I wrote this long response on CarlsbadPatch but then got chastised when I clicked submit because it was too long so I put my whole response below. I didn’t know you only get 1500 characters to fully develop an answer. Heck, it takes me that long just to ramble on to figure out what I really think.
I know I’m not going to be popular after my supportive comments of the teen pregnancy shows, but I wanted to share how I used these shows to really drive home the message that being pregnant at 16 is not okay. You, too, can use them as a way to educate your children in a safe environment (your home) where the kids can see the consequences of
“forgetting” to use contraception on TV. These shows really hit the message out of the ballpark that a parent can’t compete with.
My daughter is 17 1/2 and will be heading off to college in a month. When she was 15 and 16, she used to watch the teen pregnancy shows and I watched them with her. My involvement was key because it opened up a lot of interesting conversations. While the cameras showed how the mom had to stay home with the baby while the boyfriend partied it up at prom, I made sure I talked about that situation and asked my daughter how she would feel staying at home while all her friends were out having a great time at a dance? I also asked her how she thought the boys were behaving toward their girlfriends, and asked her how she would react if her boyfriend treated her that way.
I don’t want to go on and on….you get the point: I used the 16 and pregnant show to educate my daughter — as we know, 16-year-olds “know it all already” so there’s nothing you can say to get the contraception message out there, but seeing the drama unfold “in real life” certainly made an impact on my daughter. She is nearly 18 and never been pregnant.
The one really bad point, though, is the celebrity that some of these girls have attained — that definitely sends the wrong message to the teens and could potentially lead some to become pregnant on purpose to become rich and famous. That would be a tragedy for all involved.