To think teenage mums are just as capable as any other mum.(74 Posts)
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...?
well 13 year old mums probably need support - you are being over sensitive
Statistically teenage parents are more likely to struggle. Get over it, its not a personal dig. Its the same for asylum seekers and those who've suffered mental health problems.
You are an adult, obviously, but maybe you look a lot younger?
I was 30 when I was told I was (looked) too young to be married.
But I disagree with you.
Teenage mums are just as incapable as other mums, particularly first mums. ;)
I had my first child at 21 and my second at 25 (two months ago) and I definately feel more mature now but Im not doing any better of a job.
I think people who suggest more support are actually referring to mums aged 14,15,16. And I agree with them. At that age we are still children whether we want to accept it or not.
So YANBU in your personal situation. But YABU to think that no teen mum needs extra support.
You do need to get over it as i don't think this view point will change anytime soon for some people.
YADNBU, i know plenty of women who started their families at a young age, 16,17 etc and have been very capable and loving,, i have also known lots of 'older' mothers who can't be bothered, and some that shouldn't of had children at all.
you are probably better at coping with the physical side than some of us oldies... (falls in an exhausted heap)
there are good mums and crap mums across the age range. I get comments that are a bit patronising because i am a single mum... it is very annoying that assumptions are made due to marital status or age. yanbu!
I've been asked all that questions. I'm 33 with a 7 month old.
Same as my mum will 'remind' me to do something. Trust me, it doesn't matter how old you are.
I agree with you op. i do not think you are being oversensitive.
I have 2dc at 20 and am completely devoted to my children. I dont need extra support because iam younger. Why would i? I have less help than all the other women i know with children and its by choice.
It does irritate me. YANBU
As with everything, it depends on the whole family background.
A person with a dysfunctional backgeround, be they 13, 17, 13, 33, 43 are highly statistically unlikely to make effective parents. Sadly they are also the ones who tend to statistically give birth at a young age.
However if the mother comes from a stable background, she is likely to be a 'good' mother herself because she has support in the maternal role.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I think it depends entirely on the individual, there are plenty or teen Mums who are very 'capable' and plenty of older Mum's who need a lot of extra support. I watched a documentary about it, it was a real eye opener, I can't remember the name of it though.
I think you just have to ignore it.
I was 19 when I had dd1 and did come across this, but mainly from midwives and doctors tbh. I had my second and third at 21 and 24 and it wasn't quite so bad then, even though some people still assumed I wsas younger than I was.
At the end of the day it depends on the person. I was a capable mum at 19, but I know other 19yr olds now who can't look after themselves letalone anyone else.
Yes and no. There are reasons why teen mums are targetted for support. That you feel you are able to cope without is great.
Also, older people ARE often more experienced, and may well know a lot more than you. Having often had more children than you.
says she at 41
But still able to accept advice from younger mums with older children.
Frankly I think one can take upset from anything. If you feel insecure in your role then others will pick up on it.
Be strong and proud for who you are. If you are a great 19yr old mum then waheeey. There are a lot who are not but then again there are a lot of 38yr old yr old mums who are wanting.
It is easy to seek the negative. Celebrate your positive.
When I think back to how I was at 19, I would have most definitely needed more support if I had a baby and I was single.
You can't define how good a mother is by her age. Some of the worst cases of child cruelty or neglect involve mothers in late 20's or 30's.
But many girls/women in their teens have unplanned children when they are not really mature enough to cope, and those are the ones that you are unfortunately being associated with.
You've just have to show with the way that you bring up your own child that you are not one of them, and it sounds like you will.
I had ds1 at age 20 and I felt I was treated in a particular way due to my age by some of the midwives and health visitor etc. It annoyed me, I didn't feel like teenage mum and thought I knew it all. Looking back, I really didn't know it all but then who does when it's your first baby! When I had my other 2 children in my mid and then late 20s I was treated so differently. I was spoken to differently and not fussed over.
Of course a young teenager is going to need extra support but I understand where you are coming from with 19/20 yr olds.
A teenager who has spent 10 years helping to bring up four younger siblings will more than likely manage better with her first baby than a 38 year old only child who has never even held a newborn before in her life.
It's not their ages, it's their life experience. Things like "government help" and NHS/SureStart schemes are targeted via percentages and aimed at "greatest good for greatest numbers" so they take a broad view of "people in general".
You're lucky that you can cope and are doing well, but for every one in 100 like you there will be X in a 100 that need help iyswim.
I was a teenage mum, had second at 20. At the time I was adamant I was a great mum (which I was/am), however......
With hindsight, Im now 26 and realise how much extra knowledge these few years have given me. Im about to TTC number 3, and can guarentee I will be safer/better this time round.
I took a lot more risks/wasnt anywhere near knowledgable in my teens.
Actually at 19 I had a lot more confidence and self-belief as only you do at 19 and believed myself to be more than capable in caring for my dc. I think midwives, doctors etc. picked up on that and nobody was ever patronising or negative.
It's only when I got to 30 and had 3rd dc that I became a neurotic mess! starting all over again was very hard and I certainly didn't have the same energy.
Welcome to the club OP it doesn't go away all through school and life people will do the maths and judge you.
YANBU but ime the extra support they get can make them a better parent than some others who think they know it all and don't need support/ advice.
I had DD1 at 24 but looked a lot younger
people used to think I was 16
the amount of patronising comments I used to get
'ooo you do ever so well for a young mum'
'ooo you do well to be working'
'I bet it's hard watching your friends go out' etc etc
I think new mums should be offered support, but it shouldn't be dependant on age
but it gives the busy body health visitors something to do
OP, I know exactly how you feel, I was in your position 22 years ago, out of all of my friends who also were, all of our children are happy, balanced adults, all have gone onto university and have done really well, as have all of their mothers,we all have degrees, great jobs and careers.
I get very stabby when I hear people being judgemental about mother's ages, I did both, young and old(30s), there are good points to both,
as for the "help' bit, lots of people get help, I didn't, my family lived in another country, not handy for baby sitting.
Just keep doing your best and it will be good enough, and when those with their judgy pants up their arse feel they have the right to comment, smile and use the old MN favourite, "Did you mean to sound so rude?"
If we had been able to have all of ours younger we would of, after my first it took well into double figures to get the next round, we had a lot of miscarriages ,still borns and a death before we got two more,
I spend a lot of time comfort friends who are only now in their 30s and 40s finding out it not always a given, the difference they haven't got a spare decade to dedicate to the project of having a baby.
I think this attitude that it is wrong to have your babies at an age when your body is best up for it, is dangerous and leads to a lot of heart break.
I understand op, I had my ds at 18 and me and dp did just fine with him.
The problem is the countless feckless younger parents who do use there parents as constant childcare, make bad decissions and believe they're entilted to a break as 'I'm only young'. People are more likely to notice the bad than the good who quietly get on with it.
Pressed post too soon.
So basically as 'bad' is more noticable people assume we all need the help and guidance.
I was amazed at hoe differently I was treated, not that I was treated badly before, but anyway, having dd2 at almost 25, compared to ds at 18, and dd1 at 20 by midwives, HV, all hcps and people in general!
The ones that got on my nerves were "Are you still with the father?", and "You will be going back to work soon, I'm sure...".
And I know the thread you got that comment from, where actually I agreed with her needing guidance, not because of her age, but because she was making her parenting choices based on how her friends would react. Which shrieks of immaturity and insecurity.
I made mistakes with DS as a baby, but think that came more from 'first time mum blunders' than my age. Some new mums do need more support than others, and that is related to their character and situation rather than their date of birth.
So, no, YANBU. You would, however, BU to let it get to you.
I think it's crap
My mil had her first at 17 and last and 5 th child at 27.. I aspire to be the mom she was.
I had my 4 in my early 20s and late 30s. Yes u learn as u go but I think I was as good/ not do good parent each decade.
You only know what you know.
Do I think a mum can be 'better' at 17 than at 40. Of course yes depends on the person.
I am 40 and my DS is 3 and I find it bloody hard and I miss going out
I see much younger people coping far better than I do at least you young uns can get up from the floor quicker than us old folks
I am supporting a relative, who is having her first baby at 17, she has just gone into a Mum and baby Unit. She needs support, so do all of the girlsin there, it is a pity that there isn't more places.
Tbh, i had my first at 18, 28 years ago, i wish that there was the system around that we have today, Children's Centre's etc.
It depends on your family set up, but it is the lack of family support that often means that services are needed, as there is little support from a peer group of 17 year olds and that applies to the father as well.
19 is very different from 17 year olds, who unless they have monied family cannot get housing, the changes in the benefit system don't help.
Many girls wouldn't know where to look for, for help, so it is good that teen mums are refered to their own MW's etc.
My relative doesn't want to go to classes, with (in her words), older Mums.
Also, teen mums have a higher rate of PND, which again, it is good that this is being identified.
But then i am not anti-services, probably because i work within them.
Bit of a sweeping generalisation in the op. Do I think a 14 year old is as capable of bringing up a child as an actual adult for example? Um, no, not really.
And that's a pretty sweeping generalisation there too, PrettyKitty.
I know - and supported - a 14 / 15 year old who was getting up at 1am to breastfeed, then 3am and 6am to express milk for her DC whilst she was at school studying for her GCSEs. And frankly, having met her mother, she was much better than her.
yabu I have met SirBoobAlot for instance in rl
but I can't help but want to mother her, even though she is a brilliant mum with a lovely ds(who needs to see me hint hint)
so imo older mums just want tohelp
Well good for her. Talking 'typically' without countless anecdotes...no, I wouldn't say that a child is as 'Capable' of raising a child as an adult. They have no qualifications, work experience, way of financially supporting a child. A 15 year old is not fully developed physically or emotionally. Sorry, but I don't buy the 'anyone can make a fantastic mummy, age is irrelevant' line. Age does matter where a person is significantly younger or older than a 'reasonable' age to be bearing children IMO.
^^ It's true. They all do it at meet ups. Though they might all be slowly seeing me as a younger sister rather than a daughter..? Mainly because they're all far too young to have a 21 year old daughter...
MNers friends, it's different. Strangers are the ones to watch out for.
And there are plenty of adults without qualifications, work experience and finances to support a child. Would you feel it was as readily acceptable to attack them as well?
There is young, and then too young. And those are two completely different ages for different people.
Here is something that was presented recently in one of our lectures as part of a piece about teenage pregnancy.
"I think, to some extent you will get a distorted view on teenage pregnancy because I've had a huge amount of support from my family which has enabled me to be here now. Financially i have never had many issues and i think that alone has made it a lot easier.
My biggest issues were letting go of my life, a life i had planned for years. Many people asked about my pregnancy, about whether I wanted to keep the baby etc, but no one ever talked to me about what I was letting go of. No one asked me if I was scared. No one told me everything would be okay (though i probably wouldnt have believed them if they did). Most people just left me to it. I was scared. I was angry. I was jealous. I was sad. I was confused. And most of all I was lonely.
As a result i was depressed (though un-diagnosed as my midwife was useless). For the entirety of my pregnancy i cried myself to sleep at night. Other issues would include: being scared of what others thought, doing it alone and my body changing. It was, and still is, the scariest, hardiest thing i have ever had to deal with. Even now, it takes a lot to stop me from crying about what i had to deal with when talking about it, and some nights (very infrequently now) I climb into my sons bed, cuddle him and sob myself to sleep.
Its taken me a long time to be able to stand up and say being a mother hasnt ruined my life; it has just changed its direction." Pregnant age 14. Now doing a degree and wonderfully in life.
I'm as entitled to my opinion as you...nothing could convince me that a well-rounded child is as capable at raising a child, as a well rounded adult...I find it ludicrous to suggest they would be tbh.
You didn't answer my question.
Your points were lack of qualifications, lack of work experiences and financial concerns. Do you judge those over 18 as harshly on those as you do those under?
I've seen gentle parenting teenagers and screeching, swearing, smacking 'adult' parents. Know which one I'd opt for as a preferential.
I had dd at 26 and was still asked on a daily basis, 'so do your parents help out a lot..?'
It's nice to see a lot of people don't judge from reading these posts.
Birds I see your point that some mums do need help, and that if they are clearly struggling or asking for help that it's great they get it, but I don't think it's helpful to put that one-fits-all treatment on all young mums. Also I think the way it can be done could put some mums off asking for help with smaller problems, when it comes patronizing or openly judgmental health staff etc.
Pretty I have a friend who had her DS at 15, and she has done an amazing job. She did have childcare help from her mum until she did her GCSE's, but she moved out at 16, completed a hairdressing apprenticeship and now has a part time job, and a very happy DS who adores his mum. I think a lot of older mums would struggle to do that alone, and so in that sense yes I'd say they can be just as capable if not more so than certain others.
SirBoobAlot cheers for that...you have just proved the point how "older" parents cannot win
I was 17 when I had DD1 and 27 when I had DD2. While I think I was a good mum both time I feel like I'm doing a much better job with DD2 mainly because I'm more mature so more informed. That's not to say young mums are not good parents however.
Three I think your a wonderful mum, and a great person
FWIW, I think older mums will always feel judged, younger mums will always feel judged, and those in the middle will too. Once you become a parent, it's like you and your actions suddenly become public property, to be discussed from every angle. All you have to do it take one glance at sites like this to see that. And because parenting is an every day worry for all of us, we feel more anxious about it, so the blows are harder when they come down, which they inevitably do at some point.
If you love your children, you care about their upbringing, and want to do the very best by them in life, then you could be 14 or 41, and still do a brilliant job.
It's not really an 'answerable' question though...because I'm not 'judging them harshly', I'm voicing my (IMO) realistic opinion.
That opinion is simply that children should not be having children...and no, generally (once again without the countless 'well I know a 12 year old that's a fabulous mummy'-esque comments, a child is not in most cases as equipped or capable at coping with bearing and raising a child as an adult.
* you're. Brain fail tonight.
How can people realistically say that age is not relevant? How many people would be comfortable in leaving their newborn for a whole day with a 13 year old babysitter? Age is completely relevant IMO.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
'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.
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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