|Christina & Faith - 2008|
Stereotype: “a set of inaccurate, simplistic generalizations about a group that allows others to categorize them and treat them accordingly”
Having been a teen mom myself I am very passionate about this topic. I know what it feels like to be judged, and looked down upon for inaccurate judgements. People assume that because you had a child at a young age that you have ruined your life, or perhaps you had it coming. While some of these stereotypes are true for some teen moms, that doesn’t mean they’re true for all teen moms.
So, I made my own personal list of my top 9 teen mom stereotypes that I have had to deal with. I’m going to do this in a three part series simply because the original post was too long.
1 - 3 Teen Mom Stereotypes:
Teen moms are high school dropouts
I dropped out of high school when I had my daughter at the age of 17. However, while this was true for me, and many others, I do know people who were able to stay in high school after they had a baby and graduate on time. Typically it was because they had family at home to help.
Out of those who did drop out, almost all of them graduated at a later time either through correspondents or at an Adult Learning Center, or both like I did. Every teen mom I’ve met seems to have at least one of the same goals; graduate high school.
Maybe back in the day most teen moms were destined never to graduate, but these days we have options and the motivation to follow through.
It took my longer than if I didn’t have a baby, but early this year I received my high school diploma and I am proud of that, even if it wasn’t “on time”.
Teen moms are promiscuous or into drugs
This could be true for a number of high school kids, including teen moms. Obviously it’s not true for everyone. In fact, as awkward as it is to say, I got pregnant my very first time having sex and I am still with that same person. So, no, we’re not all easy lays.
As far as drugs go, I never really got into them. Okay, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t smoke, you know, the ganja when I was younger. I never got into hard drugs. To be honest, I probably would have if I didn’t get pregnant! After becoming pregnant I weeded out a lot of my friends and those friends were into drugs. None of them are parents…
Teen moms live in poverty
I can see why this is a stereotype… It’s not like I’m rich or anything. I don’t think I’m doomed to live in poverty though. As of right now, I am heavily dependent on my family (which sucks), but it wasn’t always this way. By dependent I mean I live at their house, and they help out financially by not charging us rent or grocery money.
When my boyfriend and I found out we were expecting, he immediately went out to look for a good paying job, and luckily my dad was able to get him one. My boyfriend made more money than some of the older adults that we know (including my mom at the time). We were able to buy a car by the time Sidney was born. A year later we saved enough money to rent an apartment and fully furnish it all at once. We lived comfortably in a good neighbourhood.
And this is true for a lot of young parents I know. They have their own apartments, or houses. They have their own cars, and jobs. Their children are in swimming lessons, ballet or gymnastics. They dress stylish, and have everything they need plus more.
I feel that becoming a mother at a young age made me more responsible with money. I never got the chance to spoil myself with designer clothes, manicures and $100 haircuts. I learned quickly how to cut back on groceries, find the best deals and save money. Even now while Nick and I are looking into school options, making a quarter of what we used to, we can still afford all our bills, and put Sidney in different activities. I have savings accounts for Sidney and myself, and we have a payment plan to pay down our debt. Other than that, we don’t have much money for anything else right now.
But like I said, we’re looking into post-secondary schools which will lead to better paying jobs. We do not live in poverty, and will not live in poverty.