Lessons learned by professionals: educating and supporting adolescent parents.

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Lessons learned by professionals: educating and supporting adolescent parents.

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Close to three quarters of a million girls and young women become mothers every year in the United States. Adolescent parents face multiple challenges that make parenting at a young age a difficult endeavor. The research question for this study was: What can be learned from professionals who work with low-income adolescent parents about educating and supporting those parents? A group of 21 professionals consisting of public health and school nurses, parent educators, social workers, and those working with young fathers participated in focus groups and completed follow-up questionnaires and interviews (written, phone, or in person) on the topic of educating and supporting adolescent parents. Additionally, the researcher and her colleague, one as a parent educator and teen program coordinator, and the other, a case manager for a teen parent-program, offered their perspectives of working in teen parentprograms. The themes that emerged from the focus group participants were: (a) adolescents are still maturing cognitively and emotionally and this affects their decision-making ability and their capacity to parent, (b) adolescent parents face many challenges, (c) relationships play a critical role in adolescents' parenting, (d) poverty influences adolescents' ability to be effective parents, and (e) culture and ethnicity are important considerations when developing educational programs and support services. Analysis of these themes may offer insight and information for professionals who provide support and education for low-income teen parents and for those who create policies and programs for them.


University of Minnesota Ed.D. December 2011. Major:Work, Community, and Family Education. Advisor:Dr. Jane Plihal. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 132 pages, appendices A-F.

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Kjenstad, Laura J.. (2011). Lessons learned by professionals: educating and supporting adolescent parents.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/119951.

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