Changing the Parenting Game

Lancaster students disclose the joys that are their kids


Photo courtesy of Beatty.

Elijah Beatty with his infant son.

Emily Lundy, Sports Editor

Wake up. Brush teeth. Get dressed. Feed and diaper the baby. This scenario is not the typical day in the life of a teenager, but for teenage parents, it is the norm.

Teen parenting has always been sort of a taboo topic and the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States is substantially higher than in other developed countries. But two Lancaster High School students who have recently become new parents say their sense of joy helps them navigate the challenges of adulting at a young age.

Elijah Beatty, a sophomore, said that his role as a young father to his newborn son has already had a positive effect on his life.

“I would say that having him impacted me in a good way. I used to not have the motivation or lose it,” said Beatty.

“But with him, I found purpose and a reason to be good and do good.”

According to One World Education, “teenagers who can barely provide for themselves or make informed decisions about their futures are making the risky decision of engaging in sexual activities and making babies.”

Photo courtesy of Heisa.
Jasmine Heisa with her infant daughter posing in bubbles and rose petals.

Teenage pregnancy is associated with numerous social issues: poverty, low education levels, and the lack of awareness about sex and pregnancy prevention. Three million teens get a sexually transmitted disease/infection every year due to having unprotected sex (OWE 2019).

Interestingly, the number of teenage pregnancies in the United States has declined in recent years. But parenthood is also the leading reason why teen girls drop out of school. Less than half of teen moms even graduate from high school and fewer than 27% earn a college degree. About one-fourth of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of the first birth. Eight out of 10 teen fathers don’t marry the mother or contribute to raising the child (OWE, 2019).

In addition to an uncertain future, teenage parents have to juggle their school work with their parental responsibilities. Jasmine Heisa, a sophomore at LHS recently gave birth to a baby girl. She says she is ready to take on the struggle of balancing her responsibilities.

“A struggle would be having to give up going out and doing whatever you want,” said Heisa.

“I have to put another human being’s needs above mine and having to rearrange my whole life, but I wouldn’t change it for the world she’s worth it.”

Often, teen parents do not have the life skills and problem-solving abilities that prepare them to deal appropriately with challenges in adulthood.

“Despite all the sex on teen TV shows, and the hand-wringing over Tinder and ‘hookup culture,’ teenagers are actually having less sex than they were in earlier decades,” according to How Do We Reduce Teen Pregnancy in the U.S.?, an article by Julie Beck for The Atlantic in 2016.

“And when they do have sex, it’s most likely to be voluntary, with a steady partner, and using contraception” (Beck, 2016).