Teenage mothers think and act like teenagers. Just like any other teenager, they can be self-centered and may find it difficult to plan for the future. So some of the topics addressed in our Lifeskills Workshops deal with the joys and frustrations of being a teenager. Boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, getting along with parents, and what to do after high school are just a few topics that would provide valuable information to any teenager.
If teenager topics are not discussed and this role of the teenage mother is ignored, teen mothers may conclude that in order to relate to us, they must act more grown up than they are. While that may sound good at first, there is a down side to acting too mature too quickly. When a teenage mother is not given the opportunity to address issues that deal with her age, she will push being a teenager to the side for a while. However, she may revert back to teenage behaviors or situations later in life, often to the detriment of her now older child.
Our society views motherhood as something special. We believe mothers should provide security and stability for their children. A mother must sacrifice many of her own wants and desires for the benefit of her child. But most teens have not reached this level of maturity. Lifeskills Workshops may be the very thing she needs to provide her with the information that will help her become the stable, mature mother her child requires.
Teenage mothers may want to be good mothers but lack parenting skills. Therefore, a Lifeskills Workshop should provide information on nutrition, child discipline, and other topics that will help teenage mothers rear and provide for their children.
Often, teenage mothers are still in high school. Finishing high school is a critical step toward independence for the teen mom. A Lifeskills Curriculum should explain and encourage good study skills and time management.
Addressing the employee role for the teenage mother may be difficult for many of us. Many believe that it would be best if the mothers did not work and instead spent the majority of their time with their children. While this may be the ideal situation, the fact remains that many teenage mothers must work in order to provide for their children. In order to help those mothers who will need to work, the Lifeskills Workshop can cover such topics as: how to find quality childcare, how to dress for a job interview, how to interview for a job, and how to become a reliable and valued employee.
Finally, most teenage mothers are either unsaved or have wandered away from Christ. That they have come to your center indicates that they are seeking solutions to their problems. The primary problem for these teen moms is spiritual, even though they may not realize it at first. The teenage mother’s logistical needs may be genuine, but dealing with those logistical needs alone will not solve the primary problem. The Lifeskills Curriculum needs to include the Gospel message. The teenage mother must be reconciled to Christ before she can experience the healing that comes from forgiveness and find the new purpose and direction she needs. She may choose to respond to the explanation of her need for Christ, or she may disregard it. Nevertheless, God’s Word is powerful, and she may respond to the Gospel message years later.
By Christa M. March