Growing up with teen parents is not always the easiest situation. There are many trials and errors that come into play, and a lot of that is all dependent on how quickly mom and dad are willing to grow up. From amazing tales of beating the odds to years of raising yourself and everything in between, these people reveal what it was like for them being born to teen parents.
She Had Major Trust Issues Afterwards
“My mom had me when she was 14. She was taken advantage of by her dad. My life wasn’t bad. I grew up with my mom’s grandma and so did my mom (my dad was arrested and is still in prison today). I didn’t even know she was my mother until I was 10, I thought she was my sister.
My mom went to college and managed to get ahead. I moved in with her when I was 11, she took great care of me. Obviously, she had trust issues and never got remarried or even dated. I guess my dad kinda messed up relationships for her for the rest of her life.
I missed out on a lot of stuff since my mom was in school my entire childhood and my grandmother was on disability, so we had some financial issues.
After I was 13 my mom was financially stable and had a decent job. Things turned around after that and when I turned 14, I had a pretty normal childhood. No financial issues, pretty easy going life. It could have been much worse than it was, luckily my mom was able to do what a lot of teen moms can’t (which is to get ahead).”
She Was “Tired Of Being A Mom”
“My mom had 3 kids by the time she was 20, and 2 more by 26. I guess we had a normal life. We were not raised by our grandparents because she married my brothers’ dad at 16 and then she married my dad at 19. She did ‘check out’ of being a parent when we were older though. At 12-years-old, I could come and go as I pleased. Her and my dad got a divorce and she was single for the first time in her life so she wanted to ‘be selfish’… We had food and clothes and stuff but we made all decisions for ourselves because she was ‘tired of being a mom.’
We were treated as adults from a very young age just because she didn’t want to deal with it. We all turned out really good and responsible. None of us smoke or drink, and we don’t use drugs. She put us on birth control as soon as we told her we wanted it. Guys were allowed to sleep over no problem.”
Defying The Stigma
“My mother and father were both 16 when my mother got pregnant with me. She had me at 17 and they got married soon after. Though we grew up in poverty, my parents stayed together for nearly 20 years and they were amazing to me, despite the fact that we were living on the edge of subsistence.
After I graduated high school with enough scholarship money to go to the local university with a full ride, I went on to join a volunteer program for a year. And with the scholarship money that I got for school, I am attending college for Biomedical Engineering-Bioinstrumentation and making money, while also maintaining a 3.8. GPA, despite the stigma that I am from a ‘white trash family.'”
The Man Who Stepped Up
“My girlfriend at the time got pregnant our junior year of high school. Let’s call her Tracy (she was 17 and I was 16). My parents didn’t take it well and kicked me out of the house. I mostly blamed Tracy for the whole situation and denied I was the father to anyone who asked. When my parents heard I was denying I got her pregnant they decided to let me come back, so I was not exactly keen on telling the truth after that.
The night Tracy had our daughter (let’s call her Sammy), I got a call from her father saying even though I didn’t like the situation Tracy and I were in, I needed to step up and take care of Sammy. I went on a rant about how she was probably sleeping with someone else and no one really knew if it was mine or not. He hung up and I didn’t hear from them until my sophomore year in college.
Tracy called me out of the blue to tell me she could not forgive me for abandoning her, but Sammy at least deserved me in her life. I agreed to a visit and we decided to meet in a diner not far from their house. I can’t even describe the emotions I had when I saw Sammy walk through the door. Tracy sat across from me, but Sammy asked me to move over so she could sit with me. Then she hugged my arm and said she was happy to meet me. There is a certain feeling you get when you realize all the decisions you’ve made up to that point were all a mistake, I had that feeling x10.
This outgoing, smart, funny angel of a girl wanted nothing else but to be with me. Through that whole dinner, she stared at me while hugging me like I was a star. I had only one thought after that: ‘I don’t deserve this.’ So from that night on for a couple months, I would call Tracy weekly for a visit.
After I graduated college, Tracy decided she didn’t feel like being a parent was for her anymore and said, ‘You’re more suited for it anyway.’ The first year with Sammy was not the smoothest because of my schedule. But once I realized Sammy was my number one priority and changed jobs, it’s been nothing but amazing. I’m happy I’m there for her now and that she’s happy to be with me. Things never go as planned, but sometimes going through the hard times make the good times even better.”
“She Would Not Call Me For Years”
“My mom was 19 when she had me. Something happened when I was a baby that involved me getting hit in the head with something. My mom and her boyfriend went to court and they never found out who did it. I was put in foster care and then my grandma got custody of me. She raised me. My mom would call periodically and every time she did it just kept getting worse for me to deal with. She would say that she’d call in the next few days…but not call for years.
Basically, I developed really bad trust issues…on top of feeling like the one person in the world who was supposed to care about me didn’t. So I had and still have issues with depression and trust. I don’t know who my dad is, she doesn’t remember.
My grandma is my hero though. She didn’t have to raise me…but she did and I am so thankful for her.”
A PSA To All Teens Out There
“My mother was 17 when she got pregnant with me and 18 when I was born. I’m 21 now and the only thing I have to say about her is this: She tried. Sort of.
There were a lot of dangerous situations I was put in, such as my unstable father’s presence (he’s an all-around addict), my mother’s unwillingness to be without a man in her life (this led to an unfortunate abuse incident that happened to me when I was 3), my steadily increasing family (five siblings, 2 sisters and 3 brothers, all younger), and my eventual stepfather, who was a great man, passed away when I was sixteen due to a seizure brought about by a heart transplant.
After he passed away, my mother became understandably more and more difficult to handle. Then one day shortly after my birthday, she called the cops on me for wielding a weapon at her. I was actually cooking dinner for our rather large family and was irritated, so I yelled at her while I was cutting celery for something trivial.
I left that day and have since raised myself. I didn’t drop out of high school, apparently uncommon in the South, and have since graduated college with an Associate’s and am now gainfully employed at a well-known engineering and construction firm.
Please try not to get pregnant before you’re able to withstand the mental, emotional, and monetary pressure. It doesn’t hurt you nearly as much as it harms the kid.”
“How I Taught And Encouraged My Son To Seek His Own Path”
“My wife and I were teen parents. We were 18. My 18th birthday and my son’s birthday were in the same month.
We made the decisions early on for my wife to be a stay-at-home mom. I went to school and worked. I slept very little.
I think he had a fairly normal childhood. It started out somewhat poor. I made < $25,000 per year, but our state at the time had a great healthcare program and we kept our living expenses low. We always had a lot of family around.
My wife and I had a relationship with plenty of ups and downs, which gradually smoothed out as we grew up. She had some typical father issues which exacerbated things sometimes. But overall I suspect our fights were no worse than what most couples have from time to time. I used to think that it may have been to his detriment to witness the rocky side of our relationship, but now I think it is better to see conflict dealt with, even when it is ugly, rather than growing up in a ‘perfect’ household and never learning to deal with conflict.
When my son was 6, I finished my engineering degree and ‘got a real job.’ Overnight our income doubled. I advanced quickly and income doubled again in another 5 years or so. So he quickly went from being raised by poor college students to a solid middle-class upbringing.
Today our son is 17 and is an outstanding student, talented musician, and all around good guy. He is quite introverted much like myself and interested in technical/science/mechanical things like me. He has 3 younger brothers now. We now live in a nice town with world class public schools. I have a great six figure job and have a healthy college fund for him. Unlike my parents, I have the tough conversations with him and try to provide him with direction while encouraging him to seek his own path.
It may be a little forced but he hugs his mom and I and exchanges ‘I love you’s’ every day. He is a great older brother.
Now that I am in my mid-30’s, I really don’t think there is much that I would change about how we have raised him if I could go back and do it over.
How He Transformed His Life
“I was born when my mom and dad were 18 and 19 respectively, but my brother was born when they were 16 and 17. They both only wanted what was best for us. My dad had been basically doing hood rat stuff in the city for most of his teenage life, and my mother was just some girl from rural Florida.
However, when my brother was born, they were both prepared to raise a child…even if they had to ruin their life doing it. My dad’s family was in a very good monetary situation, so money wasn’t an issue, but he still dropped out of college to work to make extra money for his son and his girlfriend, because she had been kicked out of her house.
After I was conceived, they decided they wanted to move up North so that my brother and I could get a better education (my father lived in the Northeast for a bit when he was younger and really liked the area). My dad worked his butt off for 15 years of his life to give us the best life he could possibly give us, while my mom supported him through the whole thing.
Becoming a father helped my dad to go from being a messed up city kid to a successful man, with a nice house and a family. And he also gave me a house to live in, food to eat, the best school he could give me, and did everything he could to make me and the rest of his family happy.”
At Least He Has A Relationship With His Mother
“I was born when my mom was 16 and my dad was 18. My relationship with my dad was always strained. From what I’ve been told, he was a pretty carefree guy before I came along, and he had to grow up practically overnight. It’s alway felt to me like, whether he realizes it or not, there’s been some level of resentment there because I was the cause of his life changing. Like if it weren’t for me, his life would have been more fun for longer.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t trade my relationship with my mom for anything. It’s always been almost more of a friendship than a mother/son dynamic. She trusts my judgment, and I trust her advice. I know I haven’t made her life easy, but I know I couldn’t ask for a better mom.”
She Was Smart Enough To End The Relationship
“My mom was 18 when she had me. She was friends with the wrong people and made some decisions she now regrets. My father was/is on some kind of illegal substance and was affiliated with a gang. My mom wanted nothing to do with him and this pissed him off.
He repeatedly threatened our lives, to the point where we couldn’t leave the house. My family (grandma and two uncles) moved to a small town with my great grandparents when I was one. This drastically changed all of our lives for the better. My grandma and great grandparents played major roles in my life. Especially while my mom was going to school and getting her degree. My mom has been open with her experiences and has guided me to do the opposite of her. We’re extremely close and I consider her to be my best friend. To this day, she reminds me that I was the best thing to ever happen to her.”
“I Haven’t Spoken To Her In Over A Decade”
“My mother had me when she was 16. My dad was 19. She dumped me on anyone that would take me. My dad was an over the road truck driver.
When I was 4, they had another little girl. A year later, another little girl. When the third child was still an infant, my mother started having an affair with a guy and she did it in front of me. I told my dad. They got divorced.
She found out she was pregnant again- tried to pin it on my dad. The little boy came out a spitting image of her new lover… Her boyfriend was abusive to him and me. CPS got involved after a while and told her that the boyfriend goes or I go. She told them I could go since I didn’t pay the bills…
My dad told me he couldn’t care for me, so my aunt and uncle raised me. I have nothing to do with my mother. I haven’t seen her/spoken to her in over a decade. I have a lot of trouble coping with everyday life situations, as I feel everything is always my fault. Everything seems to come back to me in one way or another.
I suffer from bipolar disorder and an anxiety disorder. I’ve started to develop agoraphobia over the last several years. I can’t commit to anything. Haven’t had a steady job. Didn’t complete high school or college. I try though. I don’t think I would still be here if it weren’t for my amazing husband. The man has a heart of gold and patience like you wouldn’t believe.”
They Just Never Really Grow Up
“My mom was 19 when she had me and my dad was 18. This was actually my mom’s second pregnancy (first was at 17) with my dad, but she lost the first baby in her 8th month. My dad also got another woman pregnant at the same time as me, so I have a brother eight months younger than me. We met in 6th grade, he sat in front of me in English class.
My brother ended up being raised by his grandparents, but mine weren’t really down for that. Dad’s parents were huge drinkers. Mom’s parents already had my aunt and her kids living with them.
Being raised by teenagers was difficult, although of course at the time I had no idea that they were any different from any other parents. But looking back it’s pretty obvious… My parents officially split up when I was 7, but the years before that were filled with him trying to be a rock star, playing with his band at local bars and hooking up with multiple women. My mother only had a G.E.D. so she worked ‘teenager’ jobs at sandwich shops, cleaning rich people’s houses, etc. She’d sleep until 10 or 11 am and I remember sitting in front of the television watching morning cartoons and trying not to wake her–father was nowhere to be found.
Their relationship was very ‘teenager’ in that they just couldn’t argue properly at all. Toward the end of the relationship, I think my mom felt like having a kid there annoying them was part of the reason he was mean to her, so when he’d get home from work (he didn’t have a high school diploma and still doesn’t–he learned a trade), I’d go straight to my room–I wouldn’t even see him walk through the door. This was so much a part of my daily life that I just automatically knew to go upstairs at a certain time so he wouldn’t see me. There was loud music all the time, other ‘teenagers’ came to visit a lot, pretty much grew up on MTV.
The immaturity by them would be even more evident during fights, my mom yelling at me to go upstairs, him telling me to stay downstairs, him trying to leave the house, my mom blocking the door and not letting him leave, etc. One time, after one of his many absences, we were having dinner in the living room. I was too young to realize how awful this sounded, but I said in front of my dad that I liked it when he wasn’t there for dinner because then my mom made fun things like salads. He left later that night (like he ALWAYS did so it’s not like it was abnormal) but my mom took that out on me–told me that I should be careful what I wish for because I made my father leave, and she’s lucky I don’t leave to be with him too. This was completely traumatizing to me at the time…but she denies ever having said it.
When my mom finally broke it off with my dad, she was in her mid-20s or so and wanting to do all the things that she felt she missed out on. So she’d go out with her friends almost every weekend, clubbing or to bars. She found a boyfriend and spent a lot of time with him. I was home alone A LOT. A total latchkey kid.
We lived in subsidized housing and she got food stamps. She worked at a sandwich shop and would trade those in for real cash. She got a decent job as a medical billing person but was fired when she got tendinitis in her hands and couldn’t type anymore. She sued them for wrongful termination and got a pretty decent settlement. She took me to Disney World with that money. It was great, but she probably should have invested it somehow or gotten us out of government housing.
We didn’t have much, growing up. Whenever I wanted something the other kids had my mom would get very angry and say, ‘Why don’t you call your FATHER’ which is something I wouldn’t do because he was long gone–no visitation with him or anything.
When I was 17, I entered a store as he was walking out and he didn’t even recognize me. I’d find letters all over the house–my mom writing to God and asking him for help. We had it better than the other families in government housing though. I remember my mom loaning a woman money and that woman bawling her eyes out because she was so thankful. A lot of people didn’t have phones, but we at least had that.
Dad had many girlfriends, many more kids, and he’s still doing the same exact thing he was doing when he was 18. Mom has a good job and nice life now, but she’s very far behind other women of the same age (in terms of owning her own home, savings, planning for retirement, whatever).
I very likely would have ended up the same way if I’d stayed in the town I grew up in. Somehow, my brother and I both graduated, went to college, etc. I don’t have a relationship with him but I did go to his wedding a few years ago so I know he’s doing well.”
They Did Everything They Could
“My mom was 16 when she had me, my dad was 17. I am constantly amazed at the job that they did raising me. My dad joined the military so that helped financially, but there were still some issues. But all that really did was teach me the value of money.
The biggest thing I think that was different between my parents and other parents is that they were still children themselves…I basically got to watch them grow up. Now that I’ve grown up, I can appreciate what they did for me in order to give me a normal good life.
They are both truly my heroes, flaws and all, and I know I would not be the man I am today if it were not for everything they did for me to rectify their ‘mistake’ that was me.”
“I Didn’t Know He Wasn’t My Biological Father”
“My mom got pregnant with me as a junior in high school at 16-years-old and had me at 17, a few days before the start of her senior year. The man who got her pregnant told her he was 18 when he was really 28, this man is my biological ‘father.’ When he found out my mom was pregnant he left her.
After my mom had me, we lived with her parents and her older brother and they were fully supportive of her! They adored me and I was beyond spoiled as a baby, not with toys or anything, but with love.
When I was three months old, my mom started dating a guy who was the grade below her. They fell in love, got married when I was almost 4 AFTER they both got their degrees. My dad worked at a crop elevator and my mom became a nurse. I never noticed that money was tight as a young kid, my dad bought my mom a puppy for their one year anniversary and even though I was an only child, we had fun. I was again spoiled with love and at Christmas, I always got what I asked Santa and mom/dad for.
We did move around a lot before finally settling down in my parent’s hometown when I was 10. A year after that, my mom gave birth to my first brother. And when I was 15, she gave birth to my youngest brother. Both are healthy and happy and now 8 and 5 years old!
Now, here is the kicker. I did not know the man my mom married wasn’t my biological father. Because they started dating when I was 3 months old, he was the man (besides my grandpa and uncle) who I recognized to love me. I never questioned that my last name on my birth certificate was my mother’s maiden name or the fact that the father’s name was not filled in because my mom had me so young.
Once they got married I went by his last name without getting it legally changed. They sat me down one day and told me everything. Even though I was upset, I still loved the man who raised me, my dad. He is an amazing man and doesn’t have to be a father to me, but he chooses to be. I am very lucky. Anyway, after I turned 18 I got my last name changed to my ‘step’ dad’s last name and I am very happy!
My biological father has tried to reach me through Facebook, saying that he loves me. Bullcrap. I just told him that I wanted nothing to do with him and blocked him. Anyway, I’ve lived a very happy and loving 20 years even with teen parents, not all end up raising crappy kids.”
Her Poor Niece
“My sister and I were raised in the same ‘whole’ (unbroken, married parents) family. She is a disaster (CPS, police, ex-husband is a predator)… while I’m like the epitome of normal middle-class America. We’re still trying to figure out what happened to her and why.
Also, my niece was born when my sister was 17. I’m pretty sure my sister will be a grandma before she’s 35. The niece was the one that the ex-husband took advantage of, and thus, became a proven predator…so yeah…that teen parenting thing didn’t turn out so well.”
Truly Heroic Grandparents
“My mom had me at 16. For a while, my mom did what she could to provide for me. Somewhere down the road, she decided that partying and having fun were more important. I spent my childhood living with my grandma and being supported by both her and my grandpa. They did/do everything parents should do for their kids. This may sound mushy, but they really are my heroes.
My mom went down a really bad path, and I would have been right there with her had my grandparents not stepped up. They helped pay for college, bought me my first car, gave me a place to live rent-free, raised me from day 1, and never once asked for anything in return.
I just got my degree, just bought a new car, and landed an awesome job. And now, nothing will make me happier than to walk the stage at my graduation ceremony with them watching.”
The Man That Saved Our Lives
“My mother had a very bad childhood growing up, her dad abused her, she has suffered from minor learning difficulties, bi-polar and a personality disorder all her life, which wasn’t properly diagnosed until early this year (she was told it was depression) and she doesn’t have a great relationship with her mother, who had her own problems with men.
My mom was 17 when she had me, to an older man that was 22 at the time, who didn’t take any notice of me until I was 16…but that’s a story for another time. I was a very ill child when my mom gave birth to me; I was dying, but the doctors got me stable. So from that point on, it was touch and go up until I was about six months old. That was when I was in the hospital more than I was at home, going through two lumbar punctures. I had very bad bronchiolitis and asthma and had three different types of inhalers.
After coming out of the hospital and getting to go home, my mom couldn’t really cope with her small income in her tiny shared flat with a awful roommate. She would constantly ask her family or friends to look after me while she went out food shopping or whatever, but wouldn’t come back for days, going on long benders. Although she loved me and showered me with love and any small gifts she could afford, she just could cope mentally, and I don’t blame her for this. My mom got into the wrong crowd of people and they dragged her down further. She had actually hung out with someone and let me be around someone that would later turn out to be a murderer.
Now, this destructive behavior continued until I was about 2.5 when she met my stepdad, who was and continues to the best male role model I’ve ever had. He did very well for himself, he was 19, he drove his own car, and earned about two grand a week (this was Northern Ireland in ’96). He was my mom’s knight in shining armor, who came to take my mom away from this place forever. He wanted to take me and my mom over to Scotland for a fresh start. My granny and the rest of my family did not like this and tried to have my granny adopt me, but that didn’t work.
After a couple of months of working things out, my mother, the only dad I’ve ever known and I made our journey over to Scotland! I genuinely think my dad save my mom’s life and gave me a brilliant one. I dread to think what would have happened to us if we had stayed in Northern Ireland.
I visit my granny and aunties at least once a year as well, so nothing changed in respect to that either!”
They Realized They Didn’t Love Each Other
“My parents were 16 when they had my older sister, 23 when they had me, and then 25 when they had my younger sister. Both my parents finished high school and went on to get middle-class jobs, so money was tight but not awful. My mother was in foster care at the time, so her only other family was a brother who was a year younger. My father’s family, however, ran an apple orchard and farm. So although they weren’t rich by any means, we always had plenty of homegrown food. We were also given about 30 acres to build a house on by my father’s family when my parents were in there late 20’s so that helped immensely. We always raised animals so that just added to the healthy food we had access to.
I always noticed my parents were a little different from many of my friends since they were usually younger than their parents. They were not strict at all and I can’t honestly remember ever having the restrictions my friends did growing up, things like curfews and what not. They were also very open about all those sensitive topics with us.
They eventually divorced when my younger sister turned 18. My dad said he was sticking it out for us kids. They didn’t really have any problems but they had learned over the years that they didn’t really love each other and had decided when the kids were grown, they would split up and pursue more fulfilling relationships.
My sisters are still pissed off about this, but I was just like, meh, you’re grownups…make your own decisions about your life.”