Friday, July 30, 2010

An Unexpected Eye Opener

I've spent part of my summer converting the parenting class I teach for online delivery.  One of the units deals with teen pregnancy and teen parenting.  I wasn't aware of it until today, but like a lot of people, I guess I've been more-or-less guilty of viewing pregnant teens and teen moms through a lens of blame and condemnation. 

Anyway, as I was preparing the unit on teen pregnancy and parenthood, I was surfing the internet for supplemental readings and web resources to augment the textbook.  Initially, I looked at lots of research-based fact sheets, policy statements, etc.  These were materials that didn't present pregnant teens and teen parents as humans, but rather as data. 

As I continued my online search for materials and resources, I started coming across sites that had nothing to do with data and everything to do with helping and supporting pregnant teens and teen moms.  These sites really impressed upon me the human aspect of teen pregnancy and parenthood.  I was especially moved by the fact that MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) sponsors a group called Teen MOPS.  My wife has been involved with our local MOPS group, and until today, I had never heard of Teen MOPS. 

Most of the sites I looked at were designed to provide teens with tips and information about resources, services, and parent education.  I looked through plenty of those sites and linked them to my class.  Besides those sorts of sites, however, I also came across numerous online message boards for pregnant teens and teen moms.  These are sites where teen moms and teens who are pregnant can post questions, provide support and information to each other, and receive encouragement, support, information from older women. 

Then the unexpected happened.  The dad in me came out, and I actually started crying in my office.  As I was reading their questions and comments to one another, it dawned on me with crystal clarity, "These aren't bad people who've committed crimes or unpardonable sins who deserve to be looked down upon, shunned, and treated badly.  They're scared girls."

As the title of this post says, it was a real eye opening experience for me.  I don't think I'll ever view teen pregnancy or teen parenthood the same way again.  I still think that where teen pregnancy is concerned, prevention should be our first goal.  However, once they're pregnant or have had children, that can't be changed, and at that point it becomes incumbent upon us to provide them with the acceptance, support, and help they need to be good parents and provide good lives for their children."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Join the SECFR Facebook Group

Join the SECFR Facebook group to take part in discussions that impact the affiliate, connect with other friends and members, keep up with the latest news, and more.  Click Here to Visit the SECFR Facebook Group

Monday, July 26, 2010

Notice Anything Different?

Well, the SECFR "Name Our Blog" contest is over, and as you can see, the new name is "Southern Families."  Let us know what you think of the new name.

The winning entry was submitted by Dr. Charles R. Figley of Tulane University who has won complimentary registration to our 2011 conference at the Doubletree Hotel in Birmingham. 

Many thanks to our panel of judges -- Margaret Machara, Andrew Behnke, and Julie Sims. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Volunteers Needed

The Southeastern Council on Family Relations is looking for volunteers to serve on our conference/program committee. Experience is great but not necessary. Interested individuals should contact the conference chair, Kim Allen, at