Media messages about teen parents

Yesterday I showed you the first of this semester’s Sex in the Media projects – and now here is the second!

As part of their Sex in the Media project, my students often investigate how teen parents are represented in the media.  It’s a mixed bag, frankly, with sometimes glassy-eyed-approval of the beauty and sweetness of teen pregnancy, as with Jamie Lynn Spears, mixed in with dreadful don’t-get-pregnant-or-your-life-will-be-over stories.  Neither of these allow for the far more common and far more complicated mixed-bag that is parenting (particularly unplanned parenting) for anyone of any age.  So when a student wants to analyze teen parenting, I talk with them about what a positive media image of teen parenting might look like.  It’s not the happy-go-lucky, everything-is-coming-up-roses view that we often get from celebrity teen parents, because even though that is positive, it’s also unrealistic.  But teenagers have the capacity to be good parents, particularly when they are offered the level of support that any new parent needs – which is a whole lot.

Alexis Garcia took my words to heart this semester when she was creating her final project.  She did a really amazing job of creating images for a public service campaign that, while acknowledging the hardship of teen parenting, tries to point the parents of those teen parents in the right direction.



About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. […] fabulous media images my students created this semester.  Earlier this week I posted images about teen parents about LGBTQQIA in […]

  2. I like the bottom image. It brings home what a lifetime role parenting is, not just the hustle and bustle of having a baby.

  3. great job! those are powerful images with a good strong message.

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