I just read on twitter…
16 & Pregnant makes me happy that I have boys.
Admittedly, I have never watched 16 & Pregnant, so maybe I’m missing something…but how is it better to have boys than girls when thinking of teen pregnancy? With either one, they need education about abstinence and safe sex, and if they make different choices and end up pregnant…it’s as much the boy’s responsibility as it is the girl’s. Statements like that imply that a teen pregnancy isn’t as much a boy’s problem, as it is the girl’s. Statements like that turn teen Dads into deadbeat Dads, because it wasn’t their problem to begin with.
We have a big responsibility as the Moms of boys. We need to teach them to respect women. We need to teach them about the emotional impact of a sexual relationship, as well as the risks of pregnancy and disease. We need to teach them to take on the responsibility of protection, even when they believe their partner has already taken care of it. We need to teach them what their responsibilities will be if they become parents. We do not need to teach them that we are relieved to have boys so we don’t need to worry about teen pregnancy.
And what if despite all of your education, your teen son’s girlfriend becomes pregnant? What then? I can tell you from the perspective of a girl who was pregnant at barely 19 years old. From the perspective of a mother who watched her son grow up without a father. From the perspective of a woman who couldn’t secure a relationship between her son and his paternal grandparents. You teach your son that he is responsible for that child…financially, emotionally, as a role model and with absolutely no excuses. You teach him that he can have a mature and caring relationship with the mother of his child, even if they are not a couple, because that is what is best for his child. Teach him about his rights as a parent, and how to go about fighting for them, if he needs to, and support him in that. Teach him that being a good parent has nothing to do with age, and that he can do it. Teach him by example, and be an advocate for that child, even if he isn’t. Teach him that his job as a parent is to teach his own children about the difference between right and wrong, about choices, and how to accept responsibility for the choices he makes.
And if you have a girl…teach her the same things.