By Lauren Mann of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
As parents of toddlers, the "Teen Mom 2" cast members are no strangers to temper tantrums, but they also need to be aware of their own tempers. They're role models for their kids, and an argument that escalates into a full-fledged fight can be really scary for a child to witness. Just as disturbing is when they see their moms dealing with anger in inappropriate ways. Kids are always learning and parents are expected to set the tone for how disagreements are handled.
Jenelle and her mother Barbara's volatile relationship has been an issue since day one. We've seen firsthand the effect their fights have on Jace -- when an argument erupts, he starts crying -- so Jenelle and Barbara must continue to take steps toward handling their disagreements in a civil manner. They both know they're likely to fight and it's not fair for Jace to be stuck in the middle.
Fighting is too-often a regular part of life for teen parents, whose lives are filled with chaos. Nearly one-third of teen mothers who don't live with their child's father say they fight about things like relationships, family responsibilities and money. An argument that is handled as a negotiation, where there's a mutual respect that stays focused on problem-solving, serves as a great way to teach kids how to act in those situations. Bullying and name-calling are not appropriate ways of dealing with arguments, and don't provide healthy instruction for kids. Children need to know that getting physical with another person is never okay.
We often hear the teen moms talk about how important it is for them to be good role models for their children, and that should include setting the example for how they want their kids to deal with conflict. Parents never have a day off when it comes to being a role model.
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