BLOG: KNOWLEDGE SHARE
Teen Mom Misconception #6: Teen moms drop out of school because they want to
Teen moms just want to live off of welfare. Teen moms are all about living off the system. These are some of the more blatantly wrong yet widely held falsehoods about teen moms.
The truth is that the vast majority of teen moms want to finish school, get a job and be able to pay their bills on their own -- without government assistance.
The harsh reality is that less than half of teen moms get the opportunity to complete high school… but not for the reasons that most people might imagine. The truth is that many public schools make it difficult for teen moms to earn their diploma - even though Title IX laws prohibit pushing a teen mom out of school simply because she is a parent. Despite the law, this still occurs quite often.
“We have laws in place to protect pregnant and parenting teens,” says Laura Lindberg, Ph.D., a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute. “But the fact that the law is on the book does not mean that every student is welcome. At best, parenting teens fall through the cracks. At worst, they are pushed out.”
Some states, such as New Mexico, have passed new parental leave laws that make it possible for teen moms to stay in school by providing additional accommodations such as private areas to nurse, additional excused absences, etc. Shifts in policy are a start, but until we have a societal shift in attitudes, we will continue to set young moms up for failure in school.
What does this look like? Let me share a few examples…
Kyra, a Hope House teen mom, told me how her teachers publicly belittled her for being a young parent, and Chantia shared how her teachers called her "stupid." A teen mom in New Mexico revealed in her blog that everyone, including her own family, told her that she'd never finish school after getting pregnant at 17. Another teen mom shared how during a birth control discussion in a health class, the teacher made her stand up and tell her classmates how awful it is to be a teen mom. This young mom left school two weeks later.
Teen moms want the same thing for their children that all mothers want: a safe, stable home and a bright future. More young mothers could fulfill this dream if our school systems were willing to provide support, encouragement and necessary accommodations rather than judgment and ridicule.
This might require a shift in societal views, but change must start somewhere! At Hope House, we recently helped found the Teen Parent Providers Collaborative, a step in gathering a group of like-minded organizations to address these issues and hopefully instigate change.
If you would like to join us in our efforts to bring light to this controversial issue, won't you please share this post with your friends and colleagues or post it on your social media platforms? Together we can start to make a difference!
By Lisa Steven, Executive Director, Hope House of Colorado
Knowledge Share #8: Breaking Out of Poverty - 08/18/2016
Knowledge Share #7: Creating a Home - 07/11/2016
Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset - 06/14/2016
Knowledge Share #5: College or Bust! - 05/17/2016
Knowledge Share #4:Understanding Addiction - 04/07/2016
Knowledge Share #3:Mentoring Empowers Teen Moms - 03/21/2016
Knowledge Share #2: Healthy Relationships - 02/11/2016
Knowledge Share #1: Brain Development - 01/12/2016
Teen Mom Barrier #8: Communicating the Barriers - 12/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #7: Homelessness - 10/09/2015
TEEN MOM BARRIER #6: GENERATIONAL POVERTY - 07/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence - 06/03/2015
Teen Mom Barrier # 4 The Challenges of College - 05/12/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #2: Childcare - 02/18/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #1: Society's Negative Expectations - 01/26/2015
Teen Mom Misconceptions #5: Success is Impossible - 09/22/2014
Misconception #3: Mentoring Teen Moms is Complicated - 06/05/2014
Because they want someone to love them? - 05/21/2014
Teen Moms - A Persecuted Population? - 04/22/2014
Community - 01/20/2014
8 Pennies - 12/18/2013
"The most courageous young women I know." - 11/14/2013
Our Graduates: In their hands, they hold the future! - 09/30/2013
Measuring the Intangible - 06/15/2013
Grown-Up Mom - 05/01/2013
Misconception #4: Shaming Teen Moms is an Effective Approach
Eva said: I am so proud of Vanessa good friend of mine and mother. [more]