KIDS HAVING KIDS: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF PREGNANCY ON TEENAGE WOMEN

COPY TO:                                                          DURATION: 55:00

PRODUCER: Sean Powers                                       ENGINEER: D. Freberg

AIR DATE: 2/27/03

 

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“Rape, incest, sexual abuse by family member…(1:30)XXXthis is good, and then the next thing is the sexual thing. Even then, given control over the situation I’m not sure how much control a 12, 13, 14, 15 year old has in terms of the emotional level to which they go.”

“It’s a very difficult time for students in this age...(0:14)XXXmedia and all those things that promote certain behaviors that cause difficulties later on.”

They’re not kids anymore...(0:16)XXXgo to school, take care of the baby, and work.  So they become adults when they’re still kids

 

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“When I became pregnant I was 14…(0:03)XXXwhen I had him I was 15”

 

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“I was in a state of panic. I just…(0:15)XXXOf all the things that could’ve been wrong that’s what happened.  It was a bad shock. I wasn’t ready at the time”

 

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“I cried. I was mad…(0:08)XXXeverything was on my mind not to have him”

 

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“Well, I think if an adolescent…(0:12)XXXthey only have so many choices, and if they start talking about it earlier it gives them more time to make the best decision for them”

 

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“If you have a strong parent in the home…(0:11)XXXI think teenagers are able to make up their minds, and what’s the best option for them”

 

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“Good, good education…(0:10)XXXcan turn a life around after teen pregnancy”

“I think the parenting classes are very...(0:17)XXXthe school has become more important in the last 20 years in teaching parenting skills.”

 

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“The choices kids have…(0:07)XXXare very difficult because there’s not one thing that’s right for every person”

 

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“If you go through the whole nine months…(0:08)XXXyou do get attached so why when you do have a baby you want to give it up”

 

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“Everything in her life changes. You don’t even go to the bathroom the same way…(0:23)XXXto the way that you get up and eat, to the way that you go to sleep. I mean it’s the basic things that we take for granted. It’s all changing for the mom.”

 

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“I loved my life cause I was out there…(0:15)XXXnow I have to slow all that down cause I have two people to think about”

 

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On today’s program, “Kids Having Kids: The Psychological Effects of Pregnancy on Teenage Women,” we will be covering the reasons teenage women become pregnant, how their lives change after getting pregnant, who they should talk to, how to talk to the family, options they have during and after their pregnancies, and finally forms of abuse that can develop between teenage mothers and their children.  Guests on today’s program include a pregnant teen from Homewood-Flossmoor High School who will be referred to as “Tara”; a teen with a child from Homewood-Flossmoor High School who will be referred to as “Ashley”; Evelyn Lerman, author of “Teen Moms: The Pain and the Promise”; Terry Comerford, a social counselor from Homewood-Flossmoor High School; Dr. Von Mansfield, Principal of Homewood-Flossmoor High School; Dr. Laura Murray, Superintendent of Homewood-Flossmoor High School; Jennifer Hoff, Child Development teacher at Homewood-Flossmoor High School; and Shannon Kane, a counselor from Aunt Martha’s which is an agency devoted to assisting abused and troubled women.

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Teenage women become pregnant for a variety of reasons.  Evelyn Lerman talks about how neglect can be a factor for a teen to have sex.

 

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“It has a lot to do with self image. No hope, very little hope for the future…(0:12)XXXbut kids who have nothing to simulate their day. Just picture what the bleakness of that kind of life must be.”

“Usually they don’t…(0:19)XXXor sometimes they think if they become pregnant the male will stay with them.”

 

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Teenage women who are neglected are three times as likely to neglect their own children.  Half of all teenage women are depressed prior to becoming pregnant.  Shannon Kane, Evelyn Lerman, and Jennifer Hoff discuss how some teens feel when they are depressed

 and want to start a relationship with a guy.

 

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“I think sometimes teenagers get to that point when they hit and it’s so low…(0:18)XXXsometimes it’s just that when you meet that someone, and even if he’s left out, you feel like you have something or somebody who’s going to love you back.”

 

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“If you’re down and nothing looks good to you, maybe you don’t care…(0:44)XXXbut until it comes out in the open in some reasonable way, I think that the fact that it’s a hidden relationship takes a lot of the joy away from it.”

“Basically when they’re looking for as if there is nothing right in the world that maybe by having sex…(0:14)XXXthat baby can solve all your problems because you’ll have someone to love and that baby will love you, and then you won’t be depressed anymore.”

 

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Tara talks about how she felt before getting pregnant.

 

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“I had no reason to have a bad self-esteem…(0:49)XXXI didn’t like to be thinking about no boys or something like that, it just was never my style”

 

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Tara explains how her views towards herself changed once she became pregnant

 

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“I realized that I had a lot more going for me…(0:28)XXXI know I will eventually succeed in whatever I accomplish.”

Superintendent Dr. Laura Murray shares an idea for a school support group that would help teens with difficult situations in their lives.

“I think one of the things we’ve prodded ourselves on as a school is if there is…(0:23)XXXor death of a parent, or divorce situation. I think if there were enough pregnant girls that wanted to deal with that situation, we would form a support group for them”

 

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Twenty-five percent of all teens feel pressured into having sex.  Jennifer Hoff explains how peer pressure can influence teens to have sex.

“I guess the old saying of everybody’s doing it…(0:15)XXXwe don’t think about the moment just kind of what will happen to come”

Tara and Ashley discuss why they had sex.

 

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“Peer pressure, I was really, really confused…(0:20)XXXI was feeling by myself so I had to do something I guess.”

 

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“Being a teen trying to experience things, just …(0:07)XXXgrowing up too fast basically”

 

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Teens who do not have a healthy relationship with their guardian are more likely to be pressured into having sex.

“Well, I think parents that have a big interest in their kids…(0:40)XXXyou kind of get them hooked by that fact that you’re as much of a part of their lives as the peers”

 

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“If you have a strong parent in the home…(0:38)XXXif teens knew you were in a similar situation and it is hard. I acknowledge that it is there, I definitely think that the teens will understand what the parent is trying to teach them”

 

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“If you have an adult you can bounce your thoughts and feelings from…(0:23)XXXthey can help you with you self-image and self esteem, and then I think it helps you with peer pressure.”

Terry Comerford talks about another solution to peer pressure.

“You have to know yourself…(0:23)XXXit is a tough time, and I think when you talk about peer pressure I would also include the media. I think the media exposes people to a lot of things”

 

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The media holds a powerful influence over teens to have sex

 

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“That the media are forever telling young people just do it…(0:46)XXXwe could probably lick this problem well before it starts, but they don’t. They’re just looking to make a buck”

“The media has a profound impact…(0:20)XXXfrom the way women are suppose to dress and act, and the attitude of males towards women”

 

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Shannon Kane and Evelyn Lerman discuss how a relationship between a teen and her significant other can degenerate into an abusive relationship.  

“I think it starts off really, really subtle…(0:35)XXXit starts to turn physical because you start to argue about whatever, and I just think these kind of cues, verbal cues that’ll tell you that this could be leading into something else.”

“I think when there’s uneven power…(0:40)XXXthe male doesn’t want the girl to see anybody or talk to anybody else and becomes very possessive. That can turn into abuse.”

Jennifer Hoff and Shannon Kane explain how verbal abuse in a relationship can put a teen at risk of getting pregnant.

“If you’re always told that you’re bad and no good then obviously you’re going to think that way…(0:37)XXXor if it happens that you become pregnant you seek out that pregnancy because you were told you were no good. Well, then maybe that baby would never tell you, you were no good, and you’d have that baby to love and that baby would love you and only you.”

When a partner is definitely telling...(0:14)XXXI must be worth something because I’m able to do something right.”

 

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The teen might not want to leave her companion despite any abuse.

“They often feel like it’s their fault, or they feel sorry for the person…(0:16)XXXor they feel they’re the one in the wrong, and they’re the one that’s going to save this person”

“I think it’s fear, fear of the unknown…(0:13)XXXgiving up whatever comfort there is in this relationship, self doubt; it’s my fault. I’ll be better if it stops”

Jennifer Hoff and Evelyn Lerman explain why it’s crucial for a teen to tell someone that she is being abused.

“A teenager needs help right away…(0:38)XXXclose figures in their lives need to be involved, not only the teenager being abused.”

Abuse seriously effects their whole life...(0:21)...your a bad person. So frequently they can’t tell.”

Shannon Kane and Jennifer Hoff discuss whether they think teens are at risk of getting pregnant if they have moms who were pregnant teens themselves.

“Yes, I don’t know how many studies have been done on that…(0:31)XXXif my mom did it and she’s ok, then if I do it I’ll be ok. It’s not as bad as everyone makes it seem.”

“I don’t know what the statistic are on it, or if they would necessarily be more likely, but it depends on how they were raised…(0:55)XXXIt was ok for her mother to become pregnant as a teenager, so it would be ok for her so she could work things out just like her mother, and to some degree maybe she can. I don’t know if it would be more likely a risk, but it can.”

Sexual abuse by a family member not only puts a teen at risk of becoming pregnant, but also can psychologically torture them.

“The girl is suffering from a number of things…(0:48)XXXso I’d say the psychological part would be devastating and forever unless some good intervention takes place”

“Definitely, she’d be feeling one, a sense of guilt…(0:45)XXXshe can’t necessarily turn to her mother.  She can’t necessarily turn to the male figure.  I’m sure so many emotions would be going through her head.”

Shannon Kane explains why a teen would want to get pregnant in a domestic abuse situation.

“A lot of women think that if I get pregnant...(0:23)XXXbecomes more visual. So the situation of physical abuse picks up, and so does the verbal abuse”

The causes of teenage pregnancy are endless, but they can be avoided if appropriate actions are taken.

When we return, we will talk about the lifestyle changes for a pregnant teen, who to talk to, how to tell the parents, and school resources available to help teens.

 

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Welcome back to “Kids Having Kids: The Psychological Effects of Pregnancy on Teenage Women” on WHFH 88.5 FM Flossmoor.  A Teen’s lifestyle changes once she becomes pregnant.  Shannon Kane and Terry Comerford talk about some of these changes.

 

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“Everything in her life changes. You don’t even go to the bathroom the same way…(0:23)XXXto the way that you get up and eat, to the way that you go to sleep. I mean it’s the basic things that we take for granted. It’s all changing for the mom.”

 

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“Their friends change like they don’t want to be around them…(0:23)XXXmost adolescents like to be out there doing things, and not just staying around”

 

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Tara explains how her life changed once she became pregnant.

 

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“I didn’t go out as much when I found out I was pregnant…(0:26)XXXThey were limiting everything I did so I couldn’t do all the things I used to do.”

 

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Despite the unpleasant lifestyle changes that pregnancy has to offer, some of the changes can improve a teen’s life

 

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“I think sometimes when people are already…(0:22)XXXsomehow they just get in their minds that I’m going to change my life.”

“Sometimes having a baby causes you to reassess your life…(0:24)XXXsometimes kids that are out there experimenting or doing different things by themselves change because they want it to be a better life for their child”

 

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“Once you get into having a baby…(0:29)XXXnow your mind is I got to get organized. So not only do you get organized in taking care of the baby, but you get organized in a lot of things.”

“They’re not distracted by dating, drinking, or doing drugs…(0:36)XXXthe type of education might get them working where they hadn’t been working before”

 

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Once a teen finds out about her pregnancy, it is important that she notifies someone as soon as possible

 

Shannon Kane discusses why it is important for a teen to notify someone about their pregnancy as soon as possible.

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“You hear these stories about teenagers who went through their pregnancy…(0:55)XXXso care needs to be taken for that baby, and for you in order to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby at the end of that nine months.”

“It is very vital that prenatal care is done as

 

 

 

 

 

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soon as possible…(0:49)XXXthe baby will get what it needs, but the mom will be walking around pretty unhealthy and such damages like teeth and hair happens.”

“Well, I think it’s important because…(0:27)XXXand also she needs family support. She’s just not going to get through all of this without it.”

“Well, I think if an adolescent…(0:12)XXXthey only have so many choices, and if they start talking about it earlier it gives them more time to make the best decision for them”

Before telling the parents, a teen should talk to someone she trusts first.

“They need to try and go over…(0:18)XXXcause this is going to be quite a shock to the parents, and I think they should go in as prepared as possible.”

“Well I think if they tell someone else first…(0:22)XXXfamily friend or something can kind of help them and broach the subject first with their parents.”

 

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Shannon Kane, Evelyn Lerman, and Jennifer Hoff discuss whom they think a teen should talk to first.

 

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“The person she has the closet relationship first…(0:15)XXXthey should decide on who else, but definitely notify a parent as soon as they can”

“Well, she’s got to tell someone she trusts…(0:43)XXXsomebody who’s there to help, a mentor, and then to the parents if at all possible.”

“I definitely think they should tell their parents...(0:43)...or someone that would truly, actively listen to them.”

 

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Tara and Ashley discuss how the fathers of their children reacted to the news of their pregnancies.

 

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“He was happy, he was a little…(0:07)XXXhe wasn’t as surprised as I was. I was more in shock than he was.”

 

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“He wanted him, I didn’t…(0:03)XXXhe helps me whenever I need anything.”

The father of the child won’t always agree to help the pregnant teen. Many men leave their companion once she becomes pregnant. 

“A lot of our clients aren’t usually with their males after they find out they’re pregnant…(0:33)XXXyou get into this thing where you think nobody wants you.”

Jennifer Hoff and Evelyn Lerman talk about what a teen is left with after being deserted by her companion

“Well, definitely one, fear of what’s to come…(0:36)XXXthat can bring out a lot of stress which can do harm not only to herself, but the developing baby inside her.”

“Well, they feel rejected...(0:11)XXXsome get sick physically and emotionally”

Shannon Kane and Evelyn Lerman continue with a way a teen can overcome this emotional stress.

“Find a mentor. Somebody who is an adult…(0:25)XXXthere are other answers we can do something about it. So, I think the best thing to do is find an adult mentor who might be able to help.”

“If there’s a support system...(0:28)XXXthen truly anything can happen including suicide.”

Tara explains how long it took her to tell her parents and what their reactions were.

“I found out when I was…(0:10)XXXso about three months.”

“My mom, she was, she was devastated…(0:21)XXXmy dad, he stopped talking to me for a while so he didn’t take it very well.”

Ashley continues with how long it took her to tell her parents, and what their reactions were.

“It took me…(0:01)XXXthree months”

“My mother wanted me to have an abortion…(0:07)XXXbut I understood where she was coming from because she didn’t want me to ruin my life.”

Another person present when the teen tells her parents can help the teen and the parents with the difficult news.

“I think sometimes if someone else is present…(0:29)XXXbut if there’s someone else present it might help the explosive kind of reaction that the parent has or might have in the beginning.”

 

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Tara and Ashley talk about the support they received from their parents.

 

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“Financially my mom is taking care of everything…(0:22)XXXstuff like putting up a crib, I did all that stuff myself”

 

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“In any and everyway they can…(0:05)XXXall the time whenever I need them they there.”

 

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Even with the support of family behind a pregnant teen, the trauma of being pregnant can pose a serious burden.  Principal Dr. Von Mansfield discusses the resources available at Homewood-Flossmoor High School that can help a pregnant teen.

“I think at any high school, you need to have certain resources in place for students to take advantage of…(0:35)XXXcertainly we have social workers and also a school psychologist that would be available if a student needed to speak to someone about that situation”

A teen’s world is flipped upside down once she becomes pregnant, but with support, her journey won’t be as bumpy.

When we return, we will explore the options a teen has during and after her pregnancy, and the types of abuse that can develop between a teen mom and her child.

 

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Welcome back to “Kids Having Kids: The Psychological Effects of Pregnancy on Teenage Women” on WHFH 88.5 FM Flossmoor.  When a teen becomes pregnant, one of the options she has is to have an abortion. Terry Comerford and Shannon Kane talk about why abortion would be a tough choice for a teen.

“The choices the kids have are very, very difficult…(0:33)XXXthey’ll resent the baby if they had it, their parents would be disappointed, or it would totally change their future.”

“Those things those scars…(0:23)XXXyou don’t know how to deal with them because it’s one of those hush, hush things”

Religion can impact a teen’s choice in having an abortion or not. 

“Abortion is one of those things…(0:44)XXXstay until baby is born, than you figure out what you want to do.”

An abortion can leave a teen with intense emotional feelings.

“It varies from person to person...(0:27)XXXwalk away and they’re fine, and other people have more of a profound loss of feeling about it.”

“They would be feeling a sense of...(0:34)XXXthat sense of security in some way, and a sense of ok with the decision they made.”

 

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Once a teen mom delivers her child she has the option of giving her child up for adoption. Terry Comerford explains why adoption would be a difficult choice for a teen.

“Well, the plus for some of them who choose this…(0:30)XXXit’s very difficult to carry a baby for nine months, and give it up.”

Serious psychological problems can form for the teen once she gives her baby up for adoption.

“They’re always concerned that the child will hate them…(0:22)XXXhere I am I had a baby and I couldn’t even keep her. So I think psychologically that’s really tough on a kid.”

Evelyn Lerman assess the importance for a teen mom receiving education on parenting

“Good, good education, good sex education…(0:10)XXXcan turn a life around after teen pregnancy”

Evelyn Lerman continues by talking about the Florida High School where she works that helps pregnant teens and teen moms.

“It’s a public Sarasota high school, and it has 110 students I think…(1:32)XXXa large number of them go on to junior college or college, and become a professional.”

Jennifer Hoff describes the Child Development class she teaches.

“Child development deals with basically the pre natal point all the way up until school age which is about five years old…(0:24)XXXand theories involved so that’s definitely a psychological aspect with theories and where they’re coming from on the concepts of raising children and child rearing.”

“That sense of regret...(0:49)XXXresources help them and let out those feelings and express those feelings.”

Laura Murray describes one of the programs offered in child development.

“One of the programs we currently have is in our family consumer sciences program in child development…(0:32)XXXbut it really makes a student know what constant attention a baby needs.”

Von Mansfield and Jennifer Hoff talk about the importance of this type of class.

“Dr. Murray talked about a number of programs we have here where students actually work with a doll that’s a simulated baby that has all those needs that a real baby would have…(0:38)XXXwhile they’re trying to work on their own dreams and aspirations would be one of those very informative and effective possibilities for kids to explore.”

“Well, definitely from the educational stand point you learn so much from the development…(0:34)XXXso I guess it helps prepare them and make them aware of different responsibilities, different changes whether that’d be lifestyle, financial, but also joys that’ll come from being pregnant.”

Tara talks about the academic pressure of going to a public high school after finding out she was pregnant.

“It’s hard to concentrate on long, big assignments…(0:19)XXXI have to get up or walk or something. It’s hard to concentrate.”

Laura Murray talks about why more pregnant teens attend public schools.

“I would say fifteen years ago pregnant...(0:16)...I think society’s views on that have changed quite a bit”

Von Mansfield comments on whether he thinks pregnant teens can succeed in a public high school.

“After having been a guidance counselor several years ago, I find those are the students…(0:37)XXXand become more focused more so as compared to before they got into a situation like that, and also didn’t realize the amount of energy both physically and mentally to raise a child.”

Laura Murray describes another way social workers and counselors can help pregnant teens.

“Our counselors and social workers are trained to refer outside the school…(0:27)XXXand many times pregnant girls don’t want to be at school, they’re embarrassed, and we provide homebound tutoring for pregnant girls that want to stay home.”

Tara talks about going to an agency for counseling and support that helps pregnant women.

“I went to Aunt Martha’s. I went

there…(0:20)XXXthey’ve just been a real big help when it comes to taking care of me”

 

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Inexperienced, stressed out mothers usually take the stress of having a child out on their own child in abusive ways.  The two types of abuse are passive and active.  When a parent uses passive abuse, she ignores or neglects her child; when she uses active abuse she hits or slaps her child.  Jennifer Hoff believes both passive and active abuse come from the same source.

“Active and passive, they come from the same source in that they might be…(0:24)XXXlack of resources to deal with the responsibilities of parenthood in raising that child. So, whether it’s active or passive, I think it comes from the same source that kind of neglect comes from, basically not knowing what to do so maybe not doing anything.”

Evelyn Lerman and Shannon Kane explain why a teen mom would resort to passive abuse.

“I think they’re overwhelmed by work, many teen moms work, go to school, and take care of a baby…(0:45)XXXand doesn’t know much about it either, anything to keep the baby quite, and maybe some food and that’s about all she can manage.”

“At times the child is crying any you’re really tired…(0:26)XXXwell she’s ok and I’m just going to leave the child there. They’ll be alright, and it becomes one of those passive things where you just kind of leave the child alone and you should really be around”

They continue on why a teen mom would resort to active abuse.

People who have been raised with abuse…(0:31)XXXmost abusers become abusers. That’s a statistic for sure. So that’s what happens, the mother just lashes out at the baby.

 

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“Some teens may not be as patient…(0:19)XXXmaybe it goes to a physical level because you’re not able to stop it at the verbal level.”

 

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Ashley talks about some of the frustration she’s dealt with and overcome with her child.

 

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“When you get frustrated when they cry…(0:09)XXXyou get real frustrated, but as a mother you learn to overcome those frustrations and stuff like that.”

 

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“Oh, ten years I plan to be married, in a nice house, maybe, I plan to be nursing by then…(0:20)XXXworking twelve hour shifts where I only have to work four days a week.”

 

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“Somewhere taking care of me and my baby…(0:18)XXXbe able to put a roof over his head, food in his mouth, clothes on his back”

 

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Hopefully now friends, parents, lovers, and peers of pregnant teens will have a better understanding of the struggles teenage women go through during pregnancy.  They should understand the many psychological phases that teens face throughout their pregnancy including telling someone, seeking support, getting education, and trying to be accepted by others.  They should also know that that they can help pregnant teens, and other organizations can help them too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This program was produced by Sean Powers.  The producer would like to thank his guests on the show: Homewood-Flossmoor High School Students “Tara” and “Ashley”; author of “Teen Moms: The Pain and the Promise,” Evelyn Lerman; a social worker from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Terry Comerford; Principal of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Dr. Von Mansfield; Superintendent of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Dr. Laura Murray; Child Development teacher at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Jennifer Hoff; and a counselor from Aunt Martha’s, Shannon Kane.  The producer would also like to thank his crew: Engineer Dan Freberg, Assistant Engineer Cynthia Perry, Assistant Director Allison Meaks, and I’m your announcer Alison Lani.  He would also like to wish the best of luck to Tara and her child, and Ashley and her child.  Portions of this program were prerecorded, and produced in the studios of WHFH at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

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