A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this follow-up to 16 and Pregnant looks at the challenges associated with being a teenage parent, including contentious relationships with their child’s father, their parents, and other family members. As a result, there's tons of bickering and sometimes even physical altercations. Expect lots of strong language (words like “bitch” and “ass” are audible, while stronger words are bleeped) and conversations about birth control. Marriage and adoption are also discussed. It’s not age-appropriate for younger kids, but it could potentially serve as a starting point for parents to talk to teens about sex and its consequences.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
TEEN MOM -- a sequel to MTV’s 16 and Pregnant -- looks at how four teen moms' daily lives have changed since their babies' arrival. Cameras follow each of the new mothers as they as they attempt to finish school, find a job, and maintain a social life while raising a young child. It also looks at the impact that their pregnancy has had on their friends, family members, and themselves. Though the show continues to document the challenges of the original "teen moms," a new crop of teenage mothers are being featured on TEEN MOM 2, which follows an identical format to the original.
Is it any good?
Unlike 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom offers an unglamorous and often uncomfortable look into the lives of teen parents in order to underscore what life can really be like when you have a child at such a young age. It also highlights some of the inner struggles the young women face -- from negotiating their role as a mother and a “typical” teenager to coping with the loneliness and isolation they feel when they can no longer socialize as they did before they got pregnant.
It isn’t easy to watch these kids living with the consequences of the choices they made. It’s even harder to watch them act like teenagers when they should be making more adult choices for themselves and their children. But it's this very discomfort that will hopefully act as a red flag for kids who are thinking (or not thinking carefully enough) about following in their footsteps. As the show has gained in popularity, the teen moms have received lots of attention in the tabloids -- both positive and negative (one mother was accused of domestic violence against her child's father).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages that the media sends about sex and sexual behavior. How do TV shows and movies tend to portray pregnant and/or sexually active teens? Are these portrayals realistic?
How has the media treated the young mothers on this show? Have you seen them featured in celebrity magazines and TV shows? What kind of message does this newfound fame send to teens about the consequences of pregnancy?
What pressures do teens face when it comes to when it comes to having sex? Aside from pregnancy, what are some of the other consequences that teens face when they choose to engage in sexual activity? How about when they choose not to?
What changes take place when a teen has a child? What do you think is the biggest challenge for a teenage mom?