Family Matters No. 72 - December 2005

Teenage mothers

Constructing family
Alison Morehead and Grace Soriano

Abstract

What are the supports, pressures and additional labour that shape decisions teenage mothers make about family life? A study focusing on adolescent mothers provides a good opportunity to examine some of the recognised factors in the work and family debate that lead mothers to decide not to participate in paid work. The Teenage Mothers Study, conducted between November 2004 and May 2005, provided data which served to highlight the differences between teenage and older mothers in terms of the debate on work and family. To actively make decisions about how to combine work and family, the authors argue that a parent needs to have a strong enough identity to generate preferences. Teenage mothers need to be helped to develop a positive identity in order to develop preferences and commit to a course of action that will lead them into the next stage of their lives. 

What are the supports, pressures and additional labour that shape decisions teenage mothers make about family life? A study focusing on adolescent mothers provides a good opportunity to examine some of the recognised factors in the work and family debate that lead mothers to decide not to participate in paid work. The Teenage Mothers Study, conducted between November 2004 and May 2005, provided data which served to highlight the differences between teenage and older mothers in terms of the debate on work and family. To actively make decisions about how to combine work and family, the authors argue that a parent needs to have a strong enough identity to generate preferences. Teenage mothers need to be helped to develop a positive identity in order to develop preferences and commit to a course of action that will lead them into the next stage of their lives.

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