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Youth Parenting – The Way Forward for Young Mothers

Updated on March 2, 2018
Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette is a champion for young people. She attempts, through her writing, to encourage them to aspire and to urge others to support them.

Young Mother With a Plan


Having a Child is No Excuse For a Young Woman to Abandon Her Dreams

The phenomenon of youth parenting has always existed and is not likely to disappear. However, having a child at a young age is no longer the setback which it was for the young mother three or four generations ago. Today’s young mothers are more exposed to the world around them and are blessed with many opportunities which can help them to transcend difficulties and reach for the stars despite temporary setbacks caused by unplanned motherhood. Above all, today’s young mothers do not have to view their lives as ruined all because they might have made some bad decisions which resulted in the birth of a child before they were able to access tertiary education and pursue their desired careers.

The 21st century young woman with ambition and the potential for a successful career, is likely to have a vision for her future and may very well see herself as a catalyst for change in her country and further afield. Through one bad decision she might end up becoming a mother prematurely. Notwithstanding, her vision must not die; it must now be tweaked to include the child for which she is now responsible. Her dreams must not be cancelled; in fact, they need to become bigger now!

Here then are some of the options available to young mothers who desire to pursue their career dreams and fulfill their vision for their lives and that of their child.

There Are Several Options

  • Find a Job - The first step towards self-reliance and self-empowerment for the young mother is finding a job. Earning an income, increases the self-worth of every young woman. Her newly acquired independence brings a measure of confidence for she is now able to provide her basic needs even though she might require support from her partner to raise their child and financial assistance for her studies. In fact, it will assist her in qualifying for a loan or other form of financial assistance to fund her studies if needs be. Moreover, being employed brings about maturity and discipline and serves as a powerful motivator for personal and professional development.
  • Take Evening Classes - The next step is for her to move ahead with her education. Evening classes present a reasonably practical option where this is possible. However, although very useful, evening classes can be somewhat limiting for as the term indicates; they take place in the evening after work. Hence, a young woman who is registered into an evening program might be slowed down and made to perform below her true potential in the sense that she might be forced to take fewer courses than she is really capable of taking because she has to pick up her child from the nursery or the baby sitter by a specific time towards the end of the day and has no one to take over to enable her to attend later classes.
  • Obtain Support From Family Members - There are various established support mechanisms such as boyfriend/spouse, parents, grandparents and other relatives, baby sitters and nurseries which can assist the young working mother in moving ahead with her education. Obtaining assistance from family members is probably the oldest option for the young mother; one which has stood the test of time. Usually, parents are more than willing to make the sacrifices themselves to allow their daughters to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives without too much emotional or psychological strain and without feeling that they have abandoned their responsibilities as mothers. They therefore assist in looking after the child if they are unemployed or doing the dropping off and picking up at nurseries or schools if they are at work during the day.

This works particularly well in the case of young mothers who need to or wish to travel overseas for study. Sometimes the child’s father works in conjunction with the parents/grandparents and this brings an added measure of security to the absent young mother. Leaving the child in the hands of family members who love him/her and are willing to take good care of him/her allows the mother to pursue her studies with a certain degree of peace because she does not have to worry about the safety and well-being of her child. I have seen many instances of this in my country, Dominica, where many young persons obtain scholarships or other forms of financial assistance to undertake studies tenable at universities and colleges abroad.

I've Got My Computer and I'm going After My Dreams


Move With Technology

  • Enrol in Online Programs – Technology has revolutionized education and learning; it has made it possible for persons to remain at home and access higher education and training in line with their desired career paths.

Online programs are the God sent option for every aspiring young mother who lacks family or spousal support. There are many resources available online to make education and training more accessible; to acquire knowledge and to obtain advise, guidance and information.

Online classes can be taken for qualifications at all levels - certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral levels. In some instances, it may require short periods of actual presence on campus to meet course requirements or for the purpose of laboratory research etc. Since these are usually for short stints the problem of finding someone to look after the child during these periods is not as grave.

The most important tools for online classes are a laptop and internet service. A good mobile phone or tablet enhances one’s capacity to access classes, discussions and assignments on the move, to keep within schedules and meet deadlines. However, every young person who intends to succeed through this medium should take every opportunity to enhance their ICT skills to allow themselves the benefit of being able to function optimally using these devices for their studies. Certainly, in the 21st century, the use of ICTs is the way to go!

It can certainly be challenging for the working mother to come home to her maternal duties after a long day at work and to sit up long hours in the night after she has seen to the needs of her child, to toil over online classes, tutorials, group work and assignments. But who said success comes easily? With ambition, determination and perseverance, success will become a reality. The key is for the young woman to set her eyes on her goal and to constantly remind herself that the sacrifice is not forever. Thus, the young woman who is really serious about moving ahead with her education and career goals will condition herself and make every necessary sacrifice to attain her goals while at the same time looking after her child the best that she can to ensure that his/her life fits into her overall vision for her future.

My Laptop and My Phone - My Best Friends Man!


Grow While You Earn

  • Participate in On the Job Training/Capacity Building – Some organizations provide their employees with the opportunity to undertake skills training or capacity building on the job. This is an excellent medium for obtaining certification in areas of interest. These trainings obviously, take place during working hours allowing employees to obtain a skill or some form of professional development which might be in line with their career goals without loss of income. Sometimes, these trainings are sponsored by international agencies and allow opportunity for overseas travel and interaction with regional and international partners. This exposure is awesome for aspiring young persons! This can be undertaken in conjunction with their evening or online programs.
  • Get into Entrepreneurship - Young persons, who are able to identify their gifts early, are in a position to pursue independence and self-reliance through entrepreneurship. They are able to exploit their gifts and talents and channel them into sustainable income generating projects providing a livelihood for themselves as well as employment for others. Initially, they may require financial support to establish themselves and in many countries, governments provide entrepreneurial/small business support to enable such persons to start off businesses on their own and to encourage expansion in the private sector. They may also require training, but this is, to a large extent, accessible through online programs and free online tutorials.
  • Like other employed mothers, female entrepreneurs face the challenge of making time for their child, but enjoy better flexibility in the sense that they are their own bosses. This is an area in which expansion can be gradual and so the young mother would have to cut her clothes according to her cloth; meaning that she would have to be mindful not to take on more than she can effectively handle in her specific circumstances.

Go After Your Dreams

The 21st century young mother, who remains unfulfilled simply because she had a child early, is doing herself a disservice. She should be encouraged to have a vision for herself which includes her child and to endeavour to place herself in a better position in terms of education and career to create a brighter future for herself and her child. Obviously, varied levels of sacrifice may be necessary depending on personal circumstances, but success does not come without hard work and sacrifice except, perhaps, in the case of persons who were born into affluence. She should therefore understand clearly that while having a child might have caused a temporary delay in the fulfillment of her ambitions; it certainly does not prevent realization of her dreams.

Young Mother - Stand Still or Move Ahead

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© 2018 Joyette Helen Fabien


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