Single teen moms have a lot of challenges to deal with in their day-to-day lives. Fortunately, there are grants, government assistance, and charities that provide them the much-needed support and help them to thrive and succeed. From rent assistance, financial support, mentorship problems, and educational grants to much more help the governmental organization and charities are there to lend a hand to single teen moms in times of their needs.
One of the biggest challenges that single teen moms face is being isolated. Fortunately, there are local charities, churches, and organizations that provide support groups for mothers and communities where they can share their experiences and support one another. Single teen moms are a vulnerable population that faces financial constraints and many are unable to afford reliable transportation or childcare which makes life more difficult. Many of them struggle with housing instability, unemployment, poverty, and other issues which make it challenging to take care of themselves, including their infants. No matter what circumstances you are presently in or what your income level is, low-interest loans and grants are available for you in the United States which will be a great help.
What Are The Challenges Of Being A Single Teenage Mom?
Women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy might debate about what they should do next. Guidance from family members, trusted friends or counselors will help you to navigate through the struggles of a teenage single mom. You need to be realistic about the struggles of being a teenage single mom. Raising a child as a single parent is a big deal. Keep reading about the following challenges that you may face in your parenting journey as a single teenage mom and then make an informed decision.
1. Difficult Juggling Parental Obligation And School
A teenage single mom has to face difficulty juggling school with a baby. School is generally time-consuming and high school students in the United States attend school approximately 7 hours a day. High school teachers assign 3.5 hours of work nationwide on average which means that students have to take 5 academic classes and around 10.5 hours of school-associated work every day. This number also includes essential tasks like getting ready for the day, traveling to and from school, and so on. Taking care of a child while attending school is time consuming. Mothers have to nurse infants 8 to 12 times a day for around 20 to 45 minutes which means they have to spend two hours every day on feeding. Teenage single moms also report exhaustion from waking multiple times at night. Bathing, changing, or playing with the child all takes a significant amount of time. Around 50% of teen single moms fail to graduate high school or get equivalent education by the time they are 22. Therefore it is important to consider the life goals of a teenage single mom while thinking about raising a child.
2. Cost Of Raising An Infant
The cost of infant care in the USA comes with a huge price tag. This not only includes spending a large amount of time feeding a baby but also spending financial investment. Single teenage moms have to keep a budget to bear the expense of formula or supplements with the formula. Baby food is a huge cost for single moms as children start eating upon reaching six months. New mothers have diapers, bottles, toys, and clothes to consider in addition to paying for health care costs. Teen moms who go to school or work outside their homes can get childcare assistance from the government and different sources to reduce their financial burden. The cost of raising a child proves to be a huge burden for single teen moms who do not get the support of their partners.
3. Family Conflict
Single teen moms face family conflict and criticism from society on navigating motherhood alone as a teenager. Parents, relatives, and friends do not support single teen moms in their decision. Even in scenarios where single teen moms have supportive parents, family dynamics are likely to change with the introduction of a new family member. Your parents may impose limits on the amount of financial support and time they can provide to you. Every household is unique therefore your family dynamics as a single teen mom may not be the same as other teen parents. Take time to address your relationship with your family members and find ways to get assistance for babysitting.
4. Change In Social Status
Single teen moms have to experience a lot of changes in their social lives. Many have to drop out of school to raise children while some stay in school and drop extracurricular activities or locate multiple jobs to support the needs of their children. This leads to a disconnection from the earlier social circles. Teen moms also turn down opportunities that can expand their social circle as they put the needs of the infant first. However, there are still many opportunities in your community that you can access as a young mother. Community centers, churches, social service agencies, and nonprofit organizations provide support groups and parenting classes for mothers of toddlers and infants. Many teen single moms form social relationships and friendships with other parents at the park.
5. Mental Health Challenges
Being pregnant and a teenager both are greater factors for depression. On combining both factors the risk of depression and mental health problems increases. Around 10% to 15% of older mothers experience prenatal as well as postpartum depression in comparison to 15% to 24% of teen mothers. There can be several reasons why mental health changes are seen among single teen moms. For example, pregnancy complications among teen moms add to stress and deteriorate mental health. Single mothers who are facing mental health problems should devote time to exercise, self-care and sleep so that it does not affect their outlook and mood. Again not every teen single mom has the support of their friends and family and this lack of support system increases their isolation.
What Do Teenage Single Moms Need The Most?
Becoming a single teen mom overnight makes you feel confused about how to lead life and what are the things necessary for survival. Basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and safety are required by everyone without a choice. Apart from these necessities, many things are required by a single teen mom to have a fulfilling life and thrive with their infant. An unhappy single teen mom is likely to pass on her energy and unhappiness to her kids which might affect their growth and development. Following are the five things that single teen moms require in their toolkits to thrive.
1. Family Support
Support from family can either break or make a single mom in different ways. Leaning on your parents and family members will help to make your life easier. If you do not have family support when things may be difficult for you to navigate and you have to take every decision on your own which might leave you confused. Family support is an integral part of a single teen mom.
2. Good Friends
Single teen moms who have unsupported friends should try to cut off the dead weight. Having a supportive friend circle by your side will help to make your life easier. Single mothers often go through isolation due to a lack of support from their spouse or partner. This place can be replaced by kind and helpful friends who miraculously show off when you go through a tough time and help you in your need.
Teenage single moms can thrive if they have humility. Do not hesitate to reach out for help if you are unable to carry on your life struggles alone. If you are feeling depressed or overwhelmed then look for support either through your friends or families or through online communities and support groups.
4. Government Assistance
Single teen moms who are struggling financially to provide for themselves and their children need government support from nonprofit organizations, community centers, churches, and other private organizations. These organizations help them in times of financial hardship. The United States government redistributes many resources and funding to eligible teen single moms. For instance, TANF cash assistance, WIC, and food stamps play an integral role in supporting teen single-parent families. Whether you are a teen single mom going back to school or need financial help to pay for your bills many resources are administered at the local, state, and federal levels and this can help you to thrive as a single parent.
Charities That Support Single Teen Moms
The life of a single teen mom can be extremely challenging and daunting. Between providing for your kids and surviving as a single teen mom you may face an incredibly difficult time. Luckily there are wonderful charities and nonprofit organizations that will lend a hand to you when you need it the most. Following are the top charities and nonprofit organizations that will support you and will provide you the much-needed support in the form of financial assistance, mentorship programs, parenting classes, educational opportunities, rent assistance, and many more.
1. The Salvation Army
This is a Christian charity that is helping low-income individuals, community families, and single moms. Teen single mothers can seek assistance in various forms by contacting this charitable institution near them. For example, you can access financial coaching, educational assistance, rental assistance, food banks, literacy training, employment support, transportation help, child care assistance, and much more support. For example, The Single Parent Program by Salvation Army will help single teen moms to get assistance with housing, utility, rent, childcare, health insurance, and transportation. In case you’re looking for mentorship programs then Salvation Army has the resources and programs to connect new single moms with mentors who can guide them during their pregnancy, parenting, and beyond.
2. Helping Hands for Single Moms
This nonprofit organization helps single moms, teen moms, widowed and divorced mothers, and low-income women so that they can get the right financial assistance, mentorship programs, and other forms of help. Single teen moms who face financial constraints and drop out of school can go back to school and fulfill their educational goals with the programs and assistance provided by Helping Hands For Single Moms. Here you get emergency funds, scholarships, budget management, mentoring, tutoring professional counseling, and much more help.
3. The Single-Parent Project
This nonprofit organization helps teen single moms with financial support, mentoring programs, and other resources that can help them navigate parenthood alone. The programs are specifically designed for single mothers. Teen moms can also apply for the programs. You get connected to mentors who have prior experience in the field in which they are interested. To avail of the financial support single teen moms must go through a financial assessment test, give proof of their financial situation and submit their applications timely.
Being a single teen mom is not an easy feat. There are several challenges of being a solo teen mother however you are not alone and help and assistance are available for you throughout the United States. The above-mentioned programs will help you to make the best decision for yourself as well as for your baby. By accessing government assistance programs, parenting classes, and counseling you get the right resources and succeed as a single teen mom. Try to be respectful, truthful, and loving with your child. When you have an open attitude towards parenting and life you can go a long way to keep your child happy. By addressing the above-mentioned challenges, survival tips, government assistance, and charities you can make the job of teen parenting easier. It is normal to feel overwhelmed for a few days however with the right patients and attitude you can lessen the stress and lead a positive life.