Being a single mom or dad is never easy. It’s even harder when you’re a teen and you have yet to finish your college degree.
The problem with us, however, is that we don’t give enough thought into how we can help teen single parents deal with their issues. Just shoving them out on the street and feeding them to the wolves is not just a socially irresponsible thing to do, but it’s just plain wrong on so many levels. After all, a part-time job at a burger joint can only do so much for a single mom or dad trying to raise a child.
Our social responsibility aside, what could a teen mom do when faced with the real challenge of single parenthood?
Find colleges with financial aid for single parents.
Some schools don’t care much for single parents. Other schools, however, offer financial aid packages and other programs designed exclusively for single mothers.
For example, the Generation Hope program provides such aid in their mission to “reduce poverty one family at a time by sponsoring and supporting teen parents that attend college.”
Seek childcare centers or programs
Again, there are some campuses that offer childcare support when moms go back to school. If a college does not provide this service, then the next best thing is to look for local community programs and to apply for childcare vouchers that help pay to the partial cost of childcare services.
Find parental support
The financial, academic, social and even spiritual pressure of being a single teen mom can be crushing. Support groups led either by fellow students or volunteer mentors can help alleviate the stress, while these groups can also link parents up to help them cope with shared problems.
Avail of mixed class options
Online classes can be a big help for single teen parents, but can sometimes be less substantial than a full campus experience. Certain “hybrid” programs allow for a mix of these online and campus classes, while other colleges offer late-night, weekend and summer courses for parents that need a bit more time.
Oh, and one last thing: never seek pity if you’re a single teen parent, and never foster pity if you’re dealing with single teen parents. Pity is an emotion that rewards helplessness and suffering. Seek and give encouragement instead – that does much more good for a person than self-pity.