Teen mothering in the united states: Fertile ground for shifting the paradigmedit
Teen mothering was identified as a social and public health problem in the United States (US) beginning in the late 1970s, as advocacy groups, policymakers and researchers responded with alarm to the rise in ‘unwed’ teen pregnancies and births. Alarm intensified as study after study suggested that an early birth stunts or derails the future of mother and child. Although this characterization was problematic from the start, an alarmist paradigm remains entrenched in professional and policy discourse. The cumulative evidence from third generation studies and qualitative research calls for a paradigm shift that recognizes teen mothers’ strengths and resilience and ties their vulnerabilities to childhood adversities and longstanding disadvantage.