04 February 2009

Teen Parenting: Impacting Children and Families in Memphis and Shelby County

Dear Friends,

We would like to share with you a recent policy brief produced by the Center for Urban Child Policy at The Urban Child Institute. This brief discusses teen parenting in our community and includes suggestions for parents and policymakers to help provide more secure beginnings for vulnerable children in Memphis and Shelby County.

Among the key findings:

- 1 in 6 children in Shelby County are born to teen mothers. More than 85% of these mothers raise their children on less than $15,000 a year.

- 1 in 4 teen births in our county were not first births and the majority are to unmarried mothers without a high school diploma.

- In Shelby County, teen mothers are less likely than older mothers to receive prenatal care and more likely to give birth to a low birth-weight infant.

- Children born to teen mothers are at a greater risk for social, educational and behavioral problems throughout their lifetimes.

There are many things parents can do to help prevent their children from becoming parents at a young age:

Work to develop a close relationship with your children. Express love and affection often. Be supportive. Have meals together as a family. Listen carefully to what your children say. Be respectful to your children.

Know your children’s friends and their families. Welcome your child’s peer group into your home. Make an effort to meet the parents of your child’s friends. Talk openly to your child’s friends about your expectations.

Let your child know that you value his or her education highly. Set high expectations for educational performance. Help with homework. Meet with instructors and administrators. Volunteer in your child’s classroom.

Supervise and monitor your children. Establish regulations and curfews. Set high standards for expected behavior. Know what your children are listening to, watching and reading.

The Center for Urban Child Policy conducts public policy analysis and outreach as part of The Urban Child Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. The Center is committed to building public will and a sustained political voice for children in order to improve the well-being of all children and their families.

We welcome your questions and comments.


Doug Imig, Ph.D.

Frances Breland, M.A.

Katie Devlin, M.S.

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