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One4mom4All
One4mom4All asks:
Q:

Is the TV show, "Teen Mom" encouraging or discouraging teenage pregnancy?

My daughter and her friends have been watching and talking about that TV show, "Teen Mom." I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, and am wondering if it glorifies teenage pregnancy or discourages teens from getting pregnant? Should I restrict my teenage daughter from watching it? Thanks for any info or advice you can offer.
In Topics: Children and screen entertainment (TV & movies), Teen issues, Teen sexuality and dating
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 28, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

One of the best ways for you to know if you should restrict or permit the TV show is to watch an episode of the program yourself.  Then, you will know for sure if it is appropriate for your daughter.  

You did not mention your daughter’s age, only that she is a teenager.  However, there is a big difference between what is appropriate for a 13 year-old and what is acceptable for a 17 year-old.  Most TV programs have an age rating which can give you an idea, but this may not be the only factor to consider.  

Continue to keep open communication with your daughter about your values and feelings regarding teenage sexuality and pregnancy.  If the show seems to “glorify” teenage pregnancy, your good parenting will hopefully win out over the notion that having a baby when very young is fun and/or glamorous.  

For more information on how to talk to your teenager about sexuality issues, you can visit one of our websites, or give our toll-free Hotline a call.  Counselors are available 24 hours, seven days a week.  

Take care, and best wishes to you and your daughter!
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
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VoiceOfReason
Mar 26, 2010
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
As a coping Mom of a Teen Mom, I can assure you this show is the best birth control out there.  This is not fantasy, this is the hard knocks, heartbreaks, and constant barriers to normal teen life experienced by teen Moms.  No sugar coating here....  No parent should discourage watching this show.  I just wish it had been on sooner!  I have heard some parents talk, in disgust, about this show that they have not watched.  They aaare proud they are forbidding their teen daughters to watch.  They are basing this on the show being on MTV~ and assuming it glorifies teen pregnancy.  I find on the contrary, it is more documentary, and the best reality check available for those who have not gone through it.  These girls have given up their carefree teen lives and are struggling daily with their consequences.   It speaks to the hard issues and barriers facing these girls, just to get an education, be a daughter and teenager, and grow into a selfless person known as a Mom.  It is not an easy process, nor a pretty picture.  I applaud this effort by MTV.  I cannot, however; recommend the ABC show which is purely fiction.  But 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom are definitely shows that should be required!  But then, they wouldn't watch or listen.....

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Additional Answers (11)

laurenf
laurenf writes:
MTV's description of "Teen Mom" reads:

Each episode interweaves these stories revealing the wide variety of challenges young mothers can face: marriage, relationships, family support, adoption, finances, graduating high school, starting college, getting a job, and the daunting and exciting step of moving out to create their own families.

While your daughter and her friends might be intrigued at the "perks" of being a mother at a young age ("Maybe I could be on MTV too! They get to go to New York to MTV's Studios!") and can relate to the show's touching mother-child relationships, overall I'd say the show is a more sobering account of what life is like for teens who have babies. In addition to the topics mentioned in the description, there's a lot of drama surrounding absentee fathers, child support payments, living situations with parents, restricted social lives, etc.

I think it's a good show for your daughter to watch. Hopefully the hardships and trials presented in the show resonate with younger viewers about the dangers of unprotected sex and unplanned pregnancy.

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Tigerscoat
Tigerscoat writes:
Regardless of your restrictions, shes a teenager and if she really wants to watch it, she will find a way. Whether it be online or at a friends house. What needs to be done is you making sure she knows about teen pregnancy and how to prevent it. If your daughter is that impressionable that you think she will get encouraged to do this to herself, then the problem lies there. Banning the TV show wont do any good.
> 60 days ago

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CHICKTOWN123ABC
CHICKTOWN12... writes:
HI, I AM WHAT I CALL A TEEN MOM. I AM 21 AND MY SON IS ALMOST TWO. I KNOW THAT TEEN MOMS ARE THOUGHT TO BE YOUNGER THAN I BUT; MY SITUATION IS NO DIFFERENT THAN SOMEONE A FEW YEARS YOUNGER THAN ME. I WATCH TEEN MOM CAUSE IT IS EASY TO RELATE MYSELF TO THE OTHER GIRLS. THE SITUATIONS THAT THESE GIRLS HAVE PUT THEMSELVES IN IS DEFINITELY NO GLAMOROUS. TEEN MOM SHOWS THE IMPACT OF HAVING A CHILD TO YOUNG. THE BATTLES THAT TEEN PARENTS FACE AND IT ALSO GIVES TEEN MORE INFORMATION ON IF THEY DO DECIDE TO HAVE SEX THEY WILL CHOOSE SAFE SEX.
> 60 days ago

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Marebear
Marebear , Student writes:
I am a young teen myself, and the thought of having a baby so early is, well, gross. I'm a traditional girl and honestly plan on adopting children when I get married. I plan on staying a virgin for the rest of my life, and yes i am a teen. Teen Mom should be discouraging teen pregnancy. Personally, I think you should allow her to watch the show, but talk to her about your ideas on teen pregnancy. I truely hope this helps.
> 60 days ago

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mama_ashes84
mama_ashes84 writes:
As  a previous teen mom myself, and the mother of a tween. I have seen the first  season of the show and thought it was very true to life. Some of the girls didn't become responsible but most did. I must say though some  girls are much worse off then those on the show. Watch it with her tell her what you think and ask her what she thinks. Being truthful and open with each other is one of the best ways to prevent teen pregnancy in my opinion.
> 60 days ago

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Staindrulz
Staindrulz writes:
Ok, first before my post I'll give you some background. I am a 22 yr old guy, brought up in a divorced household and a student at a local community college.
   Now for my post, ok, so I do not think that Teen Mom should be on television PERIOD. I've seen a couple episodes and it makes me sick, these little girls complaining about how tough life is blah blah blah but at least I'm going through it with my baby.. Cue the vomit now. Someone should tell these girls "Yea, you know why your life is so tough? Cause you had a kid instead of coughing up the money to get it taken care of like any other normal minded person". When I was 18 the girl I was hooking up with (not dating) at the time came to me and told me that she was late, and bought a test and it came out that she was pregnant.  At the time I didnt work, lived with my mom still, and was still in school.  I figured we were on the same page. And offered to pay for the abortion 50 50, she says "No I really want to have this baby" I say "WHAT?! HAHA yea and where u two gonna live, with what money?" she says "we will make it work" I respond "no WE won't LOL, I'm still in school, I don't have a job even if I did it wouldn't be a steady career that you need for a family", well long story short she got the procedure and I never spoke to her again, took 2 months to get her to agree to something that seemed to me like the easiest decision ever.
     That aside, you have the group of people that say "teen mom is great it shows kids that they shouldn't want to do this"... Yea right, your giving kids too much credit to distinguish that on their own. I feel The same way towards this view as I do towards sex education. Yes your showing kids the dangers and sadness of teen pregnancy, but just like sex Ed teaches kids to be careful and stay protected, they are still exposed to thinking about "SEX", accept with this tv show, the kids still get exposed to "teen motherhood".  Kids are going to think it is ok, and acceptable to do something dumb like this if put in that oppertunity when it really isnt, personally I look down upon it, such as "oh your 17? Oh and ur a mother? I'm sry to hear that, why couldn't u guys come up with the 500 bucks to fix it before it got to this point?" and she'll prolly respond "cause I love my boyfriend and I wouldn't give up my son for the world" lol 1) a 17 yr old girl doesn't know what love is, 2) I bet after the fact any person in the right mind would trade they're kid for ONE thing, theyre life before the kid back.
   That's my stand on this topic, would love some feedback, hopefully not from any pro life activists and don't even get me started on them lol, the only thing I gotta tell them is "theyres a time and place for everything, why ruin ur life with the burdens of a child 10 years before u should even be thinking about it, thx for ur ears and I'll ttyl
> 60 days ago

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openmind
openmind writes:
I watched one show to see what it was about and I agree with the t.v show. I am a mother of 3 and I had my first child at 19. I was with the father, however  had to leave and figure out my life on my own. My mom just turned 16 when she had me. My grandmother put me in a foster home and then when my mom got me back all my grandma did was put her down. While I was growing up, I believed everything my grandma said about my mom. From what her siblings have said and herself she tried. My grandma was not a mom that was ever around when they were growing up but she had no problem saying bad things about my mom. I grew up making alot of mistakes as a teen because of all the negativity. Everyone always had something to say and nine times out of 10 they were not positive. Jennels mom on the show is very negative and you can tell she has always been that way. A 16 yr old should not be able to just sign over custody to anyone without the help of a lawyer or a judge. I do believe in temporary custody. For one no matter what your age is, if you have your first child as everyone say's there is no hand book on how to raise them. My father helped me so much with my first child cause I had to leave the father because he abused me. I later had two more children, big age gaps between all three. However Jennels mom yells at her and puts her down in front of Jennels son. That shows me that Jennels mom is not raising her grandson in a positive manner. If she cared so much about her own daughter or her own grandson, she would take her daughter aside and have talks. I believe no matter what people should always want the child to be with the parents and give them constructive critisim and help them to grow into hopefully wonderful parents.
> 60 days ago

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Pamela Dominguez
I have viewed this program with my daughter. Most the teenagers in the show have issues. The issues that the teen moms have are everyday problems. Most of the teen moms are struggling with school, parents, work, money, baby's dad, etc. My daughter does not think the teen moms are glorified at all and neither do I. She promotes abstinence to friends, because of the show.
> 60 days ago

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LouiseSattler
LouiseSattler , Child Professional writes:
It is so hard to judge if these shows help or hinder.  In my opinion, if nothing else it does open up an opportunity for parents and teens to have frank and honest discussions that may otherwise be difficult to initiate.
> 60 days ago

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LISTENER
LISTENER writes:
People ( teens/parents) are entitled to their own opinions. Alot of teens are visual learners some may like the show some may not. Even though we discourage our teens to watch different types of media, alot of our teens pick up different behaviors from music, games and peers. The best way to talk to teens about Abstinence, sex and risky behaviors, and teen pregnancy is through communication and trust. alot of us parents become angry first and assume our teens are already engaging in sex. talking to teens about sex and pregnancy is a sensitive topic.
> 60 days ago

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YourAdviceGuru
YourAdviceG... , Teacher, Parent writes:
Although I use the parental controls faithfully on our televisions, I learned that my controls were doing nothing to block reality TV. My daughter was watching The Braxtons, Mary Mary, and even Teen Mom. First, I am not a fan of reality TV. I think there are too many shows that portray negative situations and personal conflict all in the name of ratings and entertainment. I do not personally like chaos, arguing and fussing, so I do not indulge in too much reality TV, so you can imagine my shock when I went downstairs and discovered my daughter glued to the television screen watching Teen Moms!

Of course I banned her from watching Teen Moms! I do not think there is anything entertaining about teen parenting. I found out how to update my television’s parental controls, but I still had to deal with what my daughter had already been exposed to. I sat her down and we talked about why she should not watch the show and about “reality” and the fact that most of these shows are not reality. Reality shows should not be examples of how to live, act, and manage relationships!

In the age of social media, apps, and reality TV, it has become more difficult to monitor what our children are exposed to. And while our protective instincts say “ban them from everything,” the reality is we have to discuss content with our children so that they have the correct perspective and can learn to filter out mess.

On another note, many teens begin to rebel around this age and their attitudes begin to change. I encourage you to keep the lines of communication open between you and your daughter. Becoming a teenager can be difficult. I can’t imagine doing it again in this age! Your daughter may just be adjusting to teenhood and immolating the coolest reality TV stars may be her way of trying to fit.

-Tamara, Your Advice Guru

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