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Teen Pregnancy: When Children Want Children

Updated on June 22, 2009
A baby offers unconditional love. (Photo by Aneta Blaszczyk)
A baby offers unconditional love. (Photo by Aneta Blaszczyk)

Teen pregnancy happens accidentally all the time (though apparently the numbers have been declining). But what about when a teen girl wants to have a baby? It might not be overwhelmingly common, but The Maury Show has profiled plenty of them so there are certainly some girls like this out there. And now with Jamie Lynn Spears -- a supposed role-model for young girls -- pregnant, I'm just not sure what to think.

(Disclaimer: I am not talking about accidental teen pregnancies, certainly not the ones where the teens turn their lives around to do the best they can by their child.)

Fifteen-Year-Old Wants a Baby

The case in this video baffles me. It seems like the mother is loving (though maybe not assertive enough) and tries to be around for her child. Any ideas on why this kid feels so empty?

Who Are These Girls?

From what I can tell, these 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds on Maury Povich's show who want to get pregnant don't quite understand what they're asking for.

It looks to me something like a boy of that age who is determined to join the Army, but by the time he is old enough realizes that it is totally wrong for him; if these girls were old enough to know a little bit about themselves (and the way the world works), their minds would probably be set on something else.

They're either not educated enough or voluntarily ignoring the fact that birthing and raising a child are not easy and will not make their lives more fun.

Certainly no girl I knew when I was in high school wanted to have a child at that time (though some of them got pregnant) because we all knew how much work it was and that our social lives would pretty much be over. You can't go out to hang out with your friends the same way when your baby needs to be nursed every two hours. I thought that was obvious.

So why are these girls ignoring that information? What do they really want?

A young pregnant mother in distress. (Photo by Jyn Meyer)
A young pregnant mother in distress. (Photo by Jyn Meyer)

The Psychology

Now, I'm not a psychologist, but some of this seems pretty obvious after a few minutes of contemplation. Apparently it's obvious to Yahoo Answers, too. The consensus seems to be as follows:

  • The girls want somebody to love and to love them back, unconditionally. Even the crazy girl in the video admits it. Either they're not getting it from their parents, or they're not allowing themselves to receive the love from their parents. But they certainly want it.
  • They think it will be "cute" to have a tiny person to dress up and parade around. Undoubtedly it is fun to shop for baby clothes and dress them up, but that is a tiny part of motherhood and is certainly not a reason to be a mother.
  • Their physical and sexual hormones are kicking in and possibly overwhelming their ability to reason (possibly because of weak reasoning skills in the first place).
  • Most teen girls want to grow up faster. I know I did. Taking on the responsibility of a baby is a great way to "grow up," though ironically not a responsible one.
  • They just don't have anything constructive to focus their energies on, be it school or a hobby or an ambition.

There is also always the occasional case of a girl trying to get pregnant to "trap" her boyfriend into staying with her or even marrying her because she believes they are truly in love.

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What to Do, What to Do?

On Maury Povich's show, these girls are forced to talk to prisoners and to former teen mothers who "tell it like it is." Sometimes they're made to care for a baby for a day to see how hard it is. Allegedly this works, and all the girls change their minds.

Honestly, when it gets to the point of, "I'm gonna have a baby no matter what my mama says," I think that what Maury does is the only option: try to show them how it will really be.

But we should be intercepting this long before it gets to that point. Children, especially teenagers, need active parenting with reassurance that they are valuable and loved. They need to be encouraged to succeed in school to the best of their abilities and to develop hobbies to constructively spend the rest of their time.

We also need to teach our children about the value of life: it is not ours to give and take at whim with no concern for the consequences. And children should have concrete responsibilities according to their abilities to uphold them, whether it's walking the dog every day or cooking dinner every Thursday night.

I understand that these things are tough to ask of, say, a single mother (as it seems the mother in the video clip is), but they're still possible. Pay attention for warning signs in your children and try to keep lines of communication open. That may be easier said than done, but to give up trying is to completely give up on your child, and I don't think anyone wants to do that.


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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      I enjoyed this Hub very much. Very informative. I'd like to link this Hub to mine I just wrote on Parenting, The Hardest Job In The World.

    • profile image

      Carliismiles<3 6 years ago

      I'm 17 years old, and im dying for a child. I'm getting to a point where that's all i think about.. i see all my friends with kids and what not and i get a bit jealous, because while their pregnancies were unwanted.. they still get a beautiful child. My fiancé also wants a little baby, i guess the baby fever has hit us both. But for now we're waiting for the right time when we're settled and can financially afford to have a child.

      I can't wait to become a mommy thought!

    • profile image

      Mz.Sam-e.Bb. 7 years ago

      I honestly believed that teen girls who want to have a bby is because they're missing something in life. That's the case with me. I know that at 15 I'm not ready to have a baby but that doesn't stop me from wanting one. A lot of people say my reason isn't justiried but I'm sure they dont know what it's like to feel as unloved as I do. Anyway, if I do have a baby, hopefuly in the near future, I will not have it for such a tupid reason as keeping a boyfriend. If I want a baby I will do it for me and nobody else.



      P.S. If anybody wants to coment on what I had to say, you want to tell me your own personal story or give me some advice, please feel free to e-mail me at

      Thank you!

    • GoGranny profile image

      GoGranny 8 years ago from Southeastern PA

      Hi Helena. Nice information in this hub. Great response to USA's comment. I was going to defend you but then I seen that you did a nice job for yourself! So sad are these young girls' misconceptions about having a baby. I agree that the parenting is the biggest part of educating young girls about the difficulties present for teen mothers. But our society isn't helping either by allowing the media and advertisers to compromise our kids' sexual innocence by glamorizing sex constantly.

    • profile image

      micheal 8 years ago

      it,s not good to get pregnant the lady,however ......................................................................?

    • helenathegreat profile image

      helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

      Hi there USA.  I really appreciate this comment; it's very thoughtful and well-argued.  You are absolutely correct that a teen girl having a baby and a boy joining the military are pretty much incomparable in the way they will impact those kids' lives.  I think, though, that you are looking at my comment in the wrong way.  Let me clarify.

      I wrote:  "It looks to me something like a boy of that age [13-15 years old] who is determined to join the Army, but by the time he is old enough realizes that it is totally wrong for him."

      I have no negative views of the military.  My mother was a commander in the Navy (a great way to pay for medical school), and I have many other family members who have served our country.

      That said, a 17- or 18-year-old choosing to join the military is very different from a 14-year-old who knows nothing about himself as a person but wants to join.  There's a reason that we have age limits on these things.

      My point is only that kids in their early teens have big ambitions: they want to take on responsibility, to be committed, to feel a part of something bigger than themselves.  The difference is that we have to wait until we're 18 to enlist in the military, but a girl can get pregnant as soon as she's had her period, which often happens before she's even a teenager these days.

      The hope is that families will help guide their children into the right decision. Sometimes the right decision is to join the military, but sometimes it's not. It depends on the person, their available alternatives, etc.

    • profile image

      USA 8 years ago

      I strongly disagree with the comparison of a teen girl who wishes to have a child with that of a teen boy who wishes to join the army. I have a cousin who was talked out of joining the military at age 17 by all the women in the family who thought they were doing him a service. "You want to die?", was a common question they would ask him. Joining would have done him more good than the situation he's in now. High school drop out, got his girl pregnant at 19 she was 18, she's a HS dropout, doesn't work and now he works 12 hour shifts at the factory. What horrible advice they gave him!

      1. Entering the military is an honor and a service to the country. A dishonorable discharge brings with it a pride and experiences that may be beneficial in the workplace. Being a single teen mother usually will stunt a girl's educational or career future and will likely not be a service to the country.

      2. A boy's moral dilmena with having the right to choose to join the military or not pales in comparison to a pregnant girl's dilemna when exercising her right to choose adoption, abortion or keeping the child.

      3. A military career can be as short as 4 years. Being a single teen mother is a job you can never quit, that lasts a lifetime.

      It's obvious that the author has a negative point of view on teen pregnancy and the military. The decision to join the military is certainly one that can weigh heavily on a child and their family and can have similarities to a decision on what to do with a new baby, butplease use better judgement when comparing teen boys and girls negatively in this way.

    • helenathegreat profile image

      helenathegreat 10 years ago from Manhattan

      Oh sure, I can't wait to have children! But obviously I'm nowhere near ready to support or care for one, let alone ready to go through the process of birth and breastfeeding!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      I want a kid, but I know at 20 I'm no where ready to support one...