In this book the authors examine in depth the lives of inner-city adolescent mothers, going beyond stereotypes to illuminate the diverse pathways to young adulthood taken by these young women. The different ways they respond to becoming a parent reflect a range of abilities, aspirations, and supports. Their often-creative solutions to living in poverty, the intensity of their desires to make their children's lives better, the height of their youthful ambition when they succeed, and the depth of their pain when they fail, all show a surprising range. The authors argue that adolescent mothers who enter young adulthood with the skills and desires to care for themselves and their children are not the resilient few and present a lengthy analysis of the multidimensional processes that lead to and characterize this resilience.
In making constructive suggestions for social welfare policies and reforms, this book serves as an ideal model of the important uses of qualitative research for understanding the adolescent experience. More than that, the book stands out among others by this social policy perspective and its focus on encouraging adolescent mothers to reach their potentials.
This volume aims to attract those who wish to learn more about the adolescent experience without getting lost in the detail of the methods and analyses. To this end, the main body of the text presents general methods and results. Scholarly details of the work are placed in appendices to which the interested reader can refer. A second highlight is the inclusion of impressionistic material, such as quotes from the adolescent mothers who were participants in this research. Such material brings to life the real issues of very real adolescents--their triumphs and struggles, their riches and poverty, their strengths and weaknesses.
Contents: Series Editors' Foreword. Preface. Introduction: Beyond the Sterotypes: What Kind of Problem Is Teenage Parenting? The American Context: Sex, Marriage, Work, and Poverty. Resilient Processes: Gaining Strength From Challenge and Support. Pathways to Adulthood: School and Work. Life as a Working Mother: Teressa and Charise. Welfare Benefits for Inner-City Adolescent Mothers: Supporting Early Adult Development. Living on Welfare: Mialisa, Helen, and Vivian. Resilient Relationships: Men as Fathers and Partners. With T. Harmon, Relationships That Hurt: Escaping Domestic Violence. With W. Hoglund, Adolescent Mothers as Co-Parents: The Effects of Maternal Care, Grandmothers' Involvement, and Day-Care Experiences on Child Competence and Problem Behaviors. Building a Rock to Stand On: Policies That Enhance Competence for the Transition to Early Adulthood. Appendices: Description of Measures. Interview for Ethnographic Data.