In part one, I discussed how it can be difficult to maintain those child-like hobbies one indulges in when having children. I also agreed with Wolfie’s post on this topic (READ HERE), and expanded on how this works in my own life. Part Two, however, is about teenagers or immature adults having children. This seems to becoming a more common trend, not only in my small corner of the World.. but in America as a country.
I know people who have children at a young age themselves, and been great parents. They worked hard to improve their education so they could afford to provide for their kids. They were great parents who made sure their children were cared for, educated, taught morals, and how to behave. However, I know more people who have had children at a younger age and done the opposite. They have relied on Government handouts to keep themselves going, opting to not look for work. They don’t ensure that their children are going to be cared for. They don’t care about their children’s education because they are not highly educated themselves. They don’t teach their children morals, and they sure as hell don’t teach them how to behave.
What’s the difference? I couldn’t say for sure. At first glance, I was going to say the difference was a socioeconomic one. It was based on the social class and financial situation of the parent. But I’ve known people from all walks of life who have had children at a young age and either chosen to raise them properly, or not at all. I then thought that maybe the difference was having a good support system. Such as a supportive family, friends who care, and a spouse or another parent to help out. Again, I’ve known people who have had children at a young age who did not have support systems and who opted for A or B. I’ve known people to have support systems and either use them the way they were meant to be, or take advantage of them and not stand on their own two feet.
So what causes this difference? I think it is the person themselves. Not how they were raised, per se, but how they perceived their life’s struggles and how they chose to use that information.
Two great examples of this are Marie and Beth. I am using made up names because I don’t want to offend anyone who might read this (oh how large is thy head?). At any rate, Marie had a child at a very young age. She had a semi-supportive mother but the father of the child left as soon as he found out she was pregnant. She did not have a father herself. She graduated High School and ended up going to school for Nursing. She is now able to fully stand on her own. She has her own house, her own car, and can pay her own way in life for both her and her child. She teaches her child morals and values, how to behave properly in public, and makes sure she has a good education to provide for herself when she grows up. Over the years, her mother has become more supportive as Marie has worked to improve their relationship. Marie took a difficult situation, learned from it, and applied herself. I know that sounds easy.. but it wasn’t. It took years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Marie realized that now that she had a child, she had to provide for that little girl. It was time to give up on Marie’s selfish wishes and be a parent.
On the other hand, we have Beth. Beth had a child with a man who has children with another woman. She wanted to make her jealous, so she decided to get pregnant by him. This is not a good start. Already, Beth is choosing to have a child for own selfish reasons. She has already proven that she is immature and will probably not make the best decisions for the child. And she doesn’t. She lives off of handouts as much as she can, working as little as possible. She has been evicted, run out of food in the house, and had utilities shut off on more than one occasion – because she didn’t want to work. She does not know how to properly care for her child, and does not care to learn. She has ended the relationship with her mother because her mother was “being bossy about caring for the baby” AKA trying to help. Beth is immature. She will not make the necessary sacrifices for her child. She will not make an effort to teach her child morals, how to behave, or the importance of education. Beth has not learned from her experiences. Beth does not apply herself . She chooses manipulation and victimization over hard work and sacrifice. She will not change, this is who she is. And this is probably who her child will be.
I am going to overgeneralize here, but these two situations pretty much sum up the majority of young people I know who have or have had children. There are some that might not fight perfectly into these categories (as in the instance when a friend did what was best for the baby and adopted her out to a loving family that could take care of her), but the majority of them do. Also, this does not only apply to young people having children. There are older couples who have children and fall into many categories as well. However, of the many young people I know in my small MidWestern towne having kids.. they seem to pretty easily fall into these two categories. More so the latter one. It is frustrating to go to McDonald’s or Wal-Mart only to be bombarded by an obviously young mother who refuses to have her child(ren) behave in public. It is even more discouraging when she, herself, does not behave well in public or does nothing when the child(ren) cusses, becomes inappropriate with others, or chooses to treat the surrounding area like their own jungle gym. Why do I say mother only? Because in this area, it seems to be that the mother is always the one with the kid(s). I live in a very traditional/redneck area and the majority of the time, the children are misbehaving while the mother is ignoring them and the father is off somewhere talking to a buddy or another woman. It is maddening.
I would have to conclude, then, that another issue of the situation is the degradation in the family unit. Those who have strong parental influences in a positive way are probably going to be aware of the consequences that their actions have. On the other hand, those that were not taught these things by their parents, are probably not going to take the time to teach them to their children. I’m not talking about a nuclear family. I know many mixed families that are very successful. I know many nuclear families that are not. I’m talking about having parents (or parental-like individuals) who are involved, who care, who provide, and who know how to make sacrifices and apply themselves for their children. Parents who are emotionally available, but who also know how to provide discipline. Again, I would say this is the difference.. but come to think of it, I know people that did not have this and learned to do what was best for their kids anyway.
So I’m back at square one. I guess it’s all about the individual. I think, though, that if we did teach our children more realistic values than things such as abstinence VS birth control and religion/saved/heaven VS sin/fire/death then things might not be so bad. I think that teaching children a very all or nothing point of view is not helping the situation out any. I’m not sure that it’s causing it either, though.