Teen parenting as a social issue does not fit neatly into categories of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for most people…which makes it great material for teaching sociology! Take a look at the article “Children” Having Children by Stefanie Mollborn in the Winter 2011 issue of Contexts and use the activity below in your classroom.
Before students read the article, have a class discussion about their perceptions of teen parenting. What are their first reactions to the issue? Do they have personal experience with the issue? Were their fathers or mothers teen parents? Their friends? Themselves? What are social and practical challenges they imagine teen parents must face? Should the government use taxpayer money to prevent teen parenthood or leave it alone?
Then have the students read the article for the next class meeting and have students form small groups to discuss 1) how the article may have changed their views on the issue and 2) what was missing from the discussion from the last class that the article brought up.
Come back to the larger group and have volunteers from each group relay what they discussed. Then, ask students to explore what, if anything, should be done about this issue (e.g. whether government funds should be used to combat teen parenthood, and if so, directed where?)