My name is Jennifer. I am a wife and mother of seven. I was a teen mom, becoming pregnant at 15 and having my first child the summer following my sophomore year. I completed my education, fell in love and got married not long after graduating college. Working in retail management for less than two years, I started my first business designing Christian logos at age 23. I have a love of fashion with a modeling background.
Homeschooling now for a little more than ten years, my life these days revolves around serving and enjoying my husband and children. I cannot lie, it has been a challenging path. At times I have stopped to question my choices. Dreams can be like that, elusive yet needed. I might have stayed focused solely on our family business and the education of our children, but one cold February day in 2014 – I once again had a life altering interaction with the Holy Spirit,
“Write a book about being a teen mom.”
“Really??” I thought. “Okay?”
Now I always dreamed about being a writer and getting paid to do it, but never did I consider writing about my teen years. Those years were ones I would have rather kept buried in the past. I could never really make sense of all I went through. My family and society had shamed me for becoming pregnant at 15.
Yet now my spiritual journey as a Christian was leading me back to this dark place – to write about and published it. This is how my journey began. It has now become a passion, not only to justify my own past, but to shed light on a topic that is highly ignored: Teen sex and teen parenthood. This blog was created to share my experience with the purpose of branching out through the internet and social media. I want to reach teen moms and encourage them to accomplish great goals. After all, one bump in the road can’t stop destiny! I want to show them defying statistics is the only way plan for their future, as well as help them navigate the situations I found most challenging. Beyond teen mothers, I hope to touch all teens and parents. To make them think twice about peer pressure and dating, bullying and judging. It’s time to stop looking the other way, then shaming our youth for being victimized by their society and culture. Its time to rise up, to be a voice for those most at risk. Calling all mentors and leaders, mothers and fathers: Our youth need us more than ever. #PleasingAbba
When does it begin for most young people? It can be a subject impossible to avoid in social settings. Age can vary from person to person but according to education.com, “As they reach the mid-teen years (age 14-15 years), they start having relationships with peers of the opposite sex”
So how does a fourteen year old “date” a peer? A relationship status change and chatting on Facebook? Texting? (I got notes. Do teens still do that?) Phone conversations? Possibly even hanging out? I remember one of my dates at 14 included meeting up at Subway in a group. As time went on, just like anything else, the stakes were raised. Homecoming, prom, spring break vacations – all things we did with a boyfriend or date. As a teen in the mid 90″s I was into cars and music. I wore a pager constantly in my front hip pocket and used a payphone to keep in touch. Many things were similar to what is still happening today, but two things that have changed dramatically are technology and social media. A simple Google search on sexting quickly reveals the high-profile court cases. Teens to adults are being prosecuted for capturing and sharing inappropriate images.
I honestly cannot imagine what it is like to be a young girl today facing peer pressure to sext. On one hand everyone knows it’s a risk, on the other hand pressure makes us all do stupid things. In my middle school and high school years, I was caught off guard too many times to count. Boys/male peers would seem to be nice, but then make audacious requests that were always followed with relentless pressure. In some situations I simply ran away or got out of there as fast as I could. Other times I felt trapped and unable to say no. Maybe I had no desire to give in, but a nagging sense to fit in pushed me to do things I knew were wrong. Peer pressure is real. Bullying is real. If you’re a young girl wanting to date, be ready to fight off unwanted requests. Sexting has many consequences I fear young people are unable to consider under heavy pressure. Predators, haters and scorned X’s have the ability to share and pass images around the world in minutes.
Young people, think before you share any image of yourself. Think about your dream job. Would you want this image on your resume? Parents, if you are going to pay for your teens phone or PC then consider viewing their images on a regular basis. No unknown passwords or locked accounts. Teens, be smart and accountable. An adult looking over your shoulder IS NOT the worst thing, even though it may make you cringe. Teen dating means something different in this culture. It means you must be prepared, you must be responsible with technology and you must be mature. Crush on, teens. Dream big dreams for yourselves young people. Just be careful who you let influence you. Make a rule to keep selfies, and all images of yourself, for profile use and applications only.