Saturday, April 30, 2011

Teen Mom & 16 and Pregnant: I can't look away

I'm going to go ahead and admit it right now: I am hooked on Teen Mom on MTV.

TeenMom(On the chance that there are people who don't waste time watching MTV and are unfamiliar with it, Teen Mom is a reality television series that premiered as a spin-off from the show 16 and Pregnant... which is pretty much self-explanatory from the title. The series chronicles the lives of teenagers during their pregnancy and then into their first year of motherhood.)

Aside from the fact that I feel like I'm far too old to be watching MTV, I get such a range of mixed feelings when I see these young girls having to grow up so quickly as they enter motherhood at such an early age. Having a baby isn't easy and I imagine that being young and being followed by video cameras can make the whole experience extremely... hard.

As well as having to deal with their friends' reactions, their parents' acceptance, and the way that pregnancy changes the relationship with their boyfriend, many of these girls end up leaving high school in hopes of getting an online degree later on in life.

Now, I don't have any experience with receiving an online college education and I have no doubt that there are wonderful online universities out there, but by having a baby as a teenager many of these girls talk about their struggle with having to give up traditional high school and college options.

Combine that with their stories of getting engaged, getting married (and filing for divorce), going through a custody dispute, giving their baby up for adoption, holding down a job... it just shows that the extremely difficult job of being a mother and provider can be a stark contrast to a typical teenager's dreams of dating, parties, and prom.

16 and pregnantPhoto courtesy of MTV.com

Although each new mom faces a completely different set of circumstances as the next, I always watch Teen Mom hoping that young female viewers take away the message that with parenthood comes life-changing struggles and having a baby isn't something to be taken lightly.

For now, I can't seem to look away! MTV airs episodes in the middle of the night and I find myself losing even more sleep while I'm riveted to see what the girls are going to do next. Am I the only one? Do you watch Teen Mom? If so, what do you think about it?

6 comments:

Nichole said...

I am addicted too! Love the picture that you posted too - they were/are the best couple yet!

dannyscotland said...

I have only watched it one time (I'm an HGTV-holic), but I hope that it will shed some light on what it's really like having--and raising--a baby. I've seen studies where teens respond saying that if they found out they were pregnant they'd be "happy" or "not upset". I'm all for loving kids and wanting them someday, but teenagers need to realize that the dream baby in their head isn't reality. Since (I read somewhere) teens physically lack the connections in their brains that help them decide if something is a good or bad idea, it is so important for parents and other adults to impress upon them that sex may be fun, but the consequences are huge and last forever. I'm 35 and have a 2 year old, and some days, I reminisce about how I used to just leave the house without a care and go shopping... and of course I can't now. But I am also lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who allows me to stay home, so I'm not complaining. I just can't imagine doing this at 15 or 16 or even 20. I really hope these shows impress upon teens the finality of having a baby.

Shelley T. said...

I am so glad that I am not the only one who watches it. I am hoping (and I believe it already has) open the eyes of young people everywhere.

Laura said...

I absolutely love Teen Mom (and MTV in general). And I've heard that the teen pregnancy rate is going down since the shows started airing.

p.s. visiting from the relax and surf Sunday blog hop.

Terra H. said...

I'm a fairly faithful follower of the show. I'd be the pot calling the kettle black if I demeaned teenage pregnancy totally because I was 17 years old when I had my first child. I don't recommend it, but I don't regret it. The struggles were hard enough so I can only imagine what these couples have to go through being in the spotlight.

Yuki said...

I can't watch it since we don't get MTV here but what horrified me is when I heard the story about a 16 years old girl who tricked her boyfriend to have unprotected sex JUST so she can be on this show.

I'm glad to hear that the teen pregnancy rate is possibly going down due to this show though.