Seven out of ten teen mothers complete high school or eventually earn their G. E. D., but are less likely than women who delay childbearing to go on to college (Sex. ) Having a child in high school makes it more difficult to focus on your studies. Late nights staying awake to feed, change, and care for your baby, can have a huge impact on your ability to focus on school and other tasks you face. As a teenage mother in school, you miss out on things such as your prom, sports, and other extracurricular activities.
Unpreparedness is another effect of having a child as a teenager. Most teenagers if they work, work minimum wage jobs and have no way of supporting themselves and a child. When a box of diapers for a newborn cost around $32. 50, and last maybe a month, and a can of formula that cost $13, last maybe a week, your priorities of how you spend your money also changes. You no longer are able to go out with the girls for an all-day shopping trip or get your hair and nails done. Every penny you make goes to taking care of that child.
The combination of the minimum wage jobs and going to school allows for very little quality time with their child. Without a good support system, raising a child as a teenager is almost impossible. In 1992, the federal government spent more than $34 billion on welfare for families begun by teenagers, which is $16. 6 billion higher than in 1985 (Babies. ) Prior to becoming a teen parent, most high school students have no concept of what responsibility is. They think that life is theirs to do with as they please.
If they want to go out with friends and have a good time, they do just that. However, when they become a parent they have minimal time to go out with friends. Their main priority should become their child and taking care of that child. Most teen parents rush out and get married to try and hide that the child was conceived out of wedlock, but most marriages in this form end in divorce somewhere down the line. Having a child as a teenager can really change your life. Most teenagers can’t handle going to school and raising their children, so they drop out of school.
Being unprepared for a child makes it that much harder. Teens should really wait until they are old enough, with their priorities in order, and prepared to take care of a child. Raising a child is a full-time job in itself.
“Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy,” The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1996.
Kids Having Kids, Robin Hood Foundation, 1996
Sex and America’s Teenagers, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994.
“Babies Born Into Peril,” Chicago Tribune, 22 May 1994