Teen moms face challenges not experienced by most older moms. They're more likely to drop out of school, live below the poverty level, experience unemployment and jail time, and have significant health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1. Statistics from the Child Welfare Information Gateway and Childhelp suggest that teen moms are also more likely to be victims of abuse and to abuse their children. Appropriate activities and support can help teen moms beat those statistics and create a better future for themselves and their children.
Many teen moms drop out of school when pregnant, so activities and programs that keep them in school are vital. However, a high-school education isn't the only kind of educational activities teen moms need. They benefit from childbirth and parenting education to prepare for the birth and taking care of the baby. Parenting education provides valuable information and tools that might keep their children from experiencing abuse and avoid the need for Child Protective Services intervention. Financial education provides valuable budgeting and planning tools that help these moms make the best use of their economic resources. Any mom who enrolls in these educational activities sees benefits that far exceed the amount of time spent in class.
Spending time with a mentor teaches a teen mom how to succeed as a parent and as an individual. Mentors who are parents provide valuable, firsthand experience on raising children, while those who have had or currently have successful business careers demonstrate appropriate conduct in the workplace and how to dress for success, and pass on valuable skills that employers value. The mentor can also be a valuable listener and adviser for the mom, helping her talk out difficult situations, problem-solve, gain confidence and stay in school.
Teen moms often receive little or no financial and emotional support from the teen father. Activities that provide job skills like computer education, interview tips and office skills might increase her earning potential. Activities that simulate job interviews or how to interact with co-workers help her approach the work environment with confidence and valuable experience that could successfully place her in a job. Companies that offer internships and on-the-job training to teen moms benefit from more-skilled employees who might feel a strong sense of loyalty to the employer.
All work and no education makes for a tired and dispirited teen mom. These young women need time to bond and play with their children in a safe environment. Teen-mom support groups can offer playgroups that benefit moms and kids by providing socialization, community support and mutual sharing and learning. The group could offer workshops for the moms on nutrition and other valuable topics, fun crafts and interaction with the children, and joint outings to parks, the zoo or other enjoyable places. Group sponsors work with the families to intervene early when signs of significant stress appear that could lead to abuse, and to offer resources and information on programs that benefit group members.
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