Dr. Phil says today’s pop culture celebrates teen pregnancy, with the stars of shows like MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant glamorized on the cover of magazines. But, are these shows accurately portraying the strife of young motherhood? Recently, Amber, the star of MTV’s Teen Mom, revealed in court proceedings she makes a meager $280,000 per year — not exactly the model of the typical teenage mother. While reality television can portray less than the reality, what we know is certain, are the statistics don’t lie. Do you think shows that feature teen moms glamorize pregnancy?
- While teen pregnancy is down in the US, the rate is still eight times higher than it is in Japan, two times higher than it is in Canada and England, and the highest in the western industrialized world.
- Teen pregnancy costs the U.S. at least $9 billion annually.
School Comes Second:
- Teen pregnancy is the number one reason why teen girls drop out of school.
- Only one-third of adolescent mothers will graduate high school, and only slightly over 1 percent of those will earn a college degree before they turn 30.
- Twenty-five percent of teen moms have a second child within 24 months.
It’s Hardest on the Kids:
- Children of teen moms do worse in school than those born to older parents — with half failing a grade. Those same children are less likely to finish high school then those from older mothers and have a lower performance on standardized tests. Many children born to teen moms have behavioral problems, juvenile delinquency and conflict with authority.
- Two-thirds of families begun by a young unmarried mother are poor. More than half of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teenager.
- Daughters of teen moms are three times more likely to become teenage mothers themselves. The sons of teen moms are two times more likely to end up in prison.
A Baby Won’t Make Him Stay
- Eight out of ten fathers in cases of teen pregnancy don’t marry the mother of their child, and these absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support. Children who live apart from their fathers are also five times more likely to be poverty-stricken than children with both parents at home.
Teens, think you know what it costs to have a baby and raise him or her in the first year of life?