How do i explain my age to my children and their friends?

Aidlivash - posted on 06/06/2012 ( 33 moms have responded )

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As a teen mom myself, (still with the father had first at 19 now 27) and exceptional successful as my children are apporaching 8 and 6 and their friends from school asking them how old i am and figuring out the math how do I explain to my kids and their friends how not to start life how I did. Without completely degrading myself?

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Amy - posted on 06/06/2012

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My best answer would be to tell them you hope they finish school etc before starting a family. I had my son @ 19 & am now 28, he thinks it's cool that he has the youngest mom out of all his classmates. He knows that with what he wants to do in life he will need to finish college & that will be way easier without the expense of a child. I have never in any way made him feel that I would have chosen anything other than to have him when I did (btw I chose not to go to college when I was 17 so having him never had any affect on me going to school etc & he knows I made that decision two years before he was born) Basically, please just be careful how you phrase it because it is not that I worry that you might degrade yourself but rather that you might inadvertantly hurt their feelings or make them feel like they were not wanted at the time. Good luck!

S. - posted on 06/06/2012

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I was 19 and my daughter is nearly 13 now, I tell her not to have children young that she need more out of her younger years, I say I want her to have holidays with her friends and enjoy uni and partying with no care's, i tell her how my children are my greatest achievement and how proud I am of them but how life was harder with children and how studying and working was so much harder with little ones that you always need to think about your kids first. I don't think the truth is degrading yourself and I also don't think wanting a easier life for them is either, because being a young mum is hard work.

Jodi - posted on 06/06/2012

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I don't understand how the math of that is degrading... :\ Believe me, at that age, they aren't even going to care, and as someone said, they don't do the math. My daughter is 7 and believes I turned 30 last year (don't ask, I didn't start it, LOL, it's just an ongoing joke about how much older her daddy is than her mummy). It hasn't even OCCURRED to her that she has a 15 year old brother, so that just doesn't really add up.

But to be honest, I don't see that you need to feel degraded because you had a child at 19. I think perhaps you need to get past that. Kids don't care, they really don't. By the time they are old enough to actually consider it something they want to question, they will be old enough to tell the story to.

User - posted on 06/06/2012

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I think at 8 and 6, they and their friends aren't "doing the math" with the same kind of judgment that a teenager or adult might; all they know is that you're younger than other parents, which probably makes you cool to them. In a few years, they'll be much better able to grasp what they'd be missing out on by having kids too young - my daughter is in seventh grade and is starting to go to dances and hang out with friends more, so it really means something to her when I remind her that she couldn't do any of it with a baby. When the time comes, you won't have anything to be ashamed of; all parents have this conversation with their kids (I do, and I didn't have my daughter until I was the age you are now!) so you'll just be coming from a more informed place.

User - posted on 06/07/2012

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Keep in mind that biologically, our best childbearing years are from our late teens to our mid thirties. From a strictly biological standpoint it makes a lot more sense to have children at 19 than at 40. It is our culture that has postponed adulthood, marriage and childbirth. A hundred years ago it would have been perfectly normal to be married in your late teens and get pregnant soon afterwards. In many cultures around the world it is still the norm. There is nothing degrading about having children when our bodies are at their prime. That's not to say we want our children to get married that young, but it's nothing to be ashamed of either. Enjoy the fact that you are still young enough to be active with your kids. Sounds like a better deal than having kids in elementary school when you're in your 50's (with no offense to anyone who may be in that situation).

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Aidlivash - posted on 06/07/2012

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Thank you to those of you that were helpful and encouraging. This website is here for that reason and I appreciate the kind things that you've said. Degrading is the wrong word and I'm hoping I didn't offend anyone. I believe now that I'm over thinking things. Especially for now. And honesty is best I just wasn't sure how to go about that. But you were helpful and not judgemental and I appreciate that. Thanks again!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/07/2012

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It really isn't your job to explain anything to your kids friends. You don't need to tell them your age if you don't want to either, that may help avoid this. It really is non of their business, and it certainly is not your place to start discussing sex ed with random kids. I think it is nice you don't want other kids having kids, but really there is no need to worry. It frankly is non of their business.

[deleted account]

I was 17 when i got pregnant and 18 when I had my son. He is 10 now. He has done the math and knows that mommy and daddy were 18 when we had him. (his father is the best man i know. He has stayed with me, moving in with my mother and I to raise our son, we are now married, own a house, have a 6 year old daughter, and I am able to stay home with the kids). When my son asks about it, I tell him that we did have him young. I always wanted kids and he just came earlier than expected. In truth he was an accident, considering my husband and I were only dating 5 months when we found out. But looking at things now, I wouldn't change a thing. My husband and I never missed out on anything. I did get my associates degree, he found a great job after high school that he is still at. We were never the partying, clubbing types. We are content to stay home and watch movies or play games with family, which is what we do. We have been blessed with a supportive family on both sides that watch the kids so we can have the occasional date night, or to go out with friends and "act our age". As far as what to say, to your children or their friends, I opt for the truth. My son's parents know that I had him at 18. I don't feel ashamed anymore, probably because I am living a really great life right now and am proud of where I am. Actually, to be honest, the only time age comes up with the kids parents, is when I have known them awile and we are sharing stories. They already know me and like me. I don't go around saying it when I meet them.

Whether you planned these children at a young age, or they were "surprises"; you took responsibility and have raised them the best way you can. When they start to ask questions, just answer them honestly. My son asked how old I was when he was born. I told him 18. and that was it about the conversation for a year or two. As he gets older, he realises that 18 is on the young side, but he is also able to understand more. Answer your childrens questions honestly, and you will know how much they can handle at the time. As for their friends, tell them what you want to, but don't ever degrade yourself. Having kids young is hard, but not the end of your life.

The one thing I have told my son, is that I don't want to be a grandma in my 30's so he has to wait until he is at least 22 to have kids :-).

Pamela - posted on 06/07/2012

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First of all, you have no right to tell others how to live their lives! If you are unhappy with your choices...look at yourself, pray and ask to be shown the source of your unhappiness and then pray for the courage and strength to correct it.

Do not give UNSOLICITED ADVICE!!!!! God GIFTS us with Free Will Choice for a reason. HE wants us to use our creative intelligence to let or own light shine.

Your experiences are yours to learn from. Do not think you have the right or OBLIGATION to tell others how to make 'better' choices. If you are having regrets about your own choices....fix yourself. Let others make their own choices, have their own experiences and learn their own way.

Your experiences are for you and no one else.

Nikki - posted on 06/07/2012

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My daughters are 9 and 6 months. I was pregnant at 18. I talk to my daughter about the importance of school, life experiences, etc. But really the only things I missed out on were underage drinking/partying/dorm life and are those really experiences I needed? I finished my associates degree in nursing before she was 3, bought a home when she was 5, just finished my bsn and shes 9, and by the time shes 10 i will have my msn. Highlight all the accomplishments you had...with children to boot. Good for all of us resonsible teen parents :)

Tracy - posted on 06/07/2012

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I was 17 when I had my son. I am 33 now. When my 17 year old cousin came to me trying to get pregnant, this is what I told her (and my son all these years):

I want you to tell me some things you want to do or be when you grow up. Is there some place you want to visit? A job you want to have? Move somewhere cool? Hang with friends at college parties? ANYTHING! Tell me about WHO you see yourself becoming one day. After they tell me what they think or dream of doing, I tell them that I would like THEM to be able to meet that person one day. If they think of having kids early, it's not the end of the world, but they will NEVER get to meet the person that they WANTED to become.

I love my son and wouldn't trade anything at all. I made my choices and love the life I have. However, I do wonder if I hadn't had him so early, what are some of the things I might have done? places I might have visited? experiences I would have had? Those are questions that I will NEVER know the answer to.

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at 8 and 6 they don't care... and neither do their friends, everyone is old to them..... we often give kids more than they want,
Kid: Mom, how old were you when I was born? Mom: 19, Kid Oh ok, what's for dinner?

Jen - posted on 06/07/2012

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Honesty is the best policy. Nothing to be ashamed of. Actually puts you at an advantage to their older friends' parents because they feel like they can talk to you about anything... at least that's what my girls' friends say. When one had a miscarriage, she called me to talk to me about it because her older mother just didn't understand.

Cindy - posted on 06/07/2012

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Being 19 means you were an ADULT for over a full year already! Yes, still young, but not a child by any means. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Eva - posted on 06/07/2012

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You obviously had support from your family to a large extent
If u can say it was better to have been a teen mom that the only way
You could have stayed home with that child and raised it that young
Otherwise without the help you would have struggled like crazy there is absolutely nothing better
About having a baby before the right time you get through it and make the best of the hand you are dealt but it's in no way better I had all 3 of mine at 29, 33, and 36 and would not have
Wanted it any other way I had my BA and a teaching credential and a Masters Degree I pursued my Masters while starting a family and it was hard of course I also had zero family or parental support just my hubby who has always been amazingly supportive

Katelyn - posted on 06/07/2012

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My son is only 2 1/2 right now. I was pregnant at 19 and I had him when I was 20. While I was pregnant this was one of the things I thought about. The looks I got from complete strangers when I went into public (I was not dressed like a slob) were just awful. It made me so upset. Yes, I am young. Yes, I am pregnant. I am not a disease. I made my decision. My son was not an accident. His father and I both, together, as a couple decided we were ready for a baby. However, after all the mean and hurtful looks began, I started thinking if this is what these strangers are doing to me, then what happens if someone makes a comment that hurts my sons feelings.
The more I thought about it, the more I laughed it off. First of all, I will cross that bridge, if we get there. Second of all, yes gosh I guess I missed out on going to parties and puking my guts out. I feel like I can put my times to a better use. I graduated with an associate degree before I had my son. I am currently going to Nursing school and plan on going for my BSN. I am showing my son that hard work, determination, and setting goals are key to success. I am also teaching my son balance. When you have so many priorities there must be balance in your life. You can challenge yourself, but must always make time (even if it doesn't exist) for your family. I am teaching him what it is to compromise. His father and I both have a lot going on for us. We might cancel our plans for the other because it has to be done. I could go on forever. I am young enough and full of energy that I can play with him all day running around outside or rolling around on the floor inside. I made my decision. We made our decision and I couldn't be happier. Who cares what other people think. Yes, kids can be mean when they get older and understand more, but as long as you and your children are happy with their lives. Who cares what they think!

Cherie - posted on 06/07/2012

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Don't sweat it. Kids, especially 6 & 8 will look at you and think you are an old lady just because all adults are old to them. They are not going to be doing the math so just be honest. When the time comes that they start doing the math have an open and frank conversation with them. You will not degrade yourself if you are honest with them and yourself. So what, as a youth you made a bad decision. But, you turned that decision into a responsible, good one when you owned up to the consequences of adulthood, whether you were ready or not. You are now blessed with two wonderful children whom you love and wouldn't give up for the world. Nothing degrading about that.
Love and accept yourself. Be proud that you had the courage to be a good mom. There is no shame in taking responsibility and becoming the person you were meant to be. Stay strong Jestine (Mom). Your children will be proud of you because of the strength that you have shown them.

Chasity - posted on 06/07/2012

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This is pretty much word for word how I explain it to my kids. I'm 33 and I have a 16, 14, 9, and 6 year old. I make sure my oldest knows that he was the best choice I ever made, but I wish I would have made some choices at a better time so he could have had a better and more stable life, especially financially. He knows I wouldn't change a thing, but he also understands that I want more for him and my other 3 kiddos. I think it's really important how you word the conversation :).

Kay - posted on 06/07/2012

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I had my eldest son at 15 my daughter at 18 my husband and I have been married for 28 years we got married on my 16 birthday we have six children I have always been honest with them and they have all grown up sensible just be honest you never know what age you are going to meet
Your soul mate !

User - posted on 06/07/2012

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My mom had me at 17.

As children we thought it was awesome to have a mom so young because she played with us and was more fun than any of the other moms. We had better crafts and more adventures (we thought walking 2 miles to Woolworth's for an ice cream sundae was amazing). Our friends preferred our mom too.

As we became old enough to discuss sex, she told us how we were blessings but she wished she had waited and finished high school and perhaps college, and how hard it was for her to get her GED and later attend community college. It was also clear that due to a lack of education her employment options were limited when she did go to work, and she always recommended we get the best education we could.

Alli - posted on 06/07/2012

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I was also a teen mom. That has always been out in the open with my four daughters who are 12, 10, 6 and 4. They know that I was 18 when my oldest daughter was born but they also know the struggles and hardships I had to overcome because of being such a young mom. I always use my situation as a chance to teach them and help them understand why I wouldn't want the same for them. I feel like the more open and honest you are about your own situation, the better. It is what it is, and it's a part of my life story. I think we often look down upon ourselves because it is not the ideal example that we want to set for our children, but I always tell them that no one is perfect, even Mom makes mistakes, but it is how you rise above it and handle yourself after that, that matters most. This allows them to realize that I expect them to slip up but I also expect them to take responsibility for their actions and decisions and to learn something from it, ultimately. I always focus on how much I learned about myself and how much becoming a mom so young shaped me into the person I am today. I think it is good for them to see how open and honest I am about it so they feel more comfortable coming to me when they need to talk about an issue or obstacle in their own lives. All in all, they know that even though I was young, I gave up so many things that I had planned for my life so that I could be the best mom I could be and I know they understand and appreciate that!

Amy - posted on 06/06/2012

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I was 17 when I had my first then 19 when I had my second and 21 when I had my last one they ask all the time how old was I when I had them they are 10, 8, and 6 I tell them the truth that I was young when I had them but I wouldn't change but I want them to wait and have kids after they get out of college and get a good job my kids are my life

Stifler's - posted on 06/06/2012

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I don't remember in my whole life caring what age my mum was when I was born. Or asking.

Alaina - posted on 06/06/2012

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To be honest I don't think the kids are doing the math to figure out how old you were when you had your kids. At this age they aren't close to that thought in my opinion, they are still so young. Honestly kids are just curious at this age and ask a lot of questions, my five year old plays 20 questions with everyone he meets because he is just that curious. Children at the age of yours are like sponges and want to absorb everything around them. As they get older then go into more detail about being a young mom, for now just focus on them still being little kids.

Stifler's - posted on 06/06/2012

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How is 19 that young or shameful. Tell them you were 19 when they were born. I had my kids at 21 and 22, big deal.

[deleted account]

Just be honest. What you did isn't necessarily what your own daughter will do. My Mum fell pregnant as a teen and was forced to marry my Dad. I didn't do the same thing. I got married in my 20's and had my first child in my 30's. My Mum was always honest and was always willing to answer my questions. The best you can do is just be honest and answer any questions the best way you can.

Byra - posted on 06/06/2012

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I just simply tell my daughter she has a lot longer to be an adult than a child. If they like doing math this one helps. I had her add up how many more years she would be responsible for someone else if she had the child young than if she waited. My daughter is really practical so hopefully this works. I'm honest and say "I chose to have you and glad I did, but life for all of us would have easier if I had waited until I was more established in life". I also point out that just because something worked out for me doesn't mean it will for her or really anyone. If you have a child at 20 (like I did) then you go straight from being a teen to a parent and completely miss the young adult stage. I didn't realize I missed it until it was over and I had hit my 30's. I graduated college, but never have had the simplicity of only caring for myself. I've also noticed that tho I may be one of the youngest moms I'm more protective and involved than a lot of older mothers, but that may be more my personality than anything to due with age. So maybe it worked for me just because of who I am and has nothing to due with anything else. I just try to hit every angle I can think of, but not all at once. It's ok to admit that maybe you made a hard choice that isn't right for everyone.

Kari - posted on 06/06/2012

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Having a child at 19 isn't like having a child at 16. I had my first son at 19 and he is now 10. Age isn't an issue. I myself notice more often than my kids how much younger I am than his friends parents. I would just tell your kiddo the same thing you would tell them if you were older when you had your kids, "wait until they are financially and emotionally ready to be a parent."

Kristin - posted on 06/06/2012

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I had my daughter at 19. How is that necessarily degrading? It's certainly not unusual to have a baby while young. If you're still with the kids' dad, who cares? Married people have babies. You're way ahead of the game. All of my friends have infants & toddlers now, I find it funny. I don't have the energy now, but my daughter loves the babysitting opportunities. I can't imagine having a baby in my 30s! I'm glad I had my daughter when I was younger & had the time to spend with her. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Belittling young moms in stable relationships is born of nothing but jealousy.

Antoinette - posted on 06/06/2012

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The best thing you can do is be honest as well as educational. Let your kids know that you either did not listen because it could not happen to you or that you did not have the sex education under your belt to fully grasp what happened at the time and that you made the best of the cards dealt to you in life. Explain that the road you traveled was a hard one as rewarding as it was and that you had to sacrifice more than you may have wanted to at the time. If you had your way you would hope your kids would wait to have a sexual relationship but the reality is they most likely won't, so tell them all the means of protecting themselves from STD's and pregnancy. Ultimately remember that, a mistake is something you did not want... A surprise is something you did not know you wanted or needed until you got it ;) Good luck!!

Dawn - posted on 06/06/2012

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I had my oldest at 17 I'm now 37 and shes 20 this summer. i have always been very honest with her, and said she wasn't a mistake but a happy accident. but that being said i explained to her how hard it was going to high school, nursing school and working; about how i missed both my proms because my Jr prom i was 7 month pregnant and my senior prom she was sick. or how i lost most of my friends because they could go out and have a good time and i need to take care of her. and that i wanted more out of life for her. i think honesty is the best policy tempered with telling them how you love them but you would have waited. by the way i have always been the cool mom because im close to their age and tell them the truth about life.
why do you feel telling them the truth would degrade you? no judgement im just curious.

Stephanie - posted on 06/06/2012

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I was 19 too I had my first.... I graduated at 17.5 and had married at 18... You have nothing to explain to their friends unless they ask advice then explain the difficulties you had. But simple math doesn't tell them anything about you. I'm also going through the other end of the spectrum too, I am 40 now and have a nine month old! Don't worry but be willing to share your life lessons and let them know that while everyone makes mistakes, sometimes through hard work they are your greatest accomplishments too!

Tia - posted on 06/06/2012

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I had my first and only son when I was 16 and my oldest daughter when I was 18... they are now 16 and 14 and they think that it's really cool that I am still young myself (33 in a few days) and that I can do things with them. I also I have 3 younger children 5,3 and 3 months. I explain to my children that I graduated high school and college while being a young mother.. and that I did not let having children hinder any of that. I also let them know how hard the struggle was because I was so young and that they should think about that before they decide to have children or even sex for that matter. Both of my teenagers are still virgins and still say that they will wait until the "right" man or woman comes along. I couldn't be more proud of them if I tried! Good luck hun, there is nothing degrading about being a young mother as long as you were the one taking care of them and providing for them.

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