For the girls on the LifeStyle YOU® program Young Mum's Mansion, motherhood is a real challenge! Why? Because most of them are struggling to juggle work and study, while being a parent and a teenager all at once!
In Australia the teen birth rate is around 17 babies per 1000 teen mothers. While teenage parents can find they have all the energy in the world to keep up with toddlers and are better than older parents at dealing with the lack of sleep, many still have to jump over some pretty serious hurdles.
“The main challenge is continuing their education whilst they care for a baby,” says Parenting Research Centre Director, Warren Cann, www.parentingrc.org.au.
“It is vital for their future, and the future of their children, that young parents are given every opportunity to continue their education because a well functioning person is going to be a better parent.”
This makes childcare an important issue. Thankfully, some schools have programs for young parents to help them stay at school, but a good support system at home is the key.
“All parents – including young parents – need three sources of support: emotional, practical and informational,” explains Warren. “Emotional support is provided by people who don’t criticise, but pat you on the back and tell you what a good job you are doing. Practical support is about having someone who can step in and do things that you need – like care for your toddler for an hour when you need to go to your own. Information support is about getting good accurate advice when you need it.”
So where can young Mums get this kind of support? As well as family and friends, a good person to talk to is a GP or MCH nurse. Australia’s national parenting information website www.raisingchildren.net.au is also very useful.
“Parenting is about learning on the job,” says Warren. “You are not born knowing how to parent; you have to learn as you go.”
Find out more about Young Mum's Mansion here.