Friday, September 9, 2011

Mamas (and daddies) don't let your teenage boys and girls grow up to be parents

There is an old Willie Nelson song titled “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” Actually, growing up to be a cowboy is not so bad. What I  am about to say is neither country and western, pop, rhythm and blues, hard rock or rap. I hope it sounds like common sense.

Mamas (and daddies) don’t let your teenage boys and girls grow up to be parents before they are married, gainfully employed mature in body and mind. and ready to take on the responsibility of a family.

Sexual ignorance is not a privilege or attitude, neither is parenthood.  A quick inexperienced sexual act can lead to pregnancy, and nine months the woman or teen is holding the result of that one act of carelessness.  Sex is not the way to  prove you love someone.

Babies cannot fill emotional voids. Babies cannot fix the need to belong. Babies cannot erase loneliness. Babies are not responsible for its parent[s] happiness. Babies cannot turn young boys into men, no matter how they brag about babies they have with different girls. Babies do not automatically turn girls into women, making them ready for motherhood.  

Not all babies are born perfect. Some are born with defects and other complications that responsible adults find difficult to deal with on a daily basis. Babies are not dolls. They cannot be returned to a department store and exchanged because its flawed.

My youngest daughter had a 14-yhear-old friend who got pregnant when she was in high school. She was a pretty girl who might have had a bright future. But she was in love with her boyfriend, and wanted to make him happy. So as she go  pregnant, he left her. She gave birth to a defective child. She was disappointed.

This young girl, who had younger sisters and brothers, got pregnant again to replace the "flawed" baby with a perfect baby. Though she lived with her parents, her mother raised the defective child.  The sad fact here is, this young girl only wanted a baby because her friends were having babies.

Teenagers are selfish takers who want and demand instant gratification from their parent[s]. Babies are selfish and demanding, too. They cry, wake up all hours of  the night and morning. They want their diapers changed, they burp and puke and are constantly hungry. Babies are demanding and irritable when they get sick. Parents have to allow for them getting seriously ill, which means long waits at the hospital and trips to see a pediatrician.

Babies insists that its parent[s] cater to them. They only respond favorably when its needs are met. Sometimes babies cranky and their parent(s) don't know why. Babies require love and nurturing 24/7. Parents have to be prepared to deal with all these ever changing baby personalities and circumstances. Teenagers require and demand the same of their parent[s]. Two crying, screaming and demanding children–one the teen mother, the other the baby–are a combination that's spells trouble. Parenting is real. It is not playing with dolls. Parenting comes with years of responsibility and patience.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that age does not make an adult a good parent. Some adults seem incapable of acting like grownups, let alone being responsible for another life.

Teen pregnancy is on the rise. It has become more acceptable in families, communities, and schools. Some forgiving church members and pastors overlook the "first mistake." According to a 2009 article on teen pregnancy in USA Today: "The highest teen birth rates are in the South and Southwest; Mississippi is highest with 68.4 per 1,000, followed by New Mexico, with a rate of 64.1 and Texas, with 63.1. The lowest rates are in the Northeast. New Hampshire had the fewest teen births with 18.7 per 1,000. Vermont, with 20.8 per 1,000, and Massachusetts, with 21.3 per 1,000, were also low. Decreases were noted in New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia."

So I repeat. Mamas (and daddies) don’t let your teens grow up to be parents until they are mature enough to handle the responsibility of fatherhood and motherhood. The future you save may be theirs. The headache you avoid may be your own.

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