chapter  10
Adolescent Mothers as Co-Parents: The Effects of Maternal Care, Grandmothers’ Involvement, and Day-Care Experiences on Child Competence and Problem Behaviors
Pages 29

The stereotype of adolescent mothers as “children having children” stems directly from the belief that they are too young to parent. Yet the majority of adolescent mothers are over 18 years of age (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994), so their perceived immaturity does not reflect the mature physical, cognitive, or emotional capacities that are normative by late adolescence. In many domains, 18-year-old women are considered adults. They are old enough to make adult choices about driving, smoking, drinking, sexual activity, and employment. They can enlist in the armed services, live independently, or receive welfare. Many begin college. They are also adults in the eyes of the law. They can consent to health care and are subject to adult court proceedings. They can purchase a gun. Yet at 18, women are not considered old enough to parent.