Never The Priority


Never The Priority

"I was born to a 15-year-old (pregnant at 14). That did not slow down my disco queen mom. She was in and out for days at a time. Dad made me feel like a burden most of the time. Not a 'cool' young parent at all. An angry person for the situation he was in. Parents never married and separated after a year or two. Lived with lots of 'relatives' in San Jose for many years. Mom married four times indicating she was trying to find me a Dad, but she was the kind of person who did not take care of themselves. Settled in with my grandparents in late grade school. They gave me stability during the stepdad trials. My parents never completed high school, nor my aunts and uncles from both sides. Put in lots of sketchy situations that you only recognize as bad later in life. I emancipated at 17 and worked two jobs my senior year high school.

In short, it was terrible. I surpassed my parents early in terms of education, emotional intelligence, income, social status, career, etc. When you don't have a good template to follow, and no one to fall back on, the struggle is real. I was lucky to find a girl that kept me out of trouble.

Don't have kids unless you can provide them a better foundation than you have. My mom got many free passes for years on her, 'I had you when everyone said I shouldn't.' Only later in life did I recognize the parenting failure. I thought she was a saint for a long time because she was the more loving parent.

Aside from not trusting anyone, I am doing alright. Told my girl, now wife, no kids until jobs, house, car, and insurance. We have three kids, a five-bedroom home, solid jobs, and don't use babysitters or family for help."

A Resentful Mother

Iakov Filimonov/

A Resentful Mother

"My parents ran away and eloped when my mom was 16 years old. My dad was 26. My mom got pregnant at 17 and had me at 18.

Things were okay growing up. Since my mom ran away to California and she grew up in Hawaii, she didn't know anyone here, so she didn't go out much. She was a stay at home mom her whole life.

I didn't feel the effects of her being a teenage mom until I was older. As soon as I graduated high school, I moved out and went to college about two hours from home. She refused to call me or visit. My dad would call almost every day to check in, and she'd make a lame excuse not to come on the phone. When I did visit, my dad would ask how school was going and ask what I was up to and while telling him my mom would make some crummy comment about how she wished she was able to do something like that and then try to change the subject.

It became apparent when I became a mom myself. If I wanted a date night with my husband, she'd say she never went anywhere when she had me, so she refused to watch him. My dad would volunteer himself once in a while and tell us to take a night off to watch a movie or something and my mom will throw in a jealous comment here or there about how easy I have it. There were a few occasions where she said she would watch the baby, and she'd flake the night before or the day of. Now we just hire a sitter if we make plans."

Very Little Stability

Eakachai Leesin/

Very Little Stability

"Mother was 16; Father was 15.

Had keys to the house in the first grade, woke myself up and frequently came home to an empty house where I would just do my own thing.

A lot of neglect, but no real abuse. Trips to grandmas were always great because she'd spoil me and give me attention.

Parents usually did their own thing, as you'd imagine they would in their early to mid-20s. I was small and didn't eat well, never went hungry though; generally spent a really self-contained life.

I moved a lot. Every year of school I would be in a new place, and it didn't stabilize until the sixth grade.

My mother got into substances when I was in the third grade, my parents split after having my little sister/little brother, and then protective services came in and took the reigns from my mother.

I'm a fairly independent person who doesn't need to interact with others. My father died six years ago in a car crash. My mother bounces in and out of jail."

A Success Story

Eugenio Marongiu/

A Success Story

"My mother has always been academic, even from a young age. My father was certainly not academic but a good worker. My dad came from a difficult background and he and his sister were in foster care since they were young. They were also physically abused by the foster mother they had for 12 years. My parents were friends since they were children and they took each other to the prom.

A few months after that, they started hooking up. One of those hookups resulted in me. My mother was 17 and my father was 16 at the time. She was in her first year in college and was doing well. As was my father after recently being placed in a new foster home with a much nicer guardian. He wasn't going to finish school and had a plan to drop out as soon as he got a job.

When they learned my mom was pregnant it was obviously a bombshell. My mother has been open with me in her considerations of aborting me before she told my father, as she thought she'd be doing it on her own and on minimum wage. She and my father had a talk and decided they would keep me and decided right there to be in a relationship.

My mother completed her first year of college and then gave birth to me. Both my parents lived separately that summer. My mother decided to keep up college, even though it was three hours away. My 17-year-old father took me to live with him and his foster parents. He stayed on in school, as he wanted a backup plan in case his idea for his own landscaping company failed, all while raising a baby. My mother would travel down every weekend to see me. She said those years were the hardest of her life.

As I was growing up, they presented me with every opportunity they knew. I was involved in various sports clubs, I played piano since I was a young child, and my father even learned basic French and Irish so he could help me with my homework because he never had any help. This is the same guy who hated everything to do with school and still struggles with basic math. They have since told me they often didn't eat, as all these things cost so much and they were barely stable back then.

My mother completed her degree in anthropology and has held good jobs ever since. My father completed school even though he hated it and immediately went to work as a farmhand, eventually building his own landscaping company from the ground up.

I am now 20 years old and my parents have given everything for me. I also have three younger siblings aged 11, 8 and 5. My parent's new friends are always shocked when they find out about the much older daughter and calculate mine and my parent's ages in their heads.

My parents are still madly in love. They have good jobs and a great social circle. You couldn't meet two people who are more different and yet they somehow make it work. They broke every stereotype possible when it comes to unplanned teenage pregnancy and I couldn't be more proud of them."

Making It Work Through The Poverty

Monkey Business Images/

Making It Work Through The Poverty

"Everyone thinking your parents are your older siblings and your grandparents are your parents. My grandma thought it was awesome and hilarious; my mom was always annoyed. She loves it now that she's in her 40s.

You gain a hyperawareness early on of the financial state of your family. When you have teenage parents, you're poor as dirt. Lots of ramen noodles and watching your parents work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

That being said, we had a ton of love in the family, and I had some awesome experiences from having young parents that wanted to get out and have fun all the time. I was lucky in that my parents, despite being too young when they had me, loved each other like crazy; despite the odds, they've been happily married 24 years."

Growing Up Quickly

Africa Studio/

Growing Up Quickly

"My mom and dad were both 16 years old when they had me. My dad's parents tried to force my mom to marry him when she found out she was pregnant, but she refused. Good call; she fought to get her GED while he wasted all his time on substance abuse and ignoring the fact that I was alive.

I was mostly raised by my grandparents until my grandpa got terminal cancer and my grandma had a debilitating stroke. I was forced to go live with my dad while my mom worked the night-shift at the airport (this was when TSA was first established). I didn't see my mom for two years, and I later found out that he was getting PAID to take care of me, even though his mom did most of the work. It messed me up when I found out later on that my dad, whom I adored, had to get paid to care about me.

My mom and I moved to the United States when she got engaged, but it was still hard. You're growing up along with someone who is still doing it herself. You kind of get pushed aside sometimes while they deal with their own private crises. I love my mom to death, but she moved something like 10 times before I turned 10 years old.

I grew up way too fast. By the time I was 8, I had my own computer in my room, made my own meals, was in charge of getting to and from school, and learning an entirely new language. It played a lot into my mental state, I have depressive tendencies, and separation and anxiety issues that affect most of my relationships. But I am independent.

My step-dad and mom finally settled down when my little sister was born, and my dad is still living in my native country with a little sister and a newborn baby brother. He grew up around the time he was 30, but that relationship will never heal.

If anything, I was lucky that my mom never used substances and that I blocked out the two years I lived with my dad."

Strict Parents, Despite Their Age

Ermolaev Alexander/

Strict Parents, Despite Their Age

"My mom was 18 when she got pregnant with me, and my dad was 21. He wasn't a teenager, but I feel like that's close enough.

I feel like my childhood was standard, though I may have spent more time with my grandparents than a lot of kids. My parents emphasized schoolwork, to the point where I was grounded for several weeks because I got a C+ one period in honors geometry. Maybe a tad excessive, but I finished fourth in my high school class and went to the best college of anyone in my year, so I'm not complaining.

Outside of that though there was the inevitable friction that came as a result of my parents growing from children into adults, and they ended up divorcing when I was around 13. That was a rough period, but instead of acting out I threw myself into schoolwork.. glad I didn't take a different path."

Hard Work Sets Them Apart

Monkey Business Images/

Hard Work Sets Them Apart

"My parents were barely 18 when I was born. My dad was out of high school, but my mom had a year left, which she finished.

Honestly, our story is different than people I know who were born to teenagers. They got married a year later, and my dad joined the army. They had my brother shortly after and had to raise two young kids overseas on a low income. I remember having a car that constantly broke down and eating ramen a lot.

But my parents made it their priority to better themselves and make their marriage work. My mom got her associates, and my dad has two masters degrees. Plus, they are absolutely committed to each other. Other than those beginning years, they never let my bro or I know of any financial or marriage problems. Now we are both grown, and my parents are probably the most successful out of both sides of the family.

It's just funny how family members assumed they'd end up divorced and poor, but the exact opposite happened."

Avoiding The Same Mistakes

Olexander Kozak/

Avoiding The Same Mistakes

"My mom was 16 when she had my older brother and 18 when she had me. She went on to have two more kids in her 20s. My dad and mom got married when she was pregnant with my brother.

My parents had a difficult marriage. My dad blamed my mom a lot because he said she ruined his life. My mom had a lot of resentment towards my father as well because he worked long hours to help support our family and didn't want her to work outside the home. We grew up poor but my mom always made sure there was food on the table every night. She often went to bed hungry so we could eat. She never complained, and I didn't realize the sacrifices she made until I was in my teens. We didn't have a lot of extra money but my mom always took us camping growing up. It was our vacation.

I think it influenced my life a lot. I focused a lot on education because I knew I didn't want to have a dead end job like my dad. My brothers and I all went to college. I ended up getting my Ph.D. I also ended up having kids later in life. I was in my late 30s and my wife was in her early 40s when we became parents. It was important to me to make sure we were as prepared as possible before adding kids to the family."

Finding The Positives

Iakov Filimonov/

Finding The Positives

"My parents had me when they were 17 years old. I mostly grew up with my mom and my grandparents. We didn't move out of the house until I was in the fifth grade. As a result, my mom's side of the family is super close because we all lived in the same house as a result. We never refer to my aunt as 'Aunt [her name]' and instead my younger brother and I refer to her by her first name. She's the closest thing I have to an older sibling.

Looking back, I'm sure money was a stressor for my mom, but she worked her tail off and grandparents helped so much. I never wanted for anything, and even though I was raised Catholic, I never felt any negativity towards the circumstances of my birth.

That being said, I never have seen my parents happy to be in the same room with each other. They were never married, but I'm sure my experience is similar to young kids whose parents divorce. They both act like teenagers in terms of how they talk about each other. Most of the resentment is due to a custody battle that happened when I was around 3 years old, but I only remember the court-ordered therapist visit that I had to go through for it. They would, of course, use me to needle each other, so by the time I got to age 11, I learned to lie to cover each other's back. It wasn't worth the arguments I'd hear when they'd exchange me during visitation. While they could have done better, I don't resent them for it. They were kids, and younger than I am now when all of this went down.

As a teenager, my parents made sure I knew how to practice safe hookups, as opposed to abstinence which was taught in schools.

My mom also provided me with the freedom to make mistakes and experience life within reason. I could spend all day out, as long as I checked in occasionally and I wasn't doing anything illegal, she didn't mind.

The other positive is that my family is relatively young. My grandparents only recently retired, my mother hasn't reached 50 yet. My grandfather was the one who taught to build computers, for instance. I rarely have to be tech support."

Becoming Self-Reliant

Maya Kruchankova/

Becoming Self-Reliant

"My mother became pregnant with me at 15 years of age. I didn't meet my biological father until I was 20. Growing up was what I considered normal. I didn't know my life was different until I was a few years into school. I learned to cook early on. Nothing glamorous obviously, but I made my own breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. When I was a baby, we lived with my grandparents. When my mom married my stepdad, I was 4, and we moved in with him. She became a big partier. Drinking and doing substances and she got my stepdad into a lot of it. I grew up fast and in a crummy area. My mom had a lot of shady friends and some not so wonderful things happened. We didn't have a lot of money, and when my parents had my brother and sister, I became protective. I became their second mom and I was only 8 when my brother was born. I was always cleaning and cooking for them, checking their homework, etc. I took all my babysitting money to buy them groceries and coloring books.

My parents were acting like they were still teenagers and I was having a mid-life crisis in my pre-teens. They were always up late with friends, partying. I'd have to go yell at my own parents to quiet down so my siblings could sleep. I had to clean my mother on repeated occasion. They were never physically abusive, but this carried on for a long time. When my stepdad decided to sober up and become a minister, my mom couldn't handle it. She began to cheat and steal from him. They got divorced and she spiraled even more out of control. My siblings were with him every other week and he was fighting for them in court. But he wasn't fighting for me as I was already 15 and could 'fend for myself.' She became verbally abusive and began doing harder stuff. She blamed me for her not going to college, and for her life being the way it was. I broke down to multiple relatives with little to no help. When my mom finally realized she could lose my brother and sister, she sobered up and got her stuff together and fought back for them. Their divorce case went on for years and I was ignored. When I turned 17, I moved out and it was two months before anyone asked where I went. When I was little, I would seldom get to visit friends. But when I did, it was incredible to see clean rooms, toys, a TV. My friends weren't trying to get jobs and worrying about money at 10 years old. Their moms weren't leaving them alone with whacked out 40-year-old men. I mentioned my parents giving tattoos in our living room with a homemade machine and my friend Sarah wasn't allowed to talk to me anymore."

A Young And Narcissistic Mother Made Life Very Hard

Olena Zaskochenko/

A Young And Narcissistic Mother Made Life Very Hard

"My mother was 15 when she got pregnant with me, my biological father was in his 40s; that's all I know of him.

My mother blamed me. Everyone treated me as unwanted except my nan and grandad, who took pity on me.

I spent most of my childhood being blamed for every little wrong thing and being raised mainly by my nan. My mother got carted away in the night after a psychotic break, in which she blamed me for again. I was 7 at the time.

So I went to live with my nan, but my mother soon got out and nan wanted her daughter to have a happy family, so I was given back to my mother again. Only now she was worse, she didn't just blame me, she thought I was big enough to take her punches too.

My mother then got into drinking more and would be a soppy mess whenever she did, so I often chose to go to my nans every evening and weekend.

I ended up in an argument at one point and was 'gifted' back to my nan. I was 13. Honestly, it was excellent, except for the long walk to school.

Nan kept trying to help my mother though so I got put back yet again and ended up with me being told by my stepfather to leave and never come back after a vicious fight where my mother strangled me.

My childhood was dirty, poor, confusing, and hard. My mother is a full on narcissist who has my whole family wrapped around her finger. At least she treats my (younger half) sister well.

I ended up moving to the states from England, and I don't foresee going home anytime soon. I miss my nan every day, and I miss the food and flowers, but the peace after so many years of torment, is worth it.

I am only now starting to find who I am in life after all the years of gaslighting and abuse."

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