My .02 cents on MTV’s “16 & Pregnant”

First, let me say that I am rooting for these girls to succeed. If they succeed, then their children can succeed and we all benefit.

Second, let me say that this show makes me uncomfortable. I start squirming whenever it’s on.

I usually can’t make it through an entire episode.

I’ll make two quick observations about the show, since folks have other stuff to do than to read a 2,000 word post on whether knocked up 16-year-olds make for great TV.

1. These girls (for the most part) don’t know how to have a healthy relationship. I know what these girls are feeling. I know what’s like to be overwhelmed in your new role and be enraged when you see your boyfriend slacking off in his. I know how easy it is to frown all day long, not because you are particularly sad, but because there’s nothing really to smile about. 

Babies bring joy, but they also bring stress and even the strongest relationships are tested when a new baby arrives. If you don’t have that foundation of honest, mature communication before the baby gets there, good luck making it work when the baby is a 24/7 reality. Check out this clip of Amber and Gary shopping for bargains after he spent money on a PlayStation. Three words: Ramen and celery. Boo.

2. Everything in your life changes once you have kids. For these girls, it is only more apparent when they are with friends that their lives are just not the same. Everything is different. Everything. It is not easy to just go to the mall whenever you want, eat dinner whenever you want, or go party whenever the mood strikes. You are working on someone else’s schedule now. I know I struggled with this at 20, so I can only imagine how I would have done at 16. These girls didn’t seem to grasp how much life would change, as evidenced in this entire episode. (Don’t feel like watching the whole thing? There are some gems at the 18:30 mark.)

Have you watched 16 & Pregnant? What do you think of it? Worth watching or “Turn the channel, please!”?


  1. I watched the first season of 16 and Pregnant religiously, along with the following season of Teen Mom. But if I’m being totally honest with you, the episodes make me furious (for the most part). Which is why I pretty much quit watching after seeing 2nd season’s Janelle. I just wanted to scream and throw up. I get too involved in the episodes…don’t get me wrong, there are the teen parents on there that are stepping up and doing an awesome job with their situations, but the ones that aren’t just make my blood boil. Which is why I don’t watch much anymore…but I, too, am rooting for them and hoping they all come to their senses and become amazing parents. We can hope, right?

  2. The show makes me cringe as well. I only watch because DH somehow has an interest/obsession with it. With that said, it usually is saddening/disheartening because it seems that every one of those girls is in a dysfunctional, semi-abusive relationship…. and all of those suffer from really low self-esteem. Its definitely hard to watch at times.

  3. I’m not a mother (expecting or otherwise) nor am I a teenager but I think this show is SOO important. It shows teenagers that having a baby with your BOY(i.e. not a man)friend is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s hard. I actually make my 14 year old brother watch it with me whenever he’s around and I’m catching a re-run. I think it’s worth the watch for teens.

  4. I’ve watched a few episodes and I don’t like the show or the way the producers edit the scenes to the point it looks hard but NOT that hard to be 16 and pregnant. My little cousin moved to Texas a couple years ago and she came back to DC to visit us and my mother and Aunts kept asking her and her mother if she was pregnant of course she kept saying no no no I’m not. And once she returned from DC to Texas her mom called to tell us she was 6 months pregnant and she had no idea. I fault the parents of these girls. I know you can’t be everywhere with your teen but I think a lot this has to do with Mothers trying to be the teens friends instead of their parents. 9 out of 10 girls on MTV’s show talk/speaks to their parents any type of way and they don’t respect their authority.
    I personally don’t like the show just as I don’t like Nicki Minaj because their showing our young ladies it’s COOL to be WILD and FAST and it’s just not enough positive shows or people in the Entertainment Arena to combat these negative views. It seems it’s no balance.

    • I dont agree with the fact that if a girl gets pregnant, its because of that parents. My mom has taught me everything about what could happen from sex and how its not as easy as shows make it seem and I have an amazing boyfriend who wether you believe it or not would stay with me if i was to get pregnant. My mom advices me not to have sex and use protection if so. It is my choice to have sex, no one elses and my mom doesnt have a choice in the matter so if I get pregnant, that is no reason to blame her. She has taught me everything possible and how to use protection correctly and everything. ITS NOT THE PARENTS FAULTS.

  5. I have watched this show and not sure how I feel about it. In one way, girls watching could learn what they would have to go through being 16 and pregnant and realize that there’s more to it than dressing the baby really pretty. They realize how fast they have to grow up and how some of their mom’s don’t help them. That would be the scare tactic. But then others would look at it and say it condones being 16 and pregnant. I would rather my girls get the scare tactic. As a parent it’s our job to just talk to our children and let them know the truth.

  6. I watched the first season out of curiosity. I struggled at 25, how would these girls get by at 16? Of course….their parents in most cases. But as I tuned in every week, what a mix of emotions! I felt sad. I felt angry. I was terrified for their babies. I just wanted to reach in and help them. I went through a bit of depression and I cant imagine these girls even know how to handle that. Its almost a given that their boyfriends would leave or not be involved as a girl dreams. The one that made me really sad was for Caitlyn and Tyler. I truly think they would have been great parents, moreso than many of the other couples. That broke my heart. They seemed very wise and nurturing and very caring, especially for each other. When I was 16, I wasnt that mature. But I really thought they were. I could go on and on about this show. But I’ll stop here! lol.

  7. This show bothers me to the point that I can’t watch it. I feel like it’s part of the reason why people disrespect young moms so much. When I found out I was pregnant (at 20, not 16) my boyfriend (now husband) and I sat down and had all of the hard talks about what we were going to do and sacrifice to make it work. I felt like we HAD to mature pretty much overnight because we knew we didn’t just want to ‘get by’ we wanted our child to actually thrive and succeed. So many of these teen moms think only about today. Also, their parents, who should be making sure they have their head on straight, are often no better than the pregnant teens!
    The worst thing about the show: I was talking to a friend about what it’s like to be a mom and she interrupted me and said “Oh, I already know, I watch 16 and pregnant!”. I wanted to slap her.

  8. hmmmmmmmm, you know i cant stand this show. these girls are uber-remedial in the way they approach motherhood. poor parenting? maybe. just hard headed & hot in the pants? perhaps. BUT after the first season, i thought (secretly hoped) that it would serve as a deterrent. teen pregnancy is so unnecessary…i mean, its bad enough that these kids are out here sexing like they’re grown (prolly dont even know what they’re doing), but seriously, unprotected sex? really? yeah, here’s farewell to your childhood/teenage-hood. there is NOTHING cute, glamorous or fun going on in these shows. and the last one…who had twins…with a dude she knew for one month…after rebounding from her ex, CHILD PLEASE!! i dont even have the time to keep talking about this mess cuz i could go on for days…

  9. I am a married 27 year old childless woman and I do watch the show. I watched the entire 1st season… haven’t tuned into the new season much. I think the goal of the show is to demonstrate to teens how hard it is to be a teen parent. I mean, I’m 27 and even I don’t think I can deal with half the crap they deal with on a daily basis. Sure, the MTV producers edit it to their own liking, I get that. But if I were a sexually active 16-year-old girl who watching this show, I think I’d give my actions a second thought.

  10. I watched the first season, and screamed at the tv the whole time. These girls are so self centered and immature, it is frustrating to watch. I was hoping that I would see the dynamics between the mothers and daughters, to maybe understand how these girls choose these crappy guys and get pregnant. I asked Dr. Drew if he thought the girls had learned their lesson, and he said that even with the difficulties that they had faced (I spoke to him after season 1) most of the girls still did not understand the gravity of their decisions.
    I cannot bring myself to watch this time around.

  11. I watched the first season and I think that every teenager needs to watch it. They don’t realize that having a baby is seriously hard work. You can see how their attitude changes after the baby comes. Before the baby comes, they think that the baby will fit into their life but it’s so not true. Even with a supportive boyfriend/husband, raising children is still hard. I think the part that the teenagers really need to see is when the teen makes the confession to the camera. Almost all of the teenagers say the same thing: it’s hard, my dreams have to be put on hold and I wish I could’ve waited.

  12. I have mixed feelings like you Tara. The show makes me uncomfortable. But perhaps teens need to see how hard it is and how much work is involved with raising a child. Parents should probably watch the show with their teens so that they can talk to their teens about the consequences of making such poor decisions.