Teen Moms in School

December 16, 2008

I was reading on of my favorite blogs today, The XX Factor, and there was this post. The short version is that there was a piece in the Post about a program in a local high school that provides day care for the children of teen moms who are students at the school.  

 

Melina Mara, The Washington Post

Photo Credit: Melina Mara, The Washington Post

Both the post and the article discuss their conflicting feelings about such a program- that they fear that it makes it easier for teenage girls to get pregnant and that it causes the girls to think that there will always be similar programs to support them and their children. Give me a break.

While there are girls who get pregnant in order to get attention or to have someone who will love them unconditionally, etc., etc.  That is not the case for most teen moms and none of these girls have a baby because there happens to be a daycare on site at their school.  Of course none of these teen mothers understand how hard it is going to be one they have a baby but let’s be honest, what first time mother does? I know I didn’t.

I think that programs like Tiny Titans should be looked at in a different way.  They are hopefully creating an opportunity for the patterns to be broken.  If the mother is able to graduate from high school, then she has a better chance at getting a better job, possibly continuing her education, and hopefully providing a better life for her child.  Furthermore, that child is more likely to have the early developmental care s/he needs, get a better education, and is, hopefully, more likely to be able to avoid teen pregnancy him/herself.

The other thing that bothered me about the post was the assertion that these girls shouldn’t get used to have day care on site because that isn’t how it is in the “real world.”  While that is true, on-site day care is a rare thing, shouldn’t the opposite be the case?  And shouldn’t we be challenging that norm rather than acquiesing to it?

It strikes me as hypocritical that when this sort of program is in a workplace we laud it as an amazing benefit, but when it is in a high school we admonish it.  This should be the type of service that is available to all mothers and their children (and in the end it really is a service for the children).

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