‘Disappointed’ Mom Considers Punishing Her Son For Becoming A Teen Parent

Her fury is understandable. But what her son — and her future grandchild — need more than anything is support.

distraught teen boy dealing with teen pregnancy Matt_Brown / Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro

Becoming a teen mom or dad isn't usually part of anyone's life plan, but mistakes happen. And when they do, no matter the circumstances, the biggest thing the teens involved need is support.

But support seems to be the last thing on the mind of a mom online whose teen son just revealed he's about to be a father. In fact, she seems fixated on the opposite — and especially on how the pregnancy is impacting her rather than her child or the grandchild she's about to have.


The mom wants to punish her son for becoming a teen parent.

"I am incredibly disappointed in my son," the mom began her letter to Slate's "Care and Feeding" parenting and family advice columnist Michelle Herman. "I can't see past my rage."

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Her feelings are certainly understandable. But where she's letting them lead her is pretty hard to swallow.

The mom is thinking of withholding her son's college fund as punishment for getting his girlfriend pregnant.

Her son is 16, and she said she and her husband did everything they could to prevent something like this happening. "We ... had multiple conversations about sex, provided condoms once he was old enough, and talked about the importance of care and respect and (hopefully!) love before sex," she wrote. "And yet this happened."

And now, she wants to make him pay — literally. "We have a college fund for him, but now I don’t want to give it to him," she shared. "For one thing, we’re now on the hook for child support we never budgeted for."

@yourtango A mom gave her teen son’s girlfriend a place to live - and his college fund - after he decided to dump her because she got pregnant #reddit #aita #pregnant #pregnancy #teenpregnancy #momsoftiktok #parenting #collegefund ♬ original sound - YourTango

She went on to say that she and her husband are "financially comfortable" but approaching an age where it is time to focus financially on retirement, not their son's child. Taking his college fund away helps solve this problem. They've also considered using it to pay child support. 


"I know I’m not seeing this clearly," she admitted. But she's furious. "He had one job — not to have a child himself — and he couldn’t do that."

teen girl finding out she's pregnant Diego Cervo / Canva Pro

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Punishing her son would be the most counterproductive way to handle this and would likely make things worse.

Experts agree that punishing a teen for getting pregnant is the exact opposite of what you should do. "Punishing your teen by refusing to help can do long-lasting damage to your relationship," Planned Parenthood cautions.


More importantly, "it can also make things like finishing high school, going to college, or starting a career harder for them."

This makes her chosen means of punishment that much more absurd: How this mom thinks her son will ever be able to support a child without an education is anyone's guess. As Herman put it, it is "making sure his life continues to go awry from this point on."

@haidynshope Answer to @carlinfamily this only covers a small portion of it. #mom #daughter #teenpregnancy #teenmom #love #lifehacks ♬ Send Me on My Way - Vibe Street

And that, in turn, ensures the life of the baby coming goes awry, too — which doesn't seem to have occurred to this mom, or at least seems not to be a priority. But pretty much every other detail of this situation is beside the point.


Herman eloquently wrote that everything from this mom's anger to the financial concerns is "of less significance than the fact that your child is going to be a parent prematurely — and that the child who emerges at the end of this pregnancy is going to have teenaged parents, at least one of whom may not be a part of that child’s life except financially."

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The statistics on children born to teen parents are grim — and parental support is absolutely vital.

Roughly half of teen parents do not finish high school, which can begin a cascading process of cyclical poverty that can have profound effects on the child's life. They are also much more likely to develop mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. 

The situation is even more dire for children of teen parents, however. They are significantly more likely to drop out of high school themselves, tend to score much lower on cognitive achievement, have more frequent health problems, and face much higher unemployment rates in adulthood.


However, experts like pediatricians say children born to teen parents can have similar life outcomes to children born to older parents — if the parents receive strong support through the experience. Suffice it to say that punishment and judgment are the opposite of support.

teen dad with baby Kzara Visual / Canva Pro

This mom's fury is certainly understandable — she and her family are in a truly harrowing situation, and she needs to take time to grieve what her and her son's life could have been had this not happened.


However, to punish her son for becoming a teen parent could not possibly be more counterproductive — to her healing or to her son's predicament. All it will do is make him feel more ashamed, which will make him even more likely to fall apart and less likely to be capable of rising to the predicament he's gotten himself into.

As Herman put it, "This is a life-changing event. It is a many-lives-changing event. You need to take a breath and consider the big picture." A baby is coming — a baby that needs to be cared for, developed, raised, and kept safe. That child needs to be everyone's number one concern.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.