Glamorizing Teen Pregnancy? or Teaching Opportunity?

“Mom, do something!”

These were the frantic words from my twelve year old, Matt, a few weeks ago when a young mom was going through the early phases of labor in our living room {I was her birthing coach}.

I can think of no better way for a tween boy to understand the realities of teen pregnancy then seeing it, up close and personal.  The consequences of premarital sex were being prominently displayed on our couch and it made my boys uncomfortable.

The Today Show this morning featured a couple from the MTV reality show, Teen Mom and asked them if they thought that the show encourages and glamorizes the issue of teen pregnancy?  I was pleased with their answers {even though their grammer still needs work, they are still kids}.  *Just as an aside, Catelynn and Tyler are my favorite couple from the show.  Despite their questionable upbringing, they displayed an attitude of ultimate selflessness by giving their daughter up for adoption at birth so she didn’t have to grow up in the same type of environment that they did.  I am so proud of them {and I don’t even know them}.*

When I first heard of the show concept, a couple of seasons ago, my former teen mama feathers got ruffled.  “great”, I thought.  “Another way to make teen moms look incompetent”.  But, after watching the show since it’s inception {which I don’t think many of the critics have taken the time to do} I appreciate the frank and honest look it gives into the grim realities of teenage parenthood.

Custody disputes, relationship issues, dysfunctional family life, the juggling act of roles, the desire to keep one foot in the childhood portion of your life while adulthood is demanding your full attention, questioning your decisions…they deal with it all and I don’t feel that they glamorize it one bit.

I like what this article had to say about the teaching opportunities that can be gleaned from the MTV reality show.  And, the show gives me hope.  The girls on that show would be so much better off if they had the support that Young Lives {the teen mom ministry I work with} was available to them.  I know that the work we do is making a difference for the Kingdom.  That keeps me going when the realities of some of these girls situations threaten to overwhelm me.

And, each week, my DVR will continue to record Teen Mom and my boys and I will continue to follow the saga of Maci, Farrah, Amber, Catelynn and their children.

What do you think?  Should there be a reality show about teen parenthood or do you think it brings too much attention to the issue?

As usual, please link up your teen/tween parenting posts below:



  1. Melissa, as a volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center I believe 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom should be required viewing for all girls from about 7th grade up! Excellent, honest portrayals of the HUGE discrepancy between what these girls THINK being a mom is all about and what it really IS. I love both shows and watch them. {And Catelynn’s story is my favorite too. Such respect for her and Tyler and the choices they’ve made. I’m thrilled MTV is showing that part of the story as well.}

  2. thanks for your comment, Teri Lynne. As usual, we are on the same page =)

  3. Whoddathunkit? 🙂 {And I have to say that I use these shows as I talk to my clients about what being a parent is really about … in my circumstantial experience, the shows are making a difference in how girls view teen pregnancy.}

  4. i’ve seen it once or twice and think it provides a good dose of reality on a network that otherwise glamorizes all sorts of foolishness. important stuff.

    see you at relevant!

  5. Hello! I’m a fellow Relevant attendee – and if you live in the WV panhandle, we’re not too far from each other. 😉 (I live in Winchester, about 10 minutes from the WV border.)

  6. How cool, Rachel. We are practically neighbors- if you want to carpool to
    Relevant, let me know =)

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