to policies and , a good bridge to the next topic, “western lifestyle”. Again I reference the fact that as a young girl growing up in the poorer areas and demographics of the country, your role models are the people you se around you. Boys see successful drug dealers and gang member. (For some reason unsuccessful drug dealers and gang members are not around.) Girls see welfare financed mothers. This is something they can do with out any training.

    Also, as children grow into their teens and look for the meaning of life and their self worth, they also long for attention. In a world where it requires both parents to work 40 hours a week, these girls get attention from other sources. Being pregnant? That brings further attention and a new “meaning to life”.

    If we want to continue this trend of adding more poor, uneducated, self absorbed, people dependant on the government (and by extension the community at large) then teenage pregnancy is a good thing. They really do make good Whopper floppers and Wal-Mart stock personnel.

  17. 18 Nelson
    June 20, 2008 at 15:33

    Teenage pregnancy does no one good, the girl, the baby. Both are often the losers in the long run. It shows the declining moral standards where standard family values have taken a back seat. It makes no sense under any circumstances. In Nigeria, where I currently Reside, Teenage Pregancy is viewed as a anomaly and treated as such, unless the girl is from a rich home, her education is most likely to end and 9 out of 10 times the guy in question doesnt take responsibilty, continues his education, pays no family support while mother and baby left in the lurch. With serious consequences in the long run. There’s a stigma attached to be a teenage mum in nigeria because it runs contrary to strong family values for which Nigerians and Africans are generally known for

  18. 19 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 15:41

    @ Savane

    But older people have more health risks if they have kids. Is it really worse for a teen to have a kid, than a 58 year old woman who just as selfishly wants a child? Remember some woman, I believe in Italy, had in vitro done so she could be a mother at really old age? How immature is that? Risk of autism grows exponentially as the age of the parents increases.

  19. 20 Nelson
    June 20, 2008 at 16:08

    To support what i said earlier on, i have an 17 year old cousin who has a one year old baby. Now she was on d verge of getting financial aid to continue her studies when she became pregnant. For now her education is effectively put on hold, she now has to do work to support herself and her baby. The Baby’s father has since finished his university education. I dont know may be its different in other parts of the world but i think that more often than not the girls get the shorter end of the stick. Every girl has d right to decide her own destiny but they should be guided about the right choices.

  20. 21 Nick in USA
    June 20, 2008 at 16:10

    Well, age isn’t the most important factor, but it sure is a good indicator. How many 16 yr old girls do you know who have the selflessness and responsibility to have a child? To raise a child properly, the parents need to dedicate every minute of their day to the child. Whether that be working to buy food or to prepare food. I’ve never met a 16 yr. old who is capable of this. On the other hand, I’ve met very few people over the age of 16 who could do this. Moral of my post, most people really shouldn’t have kids.

  21. 22 Anthony
    June 20, 2008 at 16:11

    It’s important that we remember that its teens TODAY who are to immature to have kids. Mary had Jesus at 13 or 14. Its now that things are different. Back then, sure, why not. The female body tells women when they can physically start having kids. Now is a different story.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  22. 23 Mark from kansas
    June 20, 2008 at 16:20

    No, many times no. There are enough bad, inexperienced parents, heck there are bad experienced parents, not raising their children. Not all young parents are bad parents, but the odds are not in their favor. It is insane to think that it is a good idead for a child to have a child. It frightens me what is happenening to future generations. If you have to have a license to operate a car, or a certification to build a structure, you should be certified to be a parent, probably well after you’ve had you drivers license. As that will not happen, we need to educate children. The Abstinence only education is not working in the US and does not teach them a thing. Parents (probably teenage parents themselves) are not teaching them self controll or personal responsability, and the TV and internet that has raised them is a horrible example (this pregnancy pact thing sounds like a bad sitcom). I know this is not the case for everyone, but I am willing to bet the bank it describes a majority of the teenage parents (male and female). How are they going to teach their children how to be productive responsible adults, they will be changing diapers when they are supposed to be learning these traits. Or their parents will be raising their children and the will be out partying to try and forget their mistake, and most likely make more babies. hurumph hurumph hurumph….

  23. 24 Jessica in NYC
    June 20, 2008 at 16:29

    Yes! Teenagers should absolutely not be having kids, especially so that someone will love them unconditionally. I know plenty of women how had children as a teenager. While none of the regret having their children all of them wish they had waited and been more prepared. It’s appalling that kids would think this is cool, because some celerities are having a baby at a young age.

    @Anonymous, good for you, you prevailed desite the diccult odds as you yourself pointed out. Unfortunately, not many mothers have a success story like yours.

  24. 25 Venessa
    June 20, 2008 at 16:45

    @ Anonymous

    I commend your drive to ensure a good future. You were very lucky to have a supportive family. Unfortunately I think you are the exception.

    “Are teenage pregnancies inherently a bad idea?”

    I am in no way the moral police but I don’t think it’s the smartest thing to have a child so young. A child raising a child significantly increase the set the individual up for unnecessary hurdles, such as finishing their educations and supporting the child at the same time. I haven’t seen the statistics but I’m sure most of these girls do end up with the responsibility without a father.

    Of course as Brett points out there are plenty of adults out there just as incapable of raising a child.

  25. 26 Nick in USA
    June 20, 2008 at 16:48

    Oh, and in response to the main story…. Neither Jamie Lynn nor Britney has the mental capacity to raise a child. I don’t know what happened in their family, but they are both headcases. I would also recommend that Jessica Simpson refrain from breeding. The south seems to have a lot of what I call prettiots (pretty + idiots). They are quite prone to teenage breeding. I’m not saying that the north doesn’t have it’s fair share, just that I see more living down here.

  26. 27 Venessa
    June 20, 2008 at 16:48

    @ Anonymous

    Can I ask if the father of your child participated in raising your daughter? What was your experience with that?

  27. 28 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 16:51

    @ Nick

    As much as I would love for there to be IQ tests for breeding, it’s not permissible here. Any idiot is free to have kids, and subject the rest of the world to the damage they can do. Remember some idiot having a child who is also an idiot might be the one that decides to drive 120 mph down the wrong way of a two lane highway and kill a loved one of yours.

  28. 29 Julie P
    June 20, 2008 at 16:57


    Back in the olden days it also used to be that life expectancy was significanly less than it is now. A century ago the life expectancy was 42 years of age, so having children that young would make sense. Also, there were plenty of babies who did not survive infancy or childhood, which would be a contributing factor to having children that young and a need to have many children. Today, there isn’t the need to have children that young. The female does tell a woman when she fertile and is capable of having producing children; however, the best age group to have a child is between 18 and 35. Before 18 a woman’s body is still growing, not making it an ideal time to get pregnant. Over the age of 35 eggs are not as healthy as they once were and the baby can be born with Down Syndrome, or other complications. The woman’s health can be at a greater risk with problems like high blood pressure, the kind that can kill.

  29. June 20, 2008 at 17:01

    Hi WHYSers!

    Well, I think it is goes without saying that teenaged pregnancy, especially in the current dispensation brings with it all kinds of challenges, not the least among them lack of appropriate (?) experience for motherhood. Jamie Lyn Spears’ new daughter has perhaps, rightly or wrongly, placed that issue firmly on the agenda.

    For my part, I am not sufficiently convinced that teenaged mothers cannot be good mothers, as these are largely learned characteristics. However, I will accept that where one lacks a certain amount of necessary life experiences, however these are defined, then trouble is very liklely.

    Indeed, I am reminded that according to the Christian Nativity story, Mary was also a teenager when she conceived and gave birth to one of the greatest teachers to have walked the planet. In that regard, one has to be careful not to paint all teenaged mothers in the same way. (And I am not comparing Jamie Lyn Spears to St. Mary!)

  30. 31 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 17:04

    A major problem with the Jamie Lynn Spears thing, if other teens are thinking “wow, she’s pregnant, so I should get pregnant too!”. See, Jamie Lynn Spears is rich. She has a lot of money, and though she probably will squander it eventually, unlike your average teenager, Jamie Lynn won’t be needing to go on welfare. So since the vast majority of teen girls are not celebrities and aren’t rich, they aren’t obviously thinking about the financial aspects of things, but then again, if you are as self absorbed as people are these days, you’re obviously not going to think about that.

  31. June 20, 2008 at 17:07

    That said, let me ask: is anyone ever truly prepared to a parent or is all of this stuff, basically, learn-as-go kind of stuff?

    Surely, parenting classes, books and good role models help but are these a guarantee? And what of those who have no children of their own but are nonetheless capable of imparting critical values, love, support and all the other trappings of being a parent to other peoples’ children? Are they any less capable of being a good or effective parent because they do not have children of their own?…Just curious.

  32. 33 Anthony
    June 20, 2008 at 17:11

    @ Julie P

    Female fertility peaks at around 23-24, not 18. So should women wait till 23 to have a kid? Also, I was simply stating that it was socially acceptable, and more likely a lot more mature than todays young teens.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  33. 34 Mark from kansas
    June 20, 2008 at 17:16

    Yes 23 is a great age to be a parent

  34. 35 The Spangle Maker
    June 20, 2008 at 17:17

    + There is little to suggest being a teenage mom is inherently a bad thing. Some mothers can do a fine job at a young age. However, one has to assume pregnancy at this age is rarely a choice—and if it is, whether the decision comes from a good healthy place.

    + However, you could also propose whether it is a sign of good mental health to have a child at any age!

    – Portland, Oregon

  35. June 20, 2008 at 17:26

    @ Steve,

    I only intended to say that the Jamie Lyn Spears baby mama affair is driving this issue today (I am sure!), not so much that her wealth and celebrity somehow exculpates her, if indeed, culpability is what is being discussed here.

    What I do know, however, is that the point of teenaged pregnancy and poverty is very real. I am almost always distressed when I see where young girls have made the mistakes of so many others before them while most of the young men are able to escape, in most instances, scot’s free, even go on to achieve wealth and status through educational and other opportunities which are sealed off from most teenaged mothers as a result.

    That, certainly, speaks to the inequality of the sexual relationship, especially at this age, which to me, is also a key part of what this issue forces us to contend with. To what extent are teenagers prepared to be mothes and does it follow that because they are able to have kids that they should? Is there a point at which parents take some responsibility for the actions of their children in this regard? Or am I treading on dangerous ground by suggesting this?

    Indeed, is that even the question? Or, is it but another way of restricting personal freedoms? How is freedom defined here?

  36. 37 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 20, 2008 at 17:27

    Is being a teenage mum a bad thing?

    First, I think being an irresponsible and crappy mum is a bad thing. Not all teenage mothers are bad mothers, like not all “grown-up” mothers are good mothers. Each case it’s different. However…

    I think is better to wait to be an adult to have a child. It is a huge responsibility and a lot of work. Sixteen years old girls are not mature enough to handle the pressure. Sadly, many of them have to grow-up very fast when they become pregnant at that age.

    Taking care of a baby is not easy. Nobody is really fully prepared when they become parents. It should be an informed and thoughtful decision. Usually, teenage pregnancy is the opposite.

    And finally, I think not all persons are suited to have children. I have friends that have decide not to have children, they don’t have any desire to become pregnant. That kind of decision can only be made by women -and men- that are old enough to understand what entitles to have children. With so many unwanted and unloved children in the world, we should prevent teenage pregnancy in order to give all girls -and boys- the chance to become mature enough to make the right decisions.

  37. 38 Julie P
    June 20, 2008 at 17:32


    I never stated that a woman’s fertility peaks at 18. I stated the age group that is best suited for having babies. 18 to 35. Women’s fertility peaks at 27 or 29, and that does not mean that a woman should delay a pregnancy until peak fertility, what it means is that are better physical times in a woman’s life when it better to have a baby. I understand your point about maturity, but I was, and still am, pointing out that way back when life was about more about basic survival than it is today. Today we have for more complex societies than ever.

  38. 39 Venessa
    June 20, 2008 at 17:45

    @ Nick

    Your post made me laugh out loud! We should add Paris Hilton & Lindsey Lohan to that list. Maybe Lindsay’s younger sister will follow in Jamie Lynn’s footsteps and get pregnant young. Unfortunately it’s too late and Nicole Ritchie is already pro-creating. Of course as Steve pointed out none of these people live in the real world where there is truly financial struggles.

  39. 40 Anonymous
    June 20, 2008 at 17:46

    The father of my daughter was almost 7 years my senior–certainly grounds for statitory rape at my age of 15. I married him at 16–a horrible mistake–and was divorced a year later. He was moderately involved the first few years by ‘visiting’ our daughter every other week and providing a pittance of child support, which was court enforced (the amount never changed in 18 years and was just enough to purchase a school lunch). After a few years, he grew tired and discontinued his visits. I regret that my daughter did not have a healthy relationship with her father the way I would have wanted, but am fortunate that my own father (her grandfather) has been a strong support in her life.

  40. 41 Will Rhodes
    June 20, 2008 at 17:48

    Certainly not a wise thing – but bad? No, it isn’t a bad thing – calling it a bad thing brings about resentment of both mother and child, it seems we are on the U-turn back to the 40s and 50s in our thinking.

    That African saying “It takes one person to have a child – it takes the whole village to raise it” comes to mind.

    The child is innocent and with a young women having that child we should support her not castigate her.

    We can explain why it isn’t a wise thing to do and hope she learns from that wisdom.

  41. June 20, 2008 at 17:50

    It was all normal for teenage girls to have children as many of them used to get married just after puberty , that is at the age of 14.

    Today there is the issue with teenage girls who get children out of wedlock. Such girls have to be bear more responsibilities than teenage wives in the past who were just mere housewives, having their husbands provide for them. Today, they may be still students and they have to care for their studies. It can be difficult for them to be both mothers and students at this age. There are who can’t cope and so they give up their children for adoption.

    But when pregnancy happens, at least he family of the teenage mother should be supportive. Some girls want to have the experience of being mothers without waiting to get married or be in their twenties. Such girls should get the guidance to take care of their children although they have the mother’s instinct to protect them. However for the good of the child, there is nothing like having a family where the child is surrounded by both the father and the mother.

  42. 43 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 17:56

    Is this a trick question? If you say ‘yes’, you’ve got 18,19 year olds who will tell you you’re a sexist pig. If you say ‘no’ the teenagers under 18 will say your a tramp. Some might say you can’t win for losing.

  43. 44 Chantal Noelle
    June 20, 2008 at 17:57

    Is being a teenage mum a bad thing?

    I think it really all depends because sometimes it works out for the better and sometimes it works out for the worst. Ultimately, I believe the gift of life is the most precious thing ever but as a teenager with someone so young they still have their whole life ahead of them and if they choose that over their children then what is the point of have kid. Yes, accidents happen but you always have a choice.

    Overall, I believe that it isn’t a bad thing nor a good thing. I believe that it depends on how you take the situation. From my experiences with my friends I’ve seen that being a teenage mom is hard because here you are home with your kids and here are you friends, out and about. My friend mentioned even though she doesn’t get to do the things she wished she could have done, no matter what at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her kids in for anything.

  44. 45 jade
    June 20, 2008 at 18:03

    I pity a child who wants or has to grow up too soon. the loss of innocence also lead to losing natural motivation and curiosity to learn. often school grades drop and peer pressure force kids to learn from “cool” role models who don’t always teach healthy values and lifestyles.

  45. June 20, 2008 at 18:04

    @ Luz Maria Guzman from Mexico,

    Thanks for your insights! I totally agree! Being a bad mum is worst than being a teengaged mum, any day!

    As for the actively choosing whether or not one wants to be pregnant could not agree more with your point – not all persons are suited to have children.

  46. 47 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 20, 2008 at 18:05

    About Julie P. quote of one of the pregnant teenagers in Boston:

    “I listened to one of the teenage young women get interviewed about her decision to have a baby at her age. She said she finally had someone to love her unconditionally.”

    Well.. I think this girl will change her mind about the “unconditional lover of her baby towards her” when she, for example:
    has to feed him/her every three hours for about 4 months;
    has to deal with temper tamtrums when him/her is two year old;
    has to wash clothes full of vomit because of stomach flu;
    has to stay awake all night taking care of a high fever;

    Most parents take proper care of their children and don´t complain about it, because they unconditionally love their children. Because, although is a lot of work raising children, they are the most precious living beings in the world.

    However, children should not be asked to unconditionally love their parents. They didn´t choose to come to this world. It is really selfish and inmature of this girl to expect unconditional love from her baby.

  47. 48 G5000
    June 20, 2008 at 18:05

    The reasoning that children had children when they were 14 years old in centuries past doesn’t wash. The reason they had children so young is becuase they died young. That simply is not the case today.

    Life was harsher in the past. Today’s teen falls apart when the nearest convenience store runs out of cherry Coke.

    Anecodotes of the rare teen who is successful at raising a child are worthless. When you look at the mean, teens are neither emotionally nor financially prepared in any way to raise a child.

  48. 49 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 18:06

    Alright I’m going to interject a category of adults vs. children into this so I can at least not offend one group. As Julie P. rightly points out after 18 a woman’s body is more than ready for a child and some still do whatever else they want including going to college.

    So I will stick to children here: how in the world on this planet is that even a serious question. It doesn’t have to be bad to be not good. The point of getting pregnant especially at the age under 18 is to populate more, not repopulate. How many people blame the food crisis on overpopulation?

  49. 50 John in Salem
    June 20, 2008 at 18:06

    As a rule, yes. Teenagers generally lack the ability to see lifestyle choices in terms of eventual cost. Having a child is usually going to determine what choices will be available and anything that might limit one’s options needs to be weighed seriously. Adolescents simply don’t have the tools to make those kind of choices intelligently.
    Of course, being an adult doesn’t guarantee an ability to make mature choices either (just look at the number of fools having kids in their 40’s), but leaving your options open as long as possible is always the best route.
    Personally I think the best time is when adolescence ends, around 25 or so.

  50. 51 Ashi in New Jersey
    June 20, 2008 at 18:08

    Even though I believe that we all have a free choice to decide the course of our lives and have kids when we choose, we must take into consideration that in the US we dont lets kids under the age of 18 to vote, drive, and drink alcohol. The law even says that a child under 18 must have a legal guardian. If we cant trust these children to make their own life decisions, how can we trust them with another life. Also not always, but many of the girls who get pregnant in my high school dropped out at an early age and stopped their education prematurely. Also while working with my father at his Medical Center, I saw many tennage mothers who felt it was ok to have kids at a young age since their mothers had them at very young ages. This is a sort of vicious cycle.

  51. 52 Vijay
    June 20, 2008 at 18:08

    No of course it isn’t,but then again it does depend on the context,if the girl has a supportive family and community as well as state aid then all well and good, if not then it would be better to abort,it is the girls choice.
    This topic is about gender and equality and how women are judged on their fecundity by men and society .

  52. 53 Robert
    June 20, 2008 at 18:08

    To World Have Your Say:

    I am a parent of two children and know how much work raising children can be. Teenagers do not have the required wisdom and maturity. They must have a minimum of a high school education before being allowed to having children. All schools must offer child-rearing education classes. If teenagers think they are ready to have children, keep a full-time job, and possibly go to college–all at the same time–they are sadly deluded.

  53. 54 Virginia Davis
    June 20, 2008 at 18:10

    Good morning all: I chose to give my child up for adoption. Because I knew I was not ready to raise a child. My mother chose to have me so she would have someone who loved her “unconditionally.” She was 30 or so when I was born. I am glad to hear “anon”‘s story. And sad the father was a flake.

    And for the “flurry” in Massachusetts, I like the question: “What are their options?”
    As for Jamie Lynn Spears and her new daughter, Mattie, I wish the family the best.
    What else would one do for “aliens?” Bet on their breeding as you would race horses which we all know now are exactly being bred responsibly – Congress is concerned!

    Virginia in Oregon

  54. 55 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 18:10

    Can I seriously ask all the nay sayers of which I’m one: Do you include 18 and 19 year olds in your statement?

  55. 56 Venessa
    June 20, 2008 at 18:15


    I would say that it is not a very good choice even at 18 or 19. People change alot in their 20’s, financially struggle as they become a part of the workforce and if I were in the same situation I can’t imagine adding a child to that equation.

  56. June 20, 2008 at 18:15

    There are still many teenage wives with children in different societies where the legal age of marriage for females is 16, in others it can be less as the age of marriage is equated with the start of menstruation.

    The problem with single teenage mums is that they will find it difficult to raise their children and live their lives normally considering the different requirements of modern society. These mums will find it difficult to be financially independent to have enough money for themselves and their children. The first victim of a bad teenage mum is the child, especially if the mum becomes cut off from her family or when she is a drug addict. This can have bad effects on the child who should enjoy a normal family life.

  57. 58 Sathish
    June 20, 2008 at 18:15

    To understand the dynamics and implications of teenage pregnancy, my suggestion would be to read Freakonomics by Stephen Levitt, a Chicago economist. This is some scholarly socioeconomic work. It talks about the cause for the decrease in crime rate.

    Link to this book:

  58. 59 Julie P
    June 20, 2008 at 18:16


    A slight amendment to your comment. Depending on how far you are over the age of consent it could go from “sexist pig” to pervert. (I think you are referring males on that point.) I think for the minors the word “tramp” has been replaced with “skank”.

    What astounds me about this whole situation with this group of young women is they made a pact. What I would like to know is where were the parents?! Or how was it that no one learned anything? Let’s face it, I was a teenager once, and I can tell you we blabbed like there was no tomorrow; one of my friends parents would have found something out and would have blown the whistle. BIG TIME. I’ve been sitting here wondering how many of the males 18 and over are going to get charged with statory rape. I can see my dad at the local police station filing charges as I write.

  59. 60 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 18:17

    just look at the number of fools having kids in their 40’s

    That includes me as a child, and my neice, both from Stanford educated moms.

    That’s a bad generalization; in their 60’s and 70’s yes. The guys who’re all ramped up on Viagra and studding out their sperm to any available women: that’s a little bit more than foolish, that’s just insane. Surrogate mothers in their 60’s is also not one of modern sciences best achievements.

  60. 61 savane
    June 20, 2008 at 18:17


    I read an article (sometime ago – in the late 20th century), that as women we can ‘rejoice’ that we can have babies after 40 because contrary to popular belief (at the time), we aren’t born with all our eggs! But motherhood at 58? I agree with you Steve – I don’t think that’s right either! You’d better have an incredible pension plan to see that child through school!!! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

    Younger body doesn’t make pregnancy and giving birth easier.

    Quick medical lesson (I have no medical training). I worked for AMREF, one of Africa’s leading health NGOs.

    One of the complications of early childbirth is VVF (vasicovaginal fistula). When a girl gives birth before full pelvic growth, labour may be prolonged and this puts pressure on the bladder, urethra and ‘Va-J-J’ tissues, which in turn can tear! These girls end up with leaking bladders and without medical intervention, due to either lack of knowlege, money or access to medical treatment, are often ostracised by their husbands, families and communities.

    Treatment is not seen as a priority area for Governments. In Eastern Africa, only AMREF’s outreach programme (‘Flying Doctors’) and the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital for Poor Women with Childhood Injuries facilitate this operation, and treat less than 1,000 cases per year across 8 countries, barely scratching the surface! The 25-minute operation costs about US$250 and both organisations rely on financial donations. The youngest patient treated was 9 years old. I met a 54-year lady whose 40-year old daughter found out that her mother’s condition was treatable – 40 years later! The change in both mother and daughter post-surgery is indescribable!

  61. 62 Jade in Scotland
    June 20, 2008 at 18:17

    I am 14 years of age and in my school just now i have a person in my year who is pregnant. Throughout the past 3 years of me being at high school i have come across many people who have been young and pregnant. What i have come to realise is that they think it is ” cool ” to have sex when young but also do not know the consequenices that can come out of it. I put this down sex education, as we do not get enough information from it !

  62. 63 Peter L
    June 20, 2008 at 18:19

    God intended us to start families when we reach puberty. At that age we would have earn the rite of passage to get married. Today earning that rite would mean getting the education to land that cushy job. It takes a longer time but our biological clock runs as usual. Back then we could be respected teenage parents , today teenage parents are treated as delinquents.

    June 20, 2008 at 18:20

    Yes. But once re elected the President should be monitored very closely. Its so bcoz once re elected they forget their duty hence they know they will never come back,thats the danger. TEEN PREGNANCES. Teenagers are not supposed to be pregnant bcoz they are not mature. For those Boston girls I think its madness. Whether there is support or not Teenage pregnancies bring death and alot of complications to families. It doesnt make sense at all to see little girls in relationships. Here in Malawi it leads to divorces, Fathers accuses Mothers of not taking of the girl properly. Neighbours and other families also gossip and see it as a weakness to the family. Its a laughing stoke and talk of the village. For Christians sex outside marriage is sin which is punishable by death. Bcoz sex was meant for legally married ppo only. Thats why Virginity is very important for both Christians and Muslims. Its unfortunate to Jamie Lynn Spears but I hope other Teenagers will take note and change!

  64. 65 debra - austin, texas
    June 20, 2008 at 18:22

    Is there any good reason for teenage pregnancy??? I can’t think of one.
    The world is overpopulated. If girls start having babies at 16, the odds are they will produce more children than someone who is having children at 25 or so.
    Also, what about the education of these girls. A baby takes all the attention of the mother. If a girl has a baby at 16, her education, her career, her life as anything other than a mother is pretty much out the window.

  65. 66 Jens
    June 20, 2008 at 18:26

    could somebody tell me what Jamie Lyn Spears is fameouse for? Surely she cannot be a descendend of Burning Spears…..

  66. 67 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 18:26


    You won’t get bashed as much for saying that and you definitely have more grounds to decide I admit.

    However I know some 18 year olds who can make a pretty good argument to say that they only want one child, they want to have the child young, then they want to go on and pursue their goals with the child. I don’t disagree with that philosophy, especially given the divorce rate, young people often stay amicable as parents together for the child’s sake. Adults get so many preconceived notions and end up so biased after a divorce that it tears a family apart. Young adults can be wiser that way actually. Of course you can generalize to say that the family will stay together but then I can generalize to say the other half breaks up- quite the paradigm.

  67. 68 Joseph - Seattle
    June 20, 2008 at 18:26

    I think the issue of teen pregnancy gets at the heart of whether we human beings are a sustainable species or not, and reflects our unplanned economies.
    Unplanned babies are a result of unplanned economies.

    Irregardless of age, all women having babies should:
    1) Have plenty of money,
    2) Actually want the baby,
    3) Not live in a over-populated region.

  68. 69 Pat - Belize
    June 20, 2008 at 18:28

    Where is the Child in all this. Surely the responsibility of a child from conception to the grave falls on the mother and that responsibility is AWESOME.

  69. June 20, 2008 at 18:29

    It appears that having a baby has become a joke.First of all a teen age girl cannot look after herself adequately .It is a crime to bring forth a baby when you are unable to look after yourself.First and for most you must be physically fit, emotionally stable and economically sound to look after a baby.It is not a doll.Hence the best time is between 21 and thirty subject to(PEE)Physical ,emotional ,economical.
    If the girls want to have sex let them have it, but don’t bring forth babies in their teens

  70. 71 Julie P
    June 20, 2008 at 18:30


    Yup, Jamie Lee is the baby sister of trailer trash Britney. I think Jamie Lee is famous being pregnant. I can’t think of anything else.

  71. 72 Venessa
    June 20, 2008 at 18:30


    I do know some people that have had children at 18-19 years old. Some of them are fantastic parents, some not so much.

  72. 73 Jens
    June 20, 2008 at 18:32

    julie P.

    oh dear, I shall carry onlistening to Burning Spears 😉

  73. 74 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 18:35

    I believe Jamie Lynn Spears was the star of a TV show geared towards teens, and they stopped producing the show after she revealed she was pregnant due to the bad example it would set for the girls who watched the show. Remember at the time Jamie Lynn Spears revelaed she was pregnant, her mother was about to release a book about Motherhood and what a good job she did, then it was revealed Brittney is a head case, and Jamie Lynn appears to becoming a trainwreck also, so she never released the book, as it would have been an embarrassment.

  74. 75 Scott R
    June 20, 2008 at 18:38

    Well, based on the news article examples that were provided, it’s certainly an appalling concept. Are babies now a simply a fashion accessory? As a social worker, who deals with this sort of poor decision making on a regular basis, I would say that in many cases, it’s not a good idea for teenagers to be having babies. The young women whom I have met, who are pregnant don’t appear to have any clue what motherhood would be about other than just some other activity that you would do during the day. The father is usually out of the picture or is in the picture, but sulking around in the background, hoping that his girlfriend will work into her ninth month of pregnancy so he won’t have to. The pregnancy is usually presented in the following manner, “Oh I’m four months pregnant. Yeah, I’ve learned a lot already from this experience. I think I’m going to enroll in the community college next semester to become a counselor. Did I tell you that I’m bi-polar? Do you think that I should apply for disability?”

    To respond to your question: “Are teenage mums necessarily a bad thing?” one would have to say “No, not necessarily.” On the other hand, there’s just an awful lot of young men and women, who should not be having children and especially not while they are teenagers. These people just aren’t parents and they never will be. They are simply paving the way for the next generation of child protective service workers.

  75. 76 Ann - Portland, Oregon USA
    June 20, 2008 at 18:44

    Pregnancy at any age is a poor choice — overpopulation is the root cause of the world’s most significant problems.

  76. 77 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 18:44

    I do know some people that have had children at -(18-19 years old). Some of them are fantastic parents, some not so much.

    You can take the extraction there and pretty much describe every set of parents. I’m really basing it on a growing number of people I know at that age that have kids and they have an amazing ability to do better for the child. It is strange because perhaps just 15 years ago I wouldn’t have said that. But now it seems the culture of divorce has actually put enough resentment into the next generation that they take it as a challenge to defy that mold. And the one thing for sure we know is teenagers love to be the rebel.

  77. 78 Jens
    June 20, 2008 at 18:45

    “The guys who’re all ramped up on Viagra and studding out their sperm to any available women: that’s a little bit more than foolish, that’s just insane”

    apparently it is OK to insult suffers of ED on this message board. I wonder how many people suffering from this condition would take this statment in jest.

    yeah insane it is because suffers from ED can lose any self-respect and self-worthiness….

  78. 79 Bin Ali Gaber
    June 20, 2008 at 18:56

    I think it is not shameless matter the girls can be mum as will as teenage but what i want mention here that most of girls during the pergnant time they change thier life and feel they are responsible for their child belive me brothers the girls will not remain teenage after dilevered her child becouse she will feel she is a mother and she will be emotional towards her baby that we have to know we are humanbeings and we have emotin feelings towards our childern..

  79. 80 Betsy Cowan
    June 20, 2008 at 18:57

    I think the question is even bigger than simply a question of whether or not girls should decide whether to have a baby or whether to terminate or prevent the pregnancy. The biggest question is why are so many girls unable to negotiate safe, respectful relationships with men? What is the society doing to encourage girls to respect themselves, demand respect from men and exercise their rights to have safe sex or to delay sex until they are ready? We as a society need to be more concerned and teach our children about these issues, speak about sex and relationships and encourage all of our children to understand and respect their bodies!

  80. 81 Dayan
    June 20, 2008 at 19:03

    This issue of having a baby should not just be generalized. We should be talking about it the context of ever culture, since you can’t compare a 16 year old girl having a baby in America to one in Kenya or India or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

  81. 82 jamily5
    June 20, 2008 at 20:00

    In the USA, we live in a society of paradoxes.
    16yo girls are allowed to freely have sex,
    abort their feeduses without their parents’ knowledge,
    have children,
    but when they throw them in the trash or shake them too hard and the baby suffers:
    we can say that “they are just too young to know any better.”
    We can charge them in juvenile court instead of regular court.
    It is not just a financial thing.
    some have said that if she is able to take care of the child, then it is okay.
    So, wealthy teens are acceptable mothers, but lower income mothers should not be having children?????
    I disagree.
    Can a teen be a good mother?
    Yes, of course!
    But, what needs to happen is that the teen has to go through a change.
    I find many mothers (not all teens, but teens are a large percentage) shirking their responsibilities.
    There is a growing percentage of grandparents that are raising their children.
    nd, teens do have a inaccurate view of reality and the world.
    Not all teens, but many — most.
    they think that the father will stay with them and help.
    They think that it will be as easy as the movies make it appear to be.
    when teens think that they want a baby for attention and/or for unconditional love, they are having children for selfish reasons.
    I am not saying that older people don’t do this.
    I know an older woman — 34years old who has children for this very reason.
    when you enter Motherhood, you have to leave your teenage years behind, for good.

  82. June 20, 2008 at 20:13

    It depends on what bracket of the teenage age group you are referring to. For instance if it is between 18 and 19 years, i have no problem with it especially when it happens after marriage. In my country, 18 years is the legal age of consent where someone is considered old enough to make their own decisions. However, in the contemporary family setting, usually parents prefer their children to complete their studies, which at leas happens at 23 years of age.

    It’s important to not that peer influence plays a very big role in determining when a girl gets pregnant (traditionally known as getting spoiled). this is usually because of the nature of friends involved and the desire to try out things as team!

    I discourage early pregnancies especially those below the age of 18 years, because they usually come with a lot of consequences both on the victims (the girl and the boy or man) and the parents. The responsible boy or man could be sued for defilement, and the girl is likely to get serious medical complications during pregnancy and at delivery.

    It is safer to wait for the right time!

  83. 84 Lisa Artino
    June 20, 2008 at 20:22

    I whole heartedly agree that being a teenage mom is a bad thing. It is this cycle of children bearing children that is ruining America today. All that’s being passed on is ignorace and poverty. The differce between structured family units and single parent homes are easily seen and ignored because we have no shame or regret for mistakes any longer. In the end I believe in supporting the life that was created, but not the mistake of creating it in the first place.

  84. 85 jamily5
    June 20, 2008 at 20:25

    ome note that it was normal for teenage girls to get pregnant at about 14yrs old.
    Yes, this is true.
    but, look around you.
    All the other teens were settling down then.Back in those times or even in different cultures when this happened,
    he girl would marry and join the ranks of motherhood.
    there would be no option of
    part time mother,
    clubbing mother,
    any of that.
    And, the girls would marry first, so even if the man did not want to, he would have to take care of the family. In 1700’s 1800’s and early 1900’s, there was no “teenage” or “adolescent” stage.
    Girls went from child to woman.
    Boys went from child to man. Girls would rely on their female family members to instruct them. Many times, girls nowadays, do a few things differently.
    1. They don’t want to take advice. If you don’t believe me, try telling a teenage mum that she should not be clubbing, but staying home with her baby.
    Now, I know that there are some wonderful teen mums.
    But, honestly, I have seen way too many — and I have seen many teen mums — who decide to act upon their wonderful “freedom,” to raise their child as they see fit.
    So, we have many parents — a large percentage of them teens,
    who want their parents to help with finances and care,
    but want the freedom to raise their children as they see fit.
    You can’t have it both ways.
    You can’t be a child and an adult at the same time.
    You can’t want your parents’ support, yet demand your infinite freedom.
    No, this is not a “teen” problem.
    But, teens have not gotten to the point where they have separated from their parents enough to have a really good relationship of dual adults.
    Many times, there is still relationship problems and the teen is still in independence mode and the parent is still in the caretaking mode.
    So, extended family is a difficult relational challenge, at best.
    In earlier days, parents expected their daughters to marry at 14yo or 16yo and they made the transition and so did the daughters.
    Now, there are different expectations and sometimes teens are caught in the middle of adolescence and independence.
    When they are going through so much struggle of their own, it is hard to devote the time and energy to raising their own child.

  85. 86 jamily5
    June 20, 2008 at 21:01

    I am not always a supporter of stats,
    but more teenage parents — be them mothers or fathers — make selfish and/or ignorant decisions about their child and child care.
    when you see an abuse/neglect case such as (leaving child alone unsupervised — shaken baby syndrome — etc.) in the news (granted, this is media) more cases — not all — are either teen parents and/or former teen parents.
    Unfortunately, it has been proven, that on the average, teens do make more poor decisions about child rearing.
    Now, of course, you could take issue and ask “what exactly is a poor decision,”
    I am just telling you that I have seen many teen parents who begin to raise their child without economic or emotional security.

  86. 87 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 21:11


    Neither am I into stats when it comes to parents, just about every kid I grew up with had parents that divorced in my small country town, I would say 7 out of 10.

    What I’m mainly reacting to is the backlash to that which is occurring amongst people over the age of 18 making informative decisions to have a child, not more, and go on with their lives. In my life I’ve seen this increasing since the time when I was young.

    You would have to show me the argument solely based on women over 18 and you may be right, the #’s may show them to be worse. But I would still rather see them as parents than younger teens.

  87. June 20, 2008 at 21:52

    I am wondering why they have to investigate their pregnancy and even to criminalise it by calling it “a pact”. Is it not consistent with the promotion of sexuality through sex education and through the rights of the child’s articles on sex, information, privacy , and opinion? My view is that the investigation as an investigation, that is, no matter what they intend to do with it, violates the sexual rights of the children, articles 13, 14, 15, and 16 of the rights of the child, and violates their human and social rights.

    My judgment is based on modernism, civilisation, sex education, human rights and freedom, and women’s sexual rights and freedom. I believe that they are investigating them because they see becoming pregnant by them as criminal and not because they had sex before they are married. They would not have been investigated if it was known that they had sex and aborted (murdered) the children that they conceived.

    Prince Awele Odor

  88. 89 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 21, 2008 at 00:03

    Being a male I may not have any experience of pregnancy, living in society I may observe that sucessfull pregnancy of a teenage girl is an end of her freedom & responsible father always try to run from responsibility. Infact both genders are not meature enough to understand responsibility of being father & mother.
    Most of the time facts been linked with accidents, limited knowledge & experience
    of life etc, beside listening problem’s, strubn & non cooperative behaviour with healthy & experienced adult contact i.e parents.
    other aspect of this problem arises from immediate available society from child hood & divided families etc.

  89. June 21, 2008 at 09:25

    Why that doubt? It’s definitely a bad idea.

    It has nothing do with marriage or whether you are rich or whether there is good support mechanism. It’s about the physiological, psychological and emotional factors that go into having a child.

    Child is a product of fusion of a sperm and an egg. That’s just black and white science. But there is — it’s so obvious — much more to the birth of a child than mere fusion of a sperm and an egg. That’s why a boy and girl must be, not just physiogically mature to have a child, but psychologically and emotionally.

    It’s like, we all grow up… but how many of us grow up well… as a socially responsible, mature individual.

    I am a very liberal individual in matters of personal habits, including sex. But I think at some point we all have to draw a line, a line that makes our global society healthy.

  90. 91 Shakhoor Rehman
    June 21, 2008 at 11:48

    Becoming pregnant while still a teenager and then raising a child can have a negative impact on the intellectual powers of any woman that is extremely difficult if not impossible to recover from. The awakening of the intellect in the years from age 14 onwards is crucial in its evolution. To have to deal with the everyday stultification of raising a child is to deal permanent damage that will severely impair the achievement of the apex of the intellectual powers. The late twenties is the time to have children especially in a world where 24-hour community, childcare facilities are virtually non-existent.

  91. 92 Dennis
    June 22, 2008 at 15:47

    I know of a few—teens mom’s….my friend and one of my cousins….

    It is sad that they are kids out there having kids at a young age.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  92. 93 Terry
    June 23, 2008 at 14:42

    It is not a “bad” thing, It is a very unfortunate thing.
    It deprives 2 children, not just one. A teenager is still a child. Just because they can have sex and bare a child does not make them an adult. They are depriving themselves of a healthy childhood where they can experience life and become a healthy member of society. Having a baby as a teenager deprives them of that opportunity and regardless of the support they get, it is still a “bad” idea.

  93. 94 Catalina
    June 26, 2008 at 17:11

    @ Prince

    Of course it was criminal. A 24 year old having sex with a 15, 16 year old is rape. Whether consensual or not, that is statutory rape. it was investigated because it’s abnormal for that many teens to be pregnant in high school, and what’s even less normal is finding out that you’re NOT pregnant, and being sad.

    I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but having a child completely changes one’s life. Being a teen mom is especially hard because, just as it was stated above, they’re not ready emotionally or physically to raise a child. It’s basically kids raising kids. Regardless of the support around them, being a mom is hard enough, being a teenage mom is even harder.

    However, while i do agree that it’s not the best choice in the world, I also know of teenage moms that are now successful businesswomen and lead amazing lives. So having a child at a young age doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the world. It simply means that your life is going to be harder and more complicated.

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