Teen Mom

 
Docu takes a hard, unglamorous look at teen motherhood.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show offers an honest, non-glamorized look at the realities of being a teen parent. It highlights the hard work and multiple challenges involved in having a child at such a young age -- from conflict with partners and family members to the huge responsibility of having a baby to care for. The series' frank approach to its subject matter could help open teens' eyes to the consequences of sex.

Positive role models

Some of the featured teens are still extremely immature and continue to make poor choices, like having unprotected sex and dropping out of school. But all of them seem to love their babies -- even if they don't like their new life as a parent. Some of the teens' parents react in anger (not speaking to them, for example) due to the decisions they've made.

Violence

Frequent bickering, yelling, and screaming between the teen mothers and their partners and/or parents. Some of the mothers get physically violent (pushing, shoving, hitting) with their partners -- sometimes in front of their babies.

Sex

Frequent discussions about having sex and about birth control. One young mom is shown having a pelvic exam. Infidelity is discussed.

Language

Words like "jackass" and "bitch" are audible. Words like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional discussions of drinking or drug use, often on the part of teen fathers.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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).

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Catelynn Lowell, Farrah Abraham, Maci Bookout
Network:MTV
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

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Quality

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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bymelb19 February 15, 2011
age 14+
 

Rewarding Bad Behaviors.

From the shores of New Jersey to the California coasts where the Kardashians reside, the message these shows are distributing to the youth of this country is that not only are their behaviors acceptable but that they can be rewarded with an income that will make them prosperous. More specifically there is one reality show that has especially gotten under my skin, Teen Mom. For those who are unfamiliar with any of the series, Teen Mom is a spin-off of the documentary reality show 16 and Pregnant. The series follows the former 16 and Pregnant stars in their first year of motherhood, documenting their struggles and successes. The show seems to be having a reverse effect on prevent teenage pregnancies in America. Earlier this year a news story from Memphis, Tennessee left me speechless. It was reported that 90 teenage girls were either currently pregnant or have had a baby in this recent school year. However this news story was just the beginning of my shock and disbelief. I discovered through some research on the internet that teen moms of the MTV series were being paid, $65,000 a season. Most of these girls on the show haven’t even graduated high school and they are earning around the same amount of money as a college professor! MTV’s main demographic is from 12-24. The young females that are watching these programs are indirectly told that being a teen parent is becoming more accepted in today’s society. It’s bothersome to me that Americans find entertainment in watching these teen parent’s daily lives, which have the possibility of being completely fabricated! We should be inspiring the citizens of our country to want to emulate the individuals who have made sacrifices to do something of assistance to others, not to strive to become America’s Next Train wreck.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written bySamanthamaster1 December 5, 2014
age 16+
 

25+. Same lousy show, just a spin-off to 16 and Pregnant.

I hate this show just as much as I hate 16 and Pregnant. It promotes teen/early pregnancy.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 December 3, 2012
age 14+
 

teen mom

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?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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