To think teenage mums are just as capable as any other mum.

(74 Posts)
HopAndSkip Fri 25-Jan-13 21:11:52

It's really getting on my nerves how some people seem to assume a teenage mum needs extra advice, guidance, interference so on, purely because of age. It's understandable if the mum is struggling, or ask's for help, but some women seem to think their opinions and knowledge is "superior" purely because they are older.

I am 19 with a DD, and i have had comments such as "does your mum help a lot", "Do you miss going out" and "Are you finding it really hard having a baby", and maybe I'm just being a bit sensitive, but I doubt they would be the first choice of question as much if I was older. (The answer to all 3 is no, other than the occasional tiredness which I'm assuming all mums also get..)

I've also seen comments on here such as "she'll need guidance as she's a teenage mum" (sorry to pick on that one comment - it's just the one that's been most recent) and I just find it a bit naive that people are assuming being a teenager or younger parent automatically hinders to someones ability to love and care for their child.

Or is this a general view that I need to ignore and get over...?

SirBoobAlot Sat 26-Jan-13 00:56:58

But the reality is that under 16s will have children. There will always be a percentage that do. I'm not saying that's 'right' (mainly because it is under the age of consent), and yes it is bound to be difficult. However, I'm sure everyone can agree that being a first time mum at any age is difficult. And adding to the difficulty by focusing on something they cannot change isn't going to benefit anyone.

libelulle Sat 26-Jan-13 01:02:48

I'd have needed support if I'd had a baby at 18! Great that you feel able to cope, but on the whole, it seems uncontroversial to say that 18 year olds are less mature than 30 year olds, and that probably applies to parenting as much as anything else in life. That's kind of how it works - you mature as you get older! You've only recently left childhood at 18, and are still in the process of acquiring your own independence (job, house etc) - so it's quite likely that responsibility for a child of your own will seem more of a shock than if you've spent the last 15 years perfecting the art of looking after yourself before taking on a helpless newborn.

So I think you're being oversensitive, sorry!

Jessepinkman Sat 26-Jan-13 01:34:54

I didnt need support when I had dd1 at twenty. Yes twenty year olds are less mature than thirty year olds, but where would you draw the line? My MIL is sixty three, shes great with my children, maybe not better to raise them than me. Age and parenthod are strange bedfellows, in my opinion the only thing that matters is the child's happiness.

At 20, you have left school for 4 years and can access the benefit/housing system.

You peer group is very different as well.

Being a teen mum means a break in education, which means less earning capacity, i don't see the problem with extra support being offered.

It depends on your partners age, a baby being around the average 17 year old lad, could be a concern.

The support shouldn't be offered in a judgemental way, though.

I had ds1 at 16, me and his dad were the same age. The only struggle was both of us training and having to work extra hours to earn enough money to live. Plenty of people have that problem though, regardless if age.

This was 18 years ago though and childcare was more of an issue than it is now

Bogeyface Sat 26-Jan-13 02:26:08

YABU

At 17 I needed far more help than I thought I did when I had DC1. I managed but I wasnt as good a mum then as I am now to DC6. I knew it then too, and my DC1 wouldnt have been as well looked after without her help and support as he would have been if it had just been me.

Sorry, but I do think that younger mums need more support.

Bogeyface Sat 26-Jan-13 02:28:46

And fwiw, being loving and caring doesnt make a good parent. I loved my son, but I wasnt as good a parent to him as I would have been if I hadnt had the support and help I got.

Bogeyface Sat 26-Jan-13 02:30:23

I knew it then too, and without my mum my DC1 wouldnt have been as well looked after without her help and support as he would have been if it had just been me.

Astelia Sat 26-Jan-13 03:00:31

People should have the manners to keep their opinions to themselves. To comment to you is unforgivably rude.

However I think that teenage parenthood is likely to lead to many years of stress and financial struggle unless you have family money or a well paid partner.

Sometimes love is not enough.

YANBU op.

I think teenage parents get a bad rep but there are good and bad across all age ranges.

Having said that I had dd at 17, ds1 at 19 and ds2 at 25 (7wks ago). I'm finding it much easier to relax this time around and just enjoy him. But I have a feeling this is much more to do with having raised 2 dcs to 8+6 without damaging them too much I'm trusting my instincts more.

I did need financial (housing) help from my parents when dcs were small but only when XH left me high and dry. But this is something I've seen in many older people after divorce too. I think support is invaluable be this from a parent or other source. But no more do in a teenage mum than any other iykwim.

CheerfulYank Sat 26-Jan-13 03:33:12

I also got comments when pregnant at 24! Seriously?!

I have known fab teen mothers and not so fab ones, same with older parents though. But 17, 18, 19 are very different than 13 or 14.

I know a 13 year old who had a baby and made it work. I know another who insisted she could and made it about a week. Her baby was then adopted by an infertile couple. She's still very much in his life, sees him often etc. Her grandma and the mother of the adoptive mom are also close friends, which is lovely. The 13 year old said "I'm sad sometimes but mostly it's a relief," which makes sense. She's only a baby yet herself.

But I'd be irritated in your case too, OP. smile

Gimmeecoffee Sat 26-Jan-13 07:34:51

I had DD when i was 17, she's now 2. I dont think iv've ever been judged, sure i get asked daft questions like "i bet it's hard isn't it?" i allways reply yes, being a parent is tough, but a million more times rewarding smile I've never thought they asked me this because im 'young'. Maybe im just naive.

People do often make slightly silly comments to one another as small talk, and lots of stereotypes and cliches come out then, whether it's about the weather, differences between girls and boys, or something about your situation. People need something to say when they've just met you !
Also a mature way to look at it is they're just checking you're OK. It's good really when people look out for one another ? Like when I had my DD I'd just moved to a new city and other Mums were great at making sure I was settling in, telling me about toddler groups, or including me in coffee mornings etc.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 26-Jan-13 08:19:29

I think bogey has a very valid point.

I was 17 with my first and 19 with my second and I had a lot of support. I went to a college catered to mums under 20 with nursery on site (it was also for other people who didn't complete school) I had family to take over when I needed a break, and I could go out most weekends because of them. I think now if I had a baby I would do it completely different and I would be a better mum. I was very selfish at the time (as most teenagers are) and put me and my life over them. Not over their basic needs they were clean fed and changed and looking like fashion parades everyday but I didn't hug them enough or stay in because they were teething/ill I would still shove them on my mum/nan for a night out. So although I wouldn't be without them now I wasn't ready for them at 17.

If there wasn't services in place I would of stayed in my council flat and done nothing, I'm really glad that there are services in place to help. My friend went to a mother and baby unit and I wish when I was offered the same I had said yes.

Crawling Sat 26-Jan-13 08:42:02

I was a 17 with ds I was just as good a mum as I was at age 24 when I had dc3. I did lots of reasearch because I was determined to be a good mum. I did give up my studies but I think I was lucky to be able to take a break DP had just finshed his and got a fairly good job which was enough to support us and buy a house.

The only thing was I had seen my 15yo friend have a baby and no one listened to what she wanted they took over and thought as adults they knew best and were supporting her when in reality they crushed her. E.G of this is her mum ff but my friend wanted to bf but her mum told her she couldnt because it would hurt too much and she wouldnt be able to leave the baby. She was over ruled countless of times she didnt want her baby given chocolate but the adults did it behind her back. (She was a great mum and bf her second dc)

As a result of the above I shut people out a bit being scared they would take over my baby but that was down to experience not age. I soon let them in when I realised they wouldnt take over.

Locketjuice Sat 26-Jan-13 08:43:42

Yanbu I'm also a young parent with a 1 year old and pregnant, I have my own house, car and my other half works whilst im a SAHM
People are shocked when I say I don't miss going out and I wouldn't change it for the world!

BUT my 'friend' is 19 with a 2 month old and she goes out every weekend and finds babysitters by asking 'who comments first on my status can have ds overnight' so it does depend on person not age smile

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 26-Jan-13 08:49:32

Depends on the teen mum- There will many who will need extra help and support for a huge range of issues. Many teens that get pregnant are already vulnerable- hence why they got pregnant in the first place.

NumericalMum Sat 26-Jan-13 08:57:27

It is like everything. You can't judge a person by their age, race, gender etc. I was a relatively old mum and found I got all the same questions and yes, I really struggled with the change to being a mum! I doubt that my age was relevant to that at all but rather the fact my child never slept.

diamondsinthesand Sat 26-Jan-13 08:59:58

I had a baby at 19 too. There was not much support, it was assumed I could cope but it wasn't easy.
Think it can be the type and style of so-called 'support' thats wrong. Low level 'bullying' is undermining and happens because people are jealous/nervous of you having a child and try to come between you by 'knowing more about it' when they don't.
In fact, you need to have your confidence built up, be respected and be recognized as someone who loves their baby far more than anyone else on the planet, including all those health workers and 'professionals' who write the books, yet had a nanny for their own child.
You may also need solid, practical, non-judgmental support with housing and income, some quality child care and a few good friends you can trust - thats not a package you will find easily in the official 'support' places at the moment. Especially when the media are having a ball attacking single mums from a tax-payers perspective. Well, we are tax-payers and would far rather the money went to a single mum than to fat salaries for 'supportive government initiatives'. Sorry - hope tht doesn't sound too aggressive, its not meant to be smile

JenaiMorris Sat 26-Jan-13 09:00:20

Your OP betrays a lack of life experience, which is a bit ironic really given your argument.

I do see where your coming from OP but

A 16 year old in close relation to ne has just had a one year old DD to live with another family member, and she's just got pregnant again on purpose. As getting her 'dd' back is too much hassle.

In sure some teenage mums are fantastic, just not in my experience

Thingymajigs Sat 26-Jan-13 09:20:38

I was 18 when my eldest son was born and I had no support whatsoever. My son has autism and a sensory disorder as well as dyspraxia but none of this was diagnosed until he was nearly 9. When he was a baby he barely slept, he was constantly hungry and screamed when he wasn't eating or sleeping. Unfortunately, as a young parent bringing up these concerns to a health visitor I was given the response "well, what did you expect babies to do?" This attitude carried on for years whenever I questioned his development or behaviour so there is a huge amount of prejudice against teenage mums that can cause problems for the children. Looking back now I am so proud of how I handled myself and feel like I must have had the patience of a saint.
I'm 31 and trying for my third child so it'll be interesting to see how different it is this time around.

diamondsinthesand Sat 26-Jan-13 09:22:05

'As getting her 'dd' back is too much hassle'
!!!? - yes, that just proves my point - she has been divorced from her child and her responsibility instead of given respect and confidence in herself, and enjoyment in being a mum, but maybe there will always be some kids who can't cope and I don't know the situation so..
'JenaiMorris -'Your OP betrays a lack of life experience, which is a bit ironic really given your argument'
- Not sure I can agree with that either, having had five children, two grownup, all doing well, 10 years as a single parent and I've fought many many battles for their survival over the last 20 odd years...not sure how I could have had more life experience actually but there always something you can learn - no one should ever think they know it all, so good point - thanks.

AGivenNickname Sat 26-Jan-13 09:22:32

I can see both sides of the coin here. I was a teen mum but I had massive support from my own mum. I did all the day to day/night stuff (after all DD is my responsibility). However, I heavily relied on my mum for childcare when it came to my education. Without her, personally at the time I don't think it would have been possible.

I do understand about comments though, OP. I still get them now when people realize DD is in fact my DD. I get the 'You didn't have her at that age, how on earth did you manage!'

My advice would be just take it with a pinch of salt.

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