March 16, 2006
Despite the conflict between liberals and conservatives on nearly every topic, this is one point on which they firmly agree: Young people absolutely must not have children. But teen pregnancy, in itself, is not such a bad thing, says Frederica Mathewes-Green, a film critic for National Review Online.
- Younger moms and dads are more nimble at child-rearing -- less apt to be exhausted by toddlers' perpetual motion, less creaky-in-the-joints when it's time to swing from the monkey bars; younger parents will also be more patient with boys-will-be-boys rambunctiousness and less likely than weary 40-somethings to beg pediatricians for drugs to control supposed pathology.
- Young people aren't inherently incapable of responsibility; our ancestors were able to marry young because society didn't insist on prolonging their childhoods until their 20s and because it was possible for young adults with high school diplomas to earn enough to support a family.
- And young marrieds were surrounded by a network of support enabling that step -- family and friends who could guide and support them, not just in navigating the shoals of new marriage, but also in the practical skill of making a family work.
Teen pregnancy is not the problem, says Mathewes-Green. Unwed teen pregnancy is the problem. Restore an environment that supports younger marriage and you won't have to fight biology for a decade or more.
Source: Frederica Mathewes-Green, "Why Wait?" Dallas Morning News, March 12, 2006.
Browse more articles on Government Issues