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Teenage parenthood: what’s the problem?

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“Teenage parenting may be more of an opportunity than a catastrophe.” Policy makers and media claim that teenage parenthood ruins young people’s lives and those of their children, as well as threatening wider social and moral breakdown. Yet research increasingly shows that parenthood is not necessarily a disaster for young women and young men, and indeed can sometimes improve their lives. Why is that becoming a mother or father can make sense for and be valued by some young people? And why is that policy makers ignore the research evidence that teenage parenthood is not an inevitable catastrophe? Teenage Parenting – What’s the Problem? presents recent quantitative and qualitative research on teenage motherhood and fatherhood, in an accessible manner. Contributors look at: • the relationship between age, pre-existing disadvantage and social outcomes for mothers and their children • the gulf between government policy assumptions and the understandings of teenage parents and their families • the variable ways in which young mothers’ and fathers’ ethnic identification articulates with gender, class and age • how young parents see themselves as ‘just another mum or dad’ when it comes to parenting, education and employment • commonalities in resilience and family support for teenage parents between and over generations, • links between experiences of parenting and self-identity, and how these can be affected by support from family and friends, and by formal service delivery. These issues are placed in the context of a wide-ranging review of research evidence on teenage parenting, and a consideration of why government policy seems to ignore this evidence. This book will appeal to academics, policymakers and professionals with an interest in new and challenging perspectives on policies around teenage parenthood and on young mothers and fathers’ experiences.

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