Recently, the news reported that Amber, one of those MTV moms made more than a quarter of a million dollars while reporting on her legal issues over her alleged abuse of her boyfriend on an episode of Teen Mom. The question is does society reward the poor choices and bad behavior of reality “stars”? No matter the outcome of Amber’s situation, she will come out of it with a slap on the wrist and more interest in her appearance on other programs.
Society thrives on drama these days, drama which encourages other young people to mimic the actions of those they watch on television. Drama aside, the grim reality of teen mothers is that they face economic, health and emotional struggles that could have easily been prevented with the correct decision. A teen with a huge level of family, social and economic support may be able to successfully raise a baby, BUT how many teens have this complete circle of support?
The reality is a large number of these babies will be raised by single mothers in poverty level circumstances and suffer from challenges to their health and ability to thrive in an academic environment. The other reality is that the younger the age of the teen mother, the probability of abuse and neglect increases. Although the excitement and attention may keep a young expectant mother, but when she has a baby and is perhaps fifteen, and the rest of her friends have gone on with their young carefree lives, she may grow resentful or apathetic toward the child who now depends on her.
Sometimes these mothers create a cycle that is repeated with their children. Many people know of young mothers who work hard to raise a child successfully to be faced with a young daughter who is pregnant at the same age, if not younger. This life altering situation would make one wonder how heart wrenching this news must be to a mother who worked hard to provide the best she could for her child, and to have the cycle repeat.
Learning that Amber made a small fortune can encourage unrealistic teen girls to have babies with the dream MTV will choose them and they will make as much money or become as famous as those young women. Unfortunately, these young teens fail to realize the publicity MTV teen moms receive is not something they will ever receive. Too many of these young teens will be isolated and struggle day to day to provide food for their child.
A mother at twelve, thirteen, fourteen and so forth is still a child herself. A healthy pregnancy requires good medical care, healthy living, and emotional stability. MTV provides a peek that is scripted into the lives of young women who made poor choices, and now must struggle with the consequences of their decisions. Watching Amber hitting on her boyfriend on an episode of the program was a horrible exploitation of her immaturity and she should face the consequences of her in ability to control her temper.
Perhaps this program is merely a reflection of how society has become so lax and ambivalent toward teenagers having sex and the babies that are created. MTV glorifies these young women and although they try to tell other teens how hard their struggles are, the stories project an aura of “they lived happily ever after.” A follow-up five, ten years would tell the total story because once the camera lights go out and life goes on, does that teen mom live happily ever after?