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Teen mums need support, not threats


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#1 AmityD

Posted 05 May 2011 - 04:15 PM

So the Gillard Government wants to help teenage mothers break the cycle of social and economic exclusion, in order to achieve better outcomes for themselves and their children. Fantastic! This is the kind of initiative I dream about hearing from our Federal Government, the focus on improving outcomes for children.

But wait. They’re doing it by forcing teen mothers back to work when their child is 12 months old, or else their welfare payments will be cut off? Oh.

I’m sure most of us would agree on the importance of increasing education and workforce rates amongst the welfare dependant. And with studies showing a mother’s education is the key factor linked to her child's future development there is no doubt this is an area worthy of Government investigation. However the budget measures aimed at teenage mothers, announced today, seem to me to be short sighted, mean spirited and unfair.

In an interesting case of timing, a study authored by the University of Adelaide and published this week found that mothers aged less than 20 formed only 9 per cent of poor child development cases. It found 74 per cent of these cases could be identified among mothers with one or more of six predictors based on age, education, financial status, partner status, smoking and depression.

In that case, why discriminate solely against teenage mothers? And is forcing them to go back to school with the threat of losing their only means of financial support really going to achieve the desired outcome? Last time I checked most teenagers, when forced to do something, are more likely to rebel and do the exact opposite. Or was that just me?

Co-author of the study John Lynch, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, said the data should be used to better structure help programs for mothers. I am absolutely in agreement with that, I just don’t think this initiative is the way to do it and fear it will do more harm than good.

It is also incredibly discrimatory. Under this plan if you are a married woman in her 30’s with children under five you will be afforded the ‘luxury’ of staying home while continuing to receive the Family Tax Benefit, yet those teenage mums who are probably far more reliant on Government money and unable to pay for childcare will be cut off? It just doesn’t make sense.

Teenage mothers are so vulnerable, so marginalized as it is. A huge number of them have been born into families where low education and welfare dependency have been the norm for generations. They need to be inspired, encouraged and supported to raise themselves out of this cycle, not threatened with financial disaster. Yet in this trial those who refuse to attend school or training will have their parenting payment suspended. It will be compulsory for mothers with a child aged six months or older to attend meetings with Centrelink, where they develop a skills and education plan, which will start once their child turns one.

The objective to increase the education levels of young mums is obviously a good one. However the Government's plan fails to take into account that even the most educated and capable mothers are often still struggling to get out of the house when they have a 6 month old baby. The overwhelming responsibility of learning how to care for a new child is already such a huge thing, why would we want to further increase the pressure on these already vulnerable mums?

And let’s just stop and consider what would happen if their welfare payments were actually suspend. We already have far too many homeless mothers and children as it is and I can only see this increasing those numbers. How on earth is being homeless going to improve the outcomes for these children?

Another factor this initiative fails to consider is the desire, and the right, of a mother to stay at home with her child. Forcing a mother to go to work and put her child in care when she wants to be at home with them seems barbaric, and if this measure was suggested for older mums there would be an almighty uproar. And on that note, are the studies showing the benefit of mothers being at home with their children for the first three years not equally as persuasive as those focusing on a mother’s education? One could argue the positive impacts of forcing all mums to stay at home for three years, however I can’t see that initiative winning much support!

Of course both choices have merit and the decision for a mother to work or stay at home is a personal one. But that decision is ours to make, not the Government’s.

There are certainly aspects of the plan that have merit, such as ensuring the child attends early learning classes and paying the ‘gap fee’ for them to attend child care and preschool. But why can’t these measures be taken without the looming threat of being ‘cut off’ if they don’t take them?

Why can’t the Government put some desperately needed funds into designated schools for teenage mums, such as the fantastic Burnside High School on the QLD Sunshine Coast. Their fantastic STEMM Program (Supporting Teenagers with Education, Mentoring and Mothering) has shown how successful programs can be when they get it right. The combination of education, on site childcare, transport to get the students there, parenting support, skills training and teachers who believe in them is changing young women’s lives and achieving exactly what the Government wants. However it is done through encouragement and support, not threats.

A love of education, a want for a better life has to come from within. These young mothers and their children deserve it, they need it, but they have to want it for themselves. The trick is finding a way to inspire and foster that desire and then supporting them as a community so they can achieve it. But this isn’t the way to do it.

I am an ambassador for the charity ‘Good Beginnings’ an organisation that focuses on improving outcomes for children through parenting support. You can find out more about them (or even donate!) here


#2 Soontobegran

Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:37 AM

Amity, their welfare will not be cut off--it will simply be paid under a different guise.
I think statistics have proven that unless the cycle is broken the babies of these babies have a hugely increased chance that they will be doing the same thing in 16 years time.
A child is a child regardless of motherhood status and thus a completely different set of rules than for an adult. I am someone who has seen first hand the continuation of the cycle and it's detrimental results I think this is a reasonable solution however I think there should be a 12 month period before they need to be looking for study or work.


#3 RedBob

Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:01 AM

This article, from the English newspaper The Guardian, is about a school specially set up for teenage mums, so they can get an education while looking after their kids. A number of studies have shown that being a teen mum does not have to lead to social deprivation, if they are given the support they require.

Maybe we should be doing that rather than fecking around with welfare.

#4 Hayleymumof3

Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:10 AM

QUOTE
is about a school specially set up for teenage mums, so they can get an education while looking after their kids. A number of studies have shown that being a teen mum does not have to lead to social deprivation, if they are given the support they require.

Maybe we should be doing that rather than fecking around with welfare.


Bob Now I know it's love  wub.gif This is the whole point I was trying to make in the other thread.  Don't mess with their payments, don't make threats which will just add to their stress just create schools that will have either a decent child care centre attached or creche so that they can stay in school.


QUOTE
Amity, their welfare will not be cut off--it will simply be paid under a different guise.


Really?  Thats not how I read the article or how I read this
QUOTE
Under a trial scheme to be announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard today, teenage parents risk losing payments of up to $625.90 a fortnight from January 1, 2012, if they fail to meet new study and work requirements.


From http://www.couriermail.com.au/money/teenag...q-1226050074942

QUOTE
A child is a child regardless of motherhood status and thus a completely different set of rules than for an adult. I am someone who has seen first hand the continuation of the cycle and it's detrimental results I think this is a reasonable solution however I think there should be a 12 month period before they need to be looking for study or work.


If they are going to do for 1 demographic why not do it for all?
Why are they yet again making scapegoats out of teen parents?  I am not saying don't offer education and incentives to get them to go to school and stay in school or to get a job I am saying that the only reason they are hitting on teen parents is because of the widespread voter backlash they would receive against them if they tried this with older mums.


#5 goldimouse

Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:16 AM

I love bob hheart.gif

Can't the govt figure out a way to make schooling more accessible for these mothers? Creche facilities or subsidised childcare services on site would be a good place to start wouldn't it? But taking money away is always easier than investing more I suppose, and you'd need quite a lot of schools to make it work.

I feel for teen mums sad.gif The poor things aren't even grown themselves and are responsible for so much. I couldn't even imagine being in that position!

#6 Guest_tigerdog_*

Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:50 AM

QUOTE
But taking money away is always easier than investing more I suppose, and you'd need quite a lot of schools to make it work.


The scheme will be invested in quite heavily from the perspective of supporting the Mums to access child-care so what you're suggesting isn't too far out of the realms of possibility.

As for a response to this blog, as I just posted on the other thread, allow them any more than 12 months and you run the risk of further pregnancies occurring, thus entrenching the cylce even further (which may happen anyway but forcing on them a little realisation about how hard things will be may prove a deterrent for some).

Edited by tigerdog, 06 May 2011 - 11:51 AM.


#7 Charmzy

Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:55 AM

Amity I completely agree with you. Teen parents need more support and encouragement, not threats. I do not believe this is the way to go about things at all.

#8 HeatherRob

Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:59 AM

I am the mother of a young teen mum and no matter how hard she tried she was pushed back by everyone, now she didnt give up because she had me to help her with babysitting and other friends to help her with transport to work and such but, if I was not able to help she wouldnt of made it. Like so many other teen moms she had the suport of her family and friends and that got her through.
She whent to Tafe, they have a child day care center there but, she couldnt get a place, she was told she couldnt take her baby into class with her but, she never gave up.
Like so many teen mums she never gave up, it isnt the teen mums that dont want to work and provide for their children they do but, most of them would like to stay at home with thier children untill they can go to kinda.
Now there are mums who wont work, they like to sit at home and do nothing while their children are in school. These are not teen mums these are women who are seperated from thier partners and liveing off CSA payments and centerlink payments, they are the ones who should be made to get up off thier butts and get a job, so what they are seperated, divorced or what ever, why shouldnt they be made to get off their fat butts and get a job, they are the ones who need to be showing the youngsters that they need to work to get anywhere.
Basicaly they need to make all sigle parents get out and get a job to suport their families I think if your child is 4yrs old then they should be in kinda by then and you should be out working to suport your family.
I am sorry if this is a bit of a rant I feel very strongly about single parent families getting out to work. I did it, my daugther did it, no one made us do it and age has nothing to do with it.
DH and I live hand to mouth because his ex will not work, all his boys are in school, and still she wont work, her washing machine broke so she sent us a text telling us we had to buy her a new one! because she had his son's clothes in it when it broke, DH pays her $1000 a month, those boys are dressed in rags with holes in thier shoes, she is 42 years old so no, it has nothing to do with age. She just knows how to milk the system, she hasnt worked for over 20 years, she has never been married, she has 5 children, (the oldest 2 are not my DH's)the first 2 are from 2 other men, she has been milking the system since she fell pregnant with the first one. These are the women that should be made to get out and work, these are the women that have never suported thier children, these are the women that we all suport with our tax money and they never pay a cent in tax.
And before you all just think I am being sour, I was a single parent myself and I never claimed any government money, I worked 2 jobs, I made sure I was the one who suported my children, their father bought them clothes when they needed them, with me, we always paid half each, I did not get pregnant on my own but, I do not beleive that a man should pay through his nose to suport his children if the relationship breaks down, it takes 2 to tango, I beleive that both parents have a rite to a new life after sepration and that both parent should suport the children not one parent and the government.



#9 Lilura

Posted 06 May 2011 - 12:06 PM

QUOTE (bobthekelpie @ 06/05/2011, 11:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This article, from the English newspaper The Guardian, is about a school specially set up for teenage mums, so they can get an education while looking after their kids. A number of studies have shown that being a teen mum does not have to lead to social deprivation, if they are given the support they require.

Maybe we should be doing that rather than fecking around with welfare.


We have a school like this in western sydney already. Plumpton High School has been running a specific pregnant teens/young mums program since 1994. I presume it is still running, but my google fu is failing me today.

http://www.awe.asn.au/ppp.php

QUOTE
Plumpton High School  in Sydney€™s western suburbs, has been running a Young Mothers in  Education program since 1994.  The key to its success lies in the  commitment of the school staff to the principle that all young people  are entitled to a full secondary education. The program draws on staff  from local agencies to cover issues such as finance and budgeting,  housing, ante-natal health care, baby care, and legal issues, and  organises excursions (for example, to the maternity units of local  hospitals) to ensure young women are prepared for what lies ahead.

Pregnant students have  priority enrolment at Plumpton €“ something principal Glenn Sargeant  says is necessary because other schools continue to make  life very  difficult for them. "We have one girl here this year who was told be her  previous principal, €˜Well, you€™ve made your bed and now you can lie in  it.€™"

The school has  developed a comprehensive policy which lays the foundation for its work.   The policy addresses the importance of flexibility;  non-judgmental  attitudes; whole of family support (including young fathers);  confidentiality; and young mothers€™ access to maternity leave and  special family leave.

Their approach has  been so successful that there are currently 5 pregnant students in year  12 all intending to go to uni, as well as a number of past student mums  currently studying at university.


and STEMM in QLD http://www.stemm.com.au/pathwaystoeducation.html

I was "lucky" in that I had finished my HSC when I fell pregnant with DS at 18. and stubborn enough to go onto further tafe and Uni studies.

However I can definitly see the social stigma and parental reactions had I been pregnant AT high school would prob cause me to drop out... though in all likelihood the school I was at (private christian school) would probably have asked me "politely" to leave.

I hope that more programs like this are opened, not only for the schooling side of things but all the social, economic and health aspects of being a mum and caring for a child that a teen mum may not have the confidence or resources to access on her own.

Providing access to social workers who can help these girls rebuild family relationships damaged by the news of teen pregnancy is also good.

Lets face it a pregnant teen student does not have the same needs, stresses or goals as a non pregnant teen. Yes absolutely something needs to be done to break the welfare cycle, but I would much rather see that happen through education, support and encouragement, rather than forcing a mum into a crappy job just so she doesnt lose the payment that puts food on her kids table.

Edited by Lilura, 06 May 2011 - 12:09 PM.


#10 la di dah

Posted 06 May 2011 - 12:14 PM

QUOTE (AmityD @ 05/05/2011, 04:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Another factor this initiative fails to consider is the desire, and the right, of a mother to stay at home with her child. Forcing a mother to go to work and put her child in care when she wants to be at home with them seems barbaric, and if this measure was suggested for older mums there would be an almighty uproar. And on that note, are the studies showing the benefit of mothers being at home with their children for the first three years not equally as persuasive as those focusing on a mother’s education? One could argue the positive impacts of forcing all mums to stay at home for three years, however I can’t see that initiative winning much support!

Of course both choices have merit and the decision for a mother to work or stay at home is a personal one. But that decision is ours to make, not the Government’s.


Sorry, I don't think its a right if you can't afford it. It's a choice. It's a nice thing for some mothers (and not others, who would rather not) to be able to stay home. It's not the Government controlling you by telling you, you can't, either. That'd be your bank account.

Telling someone that after a year they need to develop an educational or work plan if they do not have the support to stay home is "barbaric"? Really?

I just don't get it, I guess. To be fair, I'm not favouring older mums.

#11 Hayleymumof3

Posted 06 May 2011 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE
Sorry, I don't think its a right if you can't afford it. It's a choice. It's a nice thing for some mothers (and not others, who would rather not) to be able to stay home. It's not the Government controlling you by telling you, you can't, either. That'd be your bank account.

Telling someone that after a year they need to develop an educational or work plan if they do not have the support to stay home is "barbaric"? Really?

I just don't get it, I guess. To be fair, I'm not favouring older mums
.

It is a right to stay home and look after your kids, it's my RIGHT as a mother to stay home and take care of my babies.  It's also a choice that woman have been fighting for, for years and finally when we get paid maternity leave for working mothers the government shafts younger mothers.

La di dah I don't see the government trying it out on single older mothers who bludge off the system do you?  No they are targeting younger mothers who already feel the stigma of being a young mother not only the stigma but the abuse.  Hell at 22 I got asked by strangers where my childrens FATHER'S were not father but fathers. Young women get this a lot as do older women.  It was assumed I was bludging the system because I stayed home to look after the kids.

They aren't telling them that after a year they have to develop a plan they are telling them that when their baby is 6months old they have to develop a plan and at 12 months they have to put it into action or lose their payments which in all honesty isn't a crap load when you consider the price of everything these days.  My rent per F/N is almost double what they get.

We those who disagree with the plan aren't say don't educate them we are saying don't force and punish those who are already disadvantaged and make it across the board young and older alike or not at all.

#12 Soontobegran

Posted 06 May 2011 - 01:53 PM

QUOTE (MummyCharmzy @ 06/05/2011, 11:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Amity I completely agree with you. Teen parents need more support and encouragement, not threats. I do not believe this is the way to go about things at all.


Why is encouraging teen mums back into education considered a threat? They are being supported and encouraged---this support and encouragement will take on a different look.
The results of doing this will pay off in the long term. What is happening now is not working.


#13 Soontobegran

Posted 06 May 2011 - 02:03 PM

QUOTE (hayleymumof3 @ 06/05/2011, 01:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
.

It is a right to stay home and look after your kids, it's my RIGHT as a mother to stay home and take care of my babies.  It's also a choice that woman have been fighting for, for years and finally when we get paid maternity leave for working mothers the government shafts younger mothers.


They are children and consequently there should be an entirely different management scheme for them.
Nobody is denying the right to parent their children however teen parents are charged with the care of someone whom statistically will be doing the same thing in 16 years and we as a community need to protect them from this vicious cycle.
Paid Maternity leave is fantastic but it is paid to those whom have already contributed to this payment in the form of taxes. We can not continue to support young girls having babies by just throwing money at them to do so---it is not fair to them or their children.





#14 HeatherRob

Posted 06 May 2011 - 02:13 PM

I say leave the youngsters alone, alow a mother to ba stay at home mum if she wants to, but, once those children are at school then the single mothers and bludgers should be made to get a job.

#15 la di dah

Posted 06 May 2011 - 02:20 PM

QUOTE (hayleymumof3 @ 06/05/2011, 01:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It is a right to stay home and look after your kids, it's my RIGHT as a mother to stay home and take care of my babies. It's also a choice that woman have been fighting for, for years and finally when we get paid maternity leave for working mothers the government shafts younger mothers.

I don't agree that it's a right. It's a nice thing. A lot of things are nice that I can't afford or offer my children. I weigh up my priorities to try to get the best stack, and sometimes I just can't offer a particular thing. I don't see any point in shaming or not admitting that some women honestly have to work due to budgetary constraints. That they are willing to do so and support their family is a lot more admirable to me than to say they have the right to not work because they don't feel like it.

QUOTE (hayleymumof3 @ 06/05/2011, 01:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
La di dah I don't see the government trying it out on single older mothers who bludge off the system do you?


Maybe they should.

QUOTE (hayleymumof3 @ 06/05/2011, 01:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We those who disagree with the plan aren't say don't educate them we are saying don't force and punish those who are already disadvantaged and make it across the board young and older alike or not at all.


Then we agree.

#16 Hayleymumof3

Posted 06 May 2011 - 02:30 PM

QUOTE
Why is encouraging teen mums back into education considered a threat?


I would totally feel encouraged to return to school or work being told do it or lose your payments  NOT.

QUOTE
We can not continue to support young girls having babies by just throwing money at them to do so---it is not fair to them or their children.



We also continue to throw money in the form of FTB A&B of which I get to people who earn more than any teen why not cut it out?  We also throw money at single mothers some of which will go out find a new baby daddy as not to work.  I don't see the federal government trying this scheme out on them.  They are hitting a small minority group most of which are below the voting age because they know that they can't take their votes elsewhere.  If they were to hit the FTB A&B could you imagine the voter backlash from this.  All you have to do is read the thread about it here on EB to know that labor would have buried themselves up to their collective necks if they thought of getting rid of that or the baby bonus.

They are trialling this in the poorest communities in Australia so they are threating the little money these families get.  IF they were serious about it they would be creating school that cater to pregnant teens or teen mothers.  Two schools in the entire country isn't enough.  We are in the mists of a child care crisis so where are these new places coming from?  Are working parents going to be denied places to cater to these teen mothers being FORCED to do this program?

If they were totally serious about breaking the cycle they would start with the parents of the teen mother and get them off their collective asses those who sit on their asses all day long doing nothing but milking the system first then work on the teen mothers.

#17 fairymagic

Posted 06 May 2011 - 07:01 PM

I don't actually have a problem with what they are proprosing to do. The have said that there may be exemptions should they be required so I guess if a mum wants to stay home with a baby due to feeding, babies with medical conditions etc this may be taken into account.

Breaking the cycle of poverty and unemployment is a tough one. Getting teenage mums back into study is going to help break that cycle in the long run. Getting them back into the education system within 12 months will help them take up study where it was left off. Many don't go back to study after having children as they either don't have the support they need to go back (which the Government is proposing will be offered) or after taking such a long time off after children, they find it too daunting to go back and end up as long term unemployed people living on or below the poverty line which then impacts their children who often grow up to follow a similar pattern.

I agree we need to set up more schools where pregnant/teenage mothers are encouraged to attend to not only learn academics but also life skills. I found it interesting when seeing this on the news last night many of the teenage mums interviewed agreed with the programmes stating that they were looking forward to getting back into study so they could provide a better life for their child/ren in the long term. It was also interesting to hear one teenage mum state she thinks she gets too much money from the Government as a single mother. She obviously has a lot of support elsewhere though - Im sure not many single mums would agree with that statement.

I think the programme needs a chance to be implemented and tested to see how it works. It is only being trialled in certain areas of Australia - here in SA I believe it is the Elizabeth area that is being looked at - this area has one of the highest percentages of teenage pregnancy in SA as well as one of the highest unemployment rates in SA. Would be good if the programme worked as well in practice as it sounds in theory.


#18 Guest_Bubbalicious9_*

Posted 06 May 2011 - 08:55 PM

.

Edited by Bubbalicious9, 28 October 2011 - 07:21 PM.


#19 Hayleymumof3

Posted 07 May 2011 - 12:49 AM

QUOTE
It's actually quite disturbing to read here that many people think supporting young mothers (or any mothers at all for that matter), to continue their education and create better opportunities for themselves is a bad thing.


Where is the head banging smilie when you need it.  We AREN'T saying don't educate them we are saying that they are going the wrong way about it.

Encourage, offer incentives sure punish them no.  We are looking at the reality of this and wondering how it is going to come about.  Where are the child care places going to come from to put these children in?  THERE IS A CHILD CARE SHORTAGE.   Waiting lists longer than my arm and these are for people who need them to work.

And what about going into schools and talking about the reality of being a mother stop the it's all smiles and rainbows crap and teach them the actual harsh realities of being a mother let alone a young mother who more than likely will be a young single mother take the damn glamour out of it.  Teach them that it's hard work show them what their damn budget would look like.  Stop letting them believe the stories from Actors in the magazines saying how easy it is.  Of course it's easy when you have a nanny or 3 looking after your kids, some one to cook your meals and someone else to clean your house.  I would put my hand up to be involved in something like this.  Explain the sleepless nights, the feeding, the worry, about the birth process, about how hard it would be as mum.  And this is just for a good baby this isn't even going into when your child has special needs and you need help and can't get it and how hard it's going to be for them to find a decent job with little education.  Beat them to the post.  Sure help encourage and able the ones that are already parents but it's not going to stop the next young person from thinking that it's going to be easy street to have a baby.

Then there is the older mothers who have baby after baby after baby to stay home because the government pays them to.  What about people like them?  What about single older mothers are they going to force them too?  Or are they only targeting the younger ones because of the stigma attached to being a young mother so they are perpetuating the myth that young parent equals crap parent?  My money is on this.  

I was talking to my own mum about this this evening and she shocked me.  Single mother should be forced Blah blah blah this is great blah blah blah and I sat in my house at the other end of the phone going  ohmy.gif and  huh.gif and  glare.gif and  blink.gif she was a single mother with 4 kids then had another one.  Sure she worked occasionally but when night shifts left her with little time with us she quit.  Sure she went to Uni when my brother was 2 but by then 3 of us had moved out of home and she had the support of my younger sister who took on a mother role to my brother so mum could go to school all while going to school herself.

#20 noonehere

Posted 07 May 2011 - 01:05 AM

im DISGUSTED about the whole thing, as a teen mother myself this is so so so wrong. what gives the goverment the right to target us and not the older mothers sitting on their a*se.

sure give those who dont see themselves going anyfurther asstance, and a push to improve their life.

what is the goverment going to do about childcare and childcare costs? what about those who dont drive so extremly limit there job ops?
open more schools/TAFE where we can access cheap onsite childcare and work expierance not force us into a dead end job!

we are not all sitting at home feeding our children crap, and have the best of everything. just like we dont all have multiple partners.

some of us do have future plans, but choose to postpone to stay at home with our child/ren.

bring it in for ALL AGES GROUPS




#21 mumofsky

Posted 07 May 2011 - 01:23 AM

If you're dealing with people who don't want to work, no amount of encouragement and 'initiatives' is going to work. You've simply got to force it.

We're not trying to make life great for single mums. The only thing you'll achieve with a bundle of wonderful initiatives for young mums and extra payments and wonderful 'teen mum schools', is an increase in teen mums. Because it's more appealing. We want it to be hard, unappealing, logistically difficult, financially challenging.

I have a shameful story here. When I became pregnant at 18, I was a stupid, immature, uneducated and uninformed child really. I remember being in shock at the amount of welfare benefits I was entitled to - it felt like so much easy money. I would have met the requirements of this new plan anyway because I studied full-time anyway even when she was a newborn, but many don't.

We are not only protecting babies here. We are trying to protect girls who are not much more than children themselves, who are throwing away years of their lives. I love my daughter more than life itself, but I missed sooooooo much of my life, and as a single mum, I still do. Even tonight as I drove home from work after picking up DD, I saw all of the young professionals in the windows of bars and restaurants, having their Friday night drinks with colleagues - they were so free to do as they wanted and enjoy their lives. I feel this pang of sadness every time I see that, because as much as I adore DD, it's a freedom I've never had. I've never been away on a holiday on my own, or travelled, or had an easy relationship without the strain of a child, or walked from work to Friday afternoon drinks without the worry of getting to school on time to pick up DD. I've never just slept in on a Sunday and read the newspaper over a lazy brunch with a partner.

I am so glad I have her. But if I could have had her 10 years later than I did? My God yes. No amount of supported teen mum schools will ever give those experiences back to a girl after she gives birth as a teen. We have to try to stop it, not enable it. And if that means making it damn hard and unappealing, so be it.

But I personally don't know that requiring someone to study or work is too tough after 12 months anyway. Surely it won't kill them to do a course from home.

#22 slpdad

Posted 07 May 2011 - 02:06 AM

QUOTE (mumofsky @ 07/05/2011, 01:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a shameful story here. When I became pregnant at 18, I was a stupid, immature, uneducated and uninformed child really.


and yet you'd have been able to make a calculated, cynical decision to have unprotected sex to pop out kids for welfare money? okay.

of course if we means tested all welfare we could claw back some of the billions of dollars of middle class welfare out there and spend it on things like tax incentives for businesses who have on site childcare for employees, proper, transferable parental leave for both parents, etc.

instead we have this victorian mindset that careless wastrels (everyone who isn't yourself) are creatures who respond only to ever more draconian punishment, oh and a heaping helping of assistance for me, 'cos i'm doing it tough, not like those wastrels.

at 4.5% unemployment, where are these child friendly jobs? with tertiary and vocational education funding still at criminal lows, where are the child friendly unis and courses?

we talk about valuing children. and it's true, we know exactly how much they're worth, to the last dollar.

#23 Guest_Bubbalicious9_*

Posted 07 May 2011 - 07:18 AM

.

Edited by Bubbalicious9, 28 October 2011 - 07:23 PM.


#24 MeaningfulChange

Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:07 AM

I agree that to have effective change the person must want to change.  

However, in saying that most of these women, as indicated in the column, come from families where opportunities to continue education are not part of their vocabulary.  In some cases the teenage pregnancy is an inter-generational recurrence.  In other words, it's all they know.  

Given that background perhaps a somewhat forced approach can open up new horizons that otherwise would be out of bounds.  I think the importance here should be placed on the educators.  The educators have a duty of care to inspire and awaken the sense of self and desire to better life for these women and their children.

And of course they will need support.  Preference to daycare positions should be given.  

It takes a lot to break out of the victim mentality.  I keep thinking of the situations where young children are injured or indeed in some cases murdered by mothers and fathers ill-equipped to cope with life's situations.  Surely equipping mothers, or to be more inclusive, mothers and fathers to cope with teenage pregnancy and the demands of raising children while continuing their own self-development is valuable for our society.

#25 little_blackbird

Posted 07 May 2011 - 03:42 PM

As someone who was a teenage parent myself I have mixed feelings about this.

I had my first child when I was 18 and DH was 17. My parents are middle class, religious conservative types so this was a surprise for them. I loved being a mum so very much and had three more children over the next four years. DH worked hard to support his family and I completed a TAFE diploma part time. We received some govt assistance while the children were young, and I have always been greatful for the huge help that was to us.

Whilst our children were young we were often treated with contempt by other parents, stared at constantly by strangers and had to endure many hurtful comments from people that somehow felt they had the right to insult our family when they knew nothing about us!!

Help for mothers is a great thing that I'm sure would benefit many women...turning it into a threat and applying it to only a small minority really feels like a hurtful insult- like another means of marginalizing and reinforcing the stereotypical perceptions of young mothers.

If this measure is to be applyed to teenage mothers then why not to all that rely on parenting payments? I can't imagine that would go down too well with voters huh.gif




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