Do I want my daughter to be a young mom?

This post all started as a response to these: smaller condoms designed for 12-14 year old boys. The thinking was, most 12-14 year old boys do not use protection when they have sex. So let’s make condoms that fit them.


Is this okay? Are we just accepting now that 12-year-olds have sex? I’m having a hard time believing it, even though I consider myself to be pretty open about most things. Ask me do I regret my first time. Yup. Was I too young? Yup. Did I really know what love was when I was a teenager? Nope. Were my friends having sex? Yup.

I would like to think my kids can come and talk to me about anything and we’ll figure out what to do together. But as of right now, I really don’t know what I’d tell them.

Of course I want to encourage them to wait. Did I wait? Obviously not since my daughter is three and I’ve been married for two years. But I know now (hindsight is a mofo) that things would have been a lot different if we had waited until we exchanged “I do’s” or at least been in a more stable place financially and emotionally.

I don’t think being a young mom means your life is over. Not in any way. However, I know it can be hard.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was making $600 A YEAR. I worked like 10 hours a semester. No real job. No real income. But I let my kids motivate me. I work hard. And that makes opportunities happen.

But it doesn’t happen like that for everyone. I had a lot of help. A ton of support. I had a mom who took two weeks off work when I had my daughter (and again for my son) to come help me out and let me get some rest. I had a boyfriend who didn’t flinch when I thrush the urine-soaked pregnancy test in his face, hyperventilating. Everyone doesn’t have that. Without support, you could struggle that much longer and that much harder.

My struggles haven’t been as severe as some of my friends. But I’ve been there on the other end of the phone as they cried about how their child’s father is no good. Or about how they wish he would be more active in their child’s life. As they contemplate whether they’ll stay in a job they hate just because they don’t have any other options. It’s rough.

Do I want my daughter to become a mom at 17, 18, 19? Nope. But if she did, I’d be there to support her.

Am I a hypocrite, since I am supposed to be the ultimate “Go, young mommy, go!” cheerleader? Maybe. But I know that being a mom is one of the most soul-stretching, time-sucking, energy-draining things you can do. It requires tons of patience, love, resilience, faith, empathy, intelligence and savvy. You can’t half-ass it. It’s all or nothing.


  1. I have mixed feelings on this issue. On one hand, I’m horrified that they are making specially designed condoms to fit 12-14 year old boys. In my opinion, that is just too young for anyone to be having sex. But, rationally, I know that this is happening and I would feel better to know that these kids having sex have condoms available for them to use, should they choose to have sex.

    Like you, Tara, I regret my first time (not that I wanted it to happen or anything). I was 16. After he pushed it on me, I was like “is that it? What the hell is so special about that?” The mystery was over, and my virginity was gone, and there was no point in waiting any longer, to me. So, my next boyfriend and I were having sex (this time when we were both ready), and a little over a year later, I was pregnant. Just a couple months before my 18th birthday.

    As my son grows, if he gains the ability to discuss such matters, I know what I will say to him. Sex isn’t something you should jump into. It needs to be 100% consentual and needs to be discussed at length between both individuals. He needs to use protection, and the girl should ideally be on birth control. And if an unplanned pregnancy were to happen, he will stand up and be a man and take care of her and their baby. I don’t necessarily believe you should wait for marriage. I didn’t, and I honestly don’t really ever want to be married. I did, once upon a time, with someone I loved with all my heart. That dream was shattered, and I don’t think I could ever consider it again. I also don’t think anyone should marry before they’ve lived together for an extended period of time. So the whole no sex before marriage just doesn’t fit with me, but I respect people who believe that way.

  2. Great post! I don’t think wanting your daughter to learn from your mistakes or miscalculations in any way makes you a hypocrite. The scary thing is, they, like us, will make their own decisions. We just pray that our gentle guidance and rearing will encourage them to make the right ones. When I first read about the condoms for 12 year olds I was really, really surprised but stopping the manufacturers from addressing the problem isn’t going to stop the problem. I think we need a good mix of education and prevention. I saw a great doc on MTV a few weeks ago about the purity movement and how young stars are trying to encourage kids to wait until they are married to have sex. I am sure you heard about the Purity Balls. I am not really sure how I feel about it yet… but maybe a good dose of both will stop a little fourteen year old from getting pregnant before she is ready. Again, good read – and CONGRATS on your big news!!! I know I am older than you but you are such a role model!! lol

  3. I always have the same internal debate! I feel like I want to root for the young moms, since I am one, but I’d never want my own child in this situation. I too would obviously support them no matter what, but you hope you don’t have to see them go through that.

    I admire young moms who are motivated to make a better life for themselves, and I know how much hard work it takes, but I still don’t think anyone should have to be in this position. I am a firm believer in “wait until you’re in love, and dammit use protection!”. I would never judge my own child if they became a young parent, but I cross my fingers that they don’t have to be.

  4. Stacy D. Boyd says:

    No, I dont want my daughters to be young mothers. My prayer for them is for them to be virgins until they are married. Is this what I was told when I was growing up? No. Sex, self-esteem, and worth were not discussed in my household. But to my advantage I can tell my daughters what it’s like to be in a place where you dont know your worth and we, my husband and I, can also tell them their worth, let them know how special they are, and how their sexuality is sacred, and how to respect themselves. One of the most important things that we can do as parents, in my opinion, is to build a healthy, self-esteem in our children-from the inside out.

  5. I don’t think you’re a hypocrite in the least! Being a young mom is no cake walk and there’s nothing wrong with wanting your child to be in the best possible situation (financially and emotionally) before having a family. I agree that I wouldn’t want my child to become a parent too young but I would definitely support him if it happened.

  6. Sad to say, but by working at Planned Parenthood, I actually get shocked if I see someone write on their history sheet that they were 18 or older when they first started having sex. Whether it’s a minor coming in, or someone in their 30’s, A LOT of our patients report that they first had sexual intercourse from like 12 to 15 years old. I don’t think I’ve seen any younger than 12. The thing that bothers me (which there are a lot where I work) is that the parents simply won’t talk to their kids about sex. Within PPFA, a 14 year can walk in without her parents knowing and get on birth control. Few parents of minors know, but most don’t. It’s sad that a 13 year old will come in for birth control without her parent(s) knowing, because she obviously can’t talk to them about it.

    I do not want my son to have sex at an early age, but if he does, I want him to know that he can come to me and talk about it. I will let him know I’m not happy with his decision, but if he is gonna do it, I at least want him to be protected. Parents think if they are really strict and tell their kids not to have intercourse then they won’t, but that’s so far from the truth. They will find a way, so why not just be prepared for it, and get them the proper protection they need from pregnancy and STIs?!

    So does it not seem right to make the smaller condoms for young teens? Yes. But, I’d rather them make smaller condoms for them to use, than to give another 14 year old a positive pregnancy test and have do options counseling with her. Most of the time, the option chosen is abortion :-/

    • @Courtney – *sigh* Where to begin, where to begin! :) I obviously don’t have the background you have, but I just can’t co-sign on the 12-year-old having sex. Like, no way. I can’t. If Ayanna or Thomas come to me and say, “Mom, I’m ready to have sex,” and they are 12, 13, I’m gonna seriously have to sit down with MYSELF and figure out WHERE I WENT WRONG. That’s not okay to me. I can’t see myself giving 12-year-old Thomas a condom and letting him go. Condoms break. Birth control fails. Then what? He’s either a daddy at 13 or the girl has an abortion. Neither of those are appealing in any way to me. So keep it in your pants. I know “keep it in your pants” is not the world’s best birth control, but you know what is? Activities. LOL. I’m gonna have that boy so exhausted from basketball, football, debate team, pottery class, student government he’s gonna be too TIRED to think about sexing any little girl. LOL.

      But then there’s the catch – if he knows I’m against him having sex, how can I get him to come to me? Sometimes teens don’t go to PP because they CAN’T talk to their parents – it’s because their parents won’t co-sign on the birth control/condom aspect so they go somewhere that they can. Again, I don’t have the background in family and human services, but speaking from past experience, that’s how it is. I don’t know the answer, but itty-bitty condoms for itty-bitty penises doesn’t seem like it. My .02 cents. :)

  7. Had being a teen mom and coming from a teen mom there is no way I want this life for my kids. I’d love for them to get a jumpstart in life before struggling to provide for kids. However, I can’t be naive. Kids are kids and they will do what they want regardless. Its most important to educate them. If it happen it happens. Bad attitude? Maybe. But I’d rather have my child know what to do and how to prevent things then to believe my child will believe in abstinence!

    • @Jennifer – Maybe this is splitting hairs (and feel free to call me out on this) but I think there is a big difference between having sex at 12 versus having sex at 17. At 17, I can embrace the whole “teens will be teens” bit, but at 12, I can’t. At 12, there is no way for them to handle the consequences of sex. If they get pregnant (or get someone else pregnant) how will they provide for the child? They can’t quit school and get a job at 12. It’s hard enough to do it at 25. If my daughter got pregnant at 12, who is raising the kid? Me. And I’m not going there.

      I will talk to my child about all the different birth control options, but I will encourage them to wait. Not necessarily until marriage, but until they get to a place of stability with that person they’re thinking about laying down with. I can’t stress enough the importance of really getting to know someone before you have sex with them. Because when you have sex with someone there is always a chance you will be “stuck” with them for the rest of your life. So choose wisely.

  8. I don’t think it is hypocritical of you. My mother was a teenage mom, and she was very honest about all of the hardships (and joys) that came from raising a child so young. I was rebellious, but I did not want the life that she lead, so I waited on sex until I was certain I’d found the right man and we had exchanged vows. The best thing a parent can do is to be honest with your children about what you did right, what you wish you hadn’t done and what you believe will make them happy. I don’t think it works to over correct for your kids, and guess that they will necessarily choose what is easiest.


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