Simon Duncan, Professor of Comparative Social Policy at the University of Bradford, has recently published a report for Bradford’s Teenage Pregnancy Team entitled ‘Listening to Young Mothers and Fathers’ in which he and his co-authors present the findings from interviews with eight teenage parents in the City.
The research, which was supported by Bradford Metropolitan District Council, looks at how a group of young mothers and fathers in the city understand and experience parenting, and how they see this as combining with employment, education and childcare.
The findings fly in the face of accepted opinion and suggest young parents can benefit from the experience of having children, with some becoming more motivated to achieve better than childless individuals from the same social background.
Professor Duncan explained: “Teenage parenthood is typically depicted as a calamity for individual young women and as a severe problem for society.
“The government’s Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) produced a report in 1999 stating that teenage pregnancy was, by and large, down to low expectations and ignorance, with many teenagers lacking accurate knowledge about contraception, what to expect in relationships and what it means to be a parent. Our evidence does not support this.
“Recent studies show that age of pregnancy has little effect on future qualifications, employment or income level. Indeed, research indicates that teenage mothers often do better than their social peers. This appears to be because young mothers can find that motherhood makes them feel stronger, more competent and more connected.
“We also found motherhood could provide women with the impetus to change direction, or build on existing resources – taking up education, training and employment.
“Similarly, it seems that teenage fathers often want to be good fathers, to be actively involved in childcare and find fathering a positive turning point in their lives.”
Highlights from the report
Some mothers who took part in the survey spoke about the generational effect, saying that it was older people who generally held negative views about them.
Nicole was 18-years-old when she was interviewed and had a nine-month-old baby at the time. She said: “Older people might have stereotypical views about teenage parents . . . but I don’t think that there is a problem as long as you look after your child.”
Shamina, 20-years-old at the time of interview with a nine-month-old baby, said: “It doesn’t really matter if you are young or old . . . it doesn’t really matter about age, but your life does change, it does get really busy.”
Steffi, who was 21 with a three-year-old at the time of interview, blamed popular culture and the media for the negative views, pointing the finger at television programmes like Little Britain. She said: “There’s been speculation and people are getting pregnant younger and younger every day . . . so there’s something wrong with that!? I mean Vicky Pollard, look how she’s portrayed!”
All the parents were asked whether they would consider pursuing further education and training in the foreseeable future. Three mothers interviewed all had immediate plans to return to education or training to gain further qualifications in order to better their job prospects, feeling that their children were now old enough for them to do so.
Susie, 18-years-old at interview with a two-year-old child, said: “I’m looking forward to going back to college and I’m looking to enrol next semester. I need to get on in life so that means I need to go back to college and get some qualifications – for my own self-respect.
“Its going to be very, very difficult but I’m determined. I can’t just stay at home every day, 24/7, looking after my daughter. She’s growing up . . . so I have got to look into the future for my own self worth.”
Informal support from partners and relatives, especially their children’s grandmothers, was crucial for the mothers. Because of this, the research found a major difference between the experiences of the mothers who lived in areas where they had grown up, and had family and friends living nearby, and those who had been housed by the Council somewhere else in Bradford.
The latter group were unhappy with their housing, were much more likely to have negative attitudes about their neighbourhood, and found it more difficult to use the informal support from relatives which was so important to them.
Emma Banks | alfa
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences