Teen Mom stars Maci, Kailyn and Leah made appearances on Dr. Oz today to discuss their experiences as teen moms. The show also featured Lauren Dolgen, creator of Teen Mom.
Discussing Parenting and Being on Teen Mom
Maci noted that she is happy to be on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom because she can share a positive message - teen pregnancy isn't easy.
Dr. Oz asked Lauren Dolgen if she thinks that Teen Mom glamorizes teen pregnancy, and Lauren said no. She said that anyone that watches the show will realize that it shows the harsh reality of teen pregnancy and does not promote pregnancy. When asked about people that get pregnant to be on Teen Mom, Lauren stated that 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom would never cast anyone who planned a pregnancy for any reason.
Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council also made an appearance to share her thoughts about how Teen Mom glamorizes Teen Pregnancy. Melissa's point was that while there probably was good intention at first with 16 and Pregnant, MTV's involvement made the participants into reality stars, not anti-teen pregnancy role models. Lauren did admit that the tabloids do dilute the message a bit, but there are positives - the girls are sharing their messages of struggle as teen moms.
Melissa later stated that MTV's marketing is the problem - MTV shows programs that promote (or at least show) teen sex, then later shows Teen Mom, calling it a form of birth control. She says MTV's messages are inconsistent, creating an unclear message.
Kailyn stated that she and her friends don't go to the tabloid and they aren't to blame, but to be fair, just by being on TV, people end up in the tabloids.
Dr. Oz asked if pregnancy pacts that are becoming prevalent in high school because of Teen Mom. A teen mom, Kathleen, stated that Teen Mom makes teen motherhood look easy, so she thought that if the girls on MTV could do it, so could she. Unfortunately, she was in for a rude awakening because it was much harder than the show made it seem. She went on to say that the show takes the fear out of being a teen mom and for making teen pregnancy mainstream, as well as removing the hard parts of parenthood from the show and focusing on the drama. Maci disagreed - she said her main source of concern, her relationship with Bentley's dad Ryan, is her main concern. This was captured on camera.
Lauren Dolgen countered Kathleen's argument by saying that the struggles shown on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom are real, and if Kathleen was on the show, we'd see different struggles in her life.
Discussing Sex and Teen Parenting
Dr. Oz addressed the issue of teens having sex, and Maci said she did it because she thought she was ready, and Kailyn said it had to do with self-esteem and coming from a broken home.
Sharon, Maci's mom, stated that she and Maci had discussed sex and birth control, and when Maci got pregnant, she thought she was still a virgin.
Dawn, Leah's mom, said that she was, and has continued to be, completely devastated with Leah's pregnancy. She said she actually had Leah on birth control (the Depo shot).
Clearly, in both cases, birth control was addressed, but it did not avoid teen pregnancy.
When audience members were interviewed, teens seemed to love the show and learn from it, but one of the moms seemed to think the show promoted teen pregnancy.
Dr. Oz's main point was that no matter what your thoughts are about 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, use it as a way to open the dialogue about teen pregnancy. Even if you don't condone the show itself, let it start a conversation about why being a teen mom or teen dad is not the answer.
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