A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent discussions about having sex and about birth control. One young mom is shown having a pelvic exam. Infidelity is discussed.
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Words like "jackass" and "bitch" are audible. Words like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional discussions of drinking or drug use, often on the part of teen fathers.
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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.
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).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.