Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson
Advice from Former Teen Parents
1 There is zero tolerance for abuse. Growing up amidst domestic violence and high
levels of conflict puts a child at risk for all sorts of problems.
2 Parents assess their relationship. Is it safe? Should it end? Or does it have
potential, and do we want a future together? If so, what skills do we need to build? Children benefit if
parents work on building a healthy relationship and deepen their commitment to each other.
3 Parents work on communication, whether they stay together or not. Avoid the
drama by building communication skills for handling differences and conflicts so you can co-parent
effectively. Never badmouth the other parent in front of your child—it only hurts the child.
4 Parents learn about child development, especially the experiences in the
first few years that set a child up for a healthy start. Babies need loving interaction and stimulating
experiences to build their brains and emotional world. As they grow, children also need parents who
encourage, protect, and use effective discipline practices. Together or apart, get on the same page
about parenting practices. Seek out resources/parenting classes.
5 If separated, both parents put their child first before any new
partner. Avoid sliding into new relationships. Casually bringing new partners into the home can
pose risks to children, even abuse. Use the relationship skills you’ve learned to be wiser about choosing
partners and pacing your involvement more slowly.
6 Parents focus on education and employment goals. A child will
benefit from parents who focus on finishing school and pursuing employment goals.
7 Parents wait on having another child (whether together or in a new
relationship) until each is more settled with education and employment and with a solidly committed
8 Dad isn’t missing in action but stays involved daily—unless his presence is dangerous.
Dad needs to be part of a parenting team, not a treat parent who drops in occasionally. Mom should
welcome Dad’s participation and try hard not to shut him out or use the child to punish him.
9 Both parents understand the importance of stability and
safety for a child’s wellbeing. Establish routines (bed, nap, eating, reading). Avoid
taking a child on a roller coaster of multiple relationships as you figure out your love life. Reach out to
community and family connections for support.
Try to see it through the eyes of a child.
Bright Futures
for Babies
for babies
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