Becoming a parent, at any age, can be a life-altering experience. Regardless of race, education, and socio-economic status, motherhood—and fatherhood—uniformly places demands on one’s life that were non-existent prior to the birth of a child. When school-aged students become parents, the new responsibilities can be overwhelming. For teenage parents who lack support from their own parents, this experience can be even more daunting as they seek support in adult-oriented systems, which even older parents may find challenging.
Teenage parents, or students with children, are parents between the ages of 13 and 19. Often these students drop out of school because of the pressures they experience, including stigmatization associated with early parenting; isolation from peers; and lack of needed support from family, friends, schools, social service agencies, and other organizations.
Only 38 percent of teen mothers complete high school while less than 2 percent go on to obtain a college degree. In addition, children born to teen mothers do worse in school – 50 percent are more likely to repeat a grade, they score significantly worse on standardized tests, and are less likely to finish high school.