What does it mean to be a parent?

by Jayne M.

Jayne is a teen writer who is part of the Females Against Violence Education Group based in San Francisco. We asked this group to write about their thoughts on topics related to pregnancy, contraception, teen health, and teen rights. The thoughts below do not necessarily represent those of the National Center for Youth Law.

I’m not a parent yet, but what I believe makes a good parent is dedication, patience, and, most importantly, love. I want to make sure I discipline my kids but also show them lots of love. I think sometimes new parents don’t truly understand the responsibilities, effort, and sacrifice they have to put in. There’s more than one factor to parenting: finances, education, values, culture, etc. Parenting is challenging and it’s a huge learning experience. 

Some of the most common challenges are those that have to do with directly meeting the basic needs of a child and their parent. For example, I’ve watched my cousin, a teen mom, struggle with not being able to buy diapers for her baby. She quit school not because of the baby but because of lack of resources to support her while she was parenting. The lack of resources really affects her now. She is having a hard time finding a job because she doesn’t have a babysitter. She can’t meet some of the basic needs she has for herself or her baby, and it is really stressful for her. 

Even though parenting can be stressful and difficult at times I think there are perks to it too. Some of these perks are coming home to a baby’s love and being able to pass down traditions, values, and beliefs to another person. Most importantly, it is a new opportunity to create new cycles, and the bonding love you create and have. Everyone chooses their path but I believe parenting is one in which you will learn so much and change for the better.

Our Top Teen Parent Resolutions for 2016

The New Year is fast approaching, so we asked some teen parents: what are your goals and resolutions for the next year?

“My goal is to be a great mom and be healthier. Since I had my child I have been feeling less active and need to change my health. I also need to be more organized and have a good routine.”

“My goal is to get my baby to grow up healthy. I want to spend a lot of time with her and manage how to deal with school.”

“My goal is to have better relationships with my friends and family. I want to be able to control my mood swings and make changes to keep myself healthier both mentally and physically.”

“My goal is to spend as much time with my daughter as possible so she can know that I will always have time for her no matter how tired I am.”

Do you have similar goals? What are some ways you can make these goals come true? Share your resolutions and goals in the comments below!