Children Raising Children: A Parallel Developmental Process

by Rpien2 on October 21, 2013 - 10:56pm


         The article “Terrible Twos” and “Terrible Teens”: The Importance of Play is written by Joan Raphael-Leff. This article focuses on the mental, emotional and physical growth of toddler and how they are parallel to the teenage and adolescent growth pattern. These growth patterns aren’t necessarily all physical, but perhaps a majority of social patterns, focusing more on the mental and emotional aspect. Raphael-Leff uses the main idea of teen parents and the care for their babies not being as compliant as those who are mentally and emotionally ready to raise children. The most influential main argument of the article is that teenage parents are still trying to find themselves and are still within the developmental process. It is already difficult for teens to fit in, and a lost sense of identity can interrupt the development process, especially when deciding to become a mother. If a teen decides to conceive a child, the child is considered to be at high-risk, because the parent, mother specifically, isn’t fully developed. There are many reasons to having a baby at a young age including to prove fertility, a sense of control, cheating death, wanting a perfect family and simply unprotected sex. To keep the baby is a whole different discussion, but having a teen mother raise a child raises more concerns than confidence. Both the teen parent and the child are searching for emotional and physical identity. The toddler will learn to walk, discover new capabilities, find new places and begin to use speech to communicate. The growth of a child can be overwhelming for a teenager because a child needs constant attention and care. Adolescents are still trying to identify themselves and still do not have a fully mature mind to handle complicated tasks such as giving up teenage hood to take care of another person. This will cause stress and a sense of neglect for the child if the mother is a single mother trying to battle being a teenager and a mother. In conclusion, there are many effects from being a teen mom that affects the baby and the mother, due to the fact that the baby and mother are developing. It is more difficult to teach another human to be one way when they do not fully understand themselves and understand the differences between what is socially right or wrong. Joan Raphael-Leff heavily stresses that not all teen parents are inadequately raising children, however in general, some are not in the correct state of mind, stage of development, or have a healthy relationship with family or a significant other to raise a child.


            The article based on teen parenting and the developmental process by Joan Raphael-Leff incorporates multiple assumptions. In order for this article to be deemed as one hundred percent true, every teen parent in America or the world would have to be assessed, along with their child. Raphael-Leff assumes that once a teenager becomes a teen mother, they are all shut off from being a “normal teenager”. Teenagers who are only responsible of raising themselves will hang out with friends, attend school and focus on themselves. Teen moms are ridiculed for hiring a babysitter to go to a social event, because of the backlash of judgment from different parties, such as teenagers or older parents. This assumption that teenager mothers are shut out from participating in activities with friends incorporates the topic of in-group and out-group. Taking care of a child can cause stress and anxiety, and brief separation to be with friends (the in-group) will help the social development status of the mother (the out-group). In addition, resocialization occurs with children daily. From learning to crawl to walking, drinking a bottle to eating and to screaming or learning speech are all variables of resocialization and Raphael-Leff assumes that with age comes resocialization. This also goes with teen parenting. The author’s opinion is the older and more financially, mentally, socially and physically a woman is, the more capable they are to raise a family or a child independently. As toddlers are learning new vocabulary, movement and new places, teenagers are also finding themselves. They are unraveling their true identity, their beliefs and various relationships with multiple of people. As the teenagers are growing, Leff believes that since the teens are still growing and adapting to change independently, teens should be more cautious in protection and thinking twice about wanting to raise a child.



Raphael-Leff, J. (2012). “Terrible Twos” and “Terrible Teens”: The Importance of Play. Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. England. 11:4, 299-315. 


I agree with everything you stated in this article. Even though i'm almost out of my "teen years" still could't imagine having a child myself at this time because I am still growing up and finding myself, what I truly want in life and who I am. I couldn't imagine trying to teach a baby or child how to grow up and teach them everything they need to know. I feel as if you are a teen trying to find yourself and teach your child, you would get stressed out a lot and yell, which would result in raising that child in a negative environment and not teaching them the way you would want to teach a child that you truly do love. You may have the best interest and intent, but because you are so young you can't teach that child correctly and you can't finish growing up, you can't do either parts correctly, so it is just an all around bad situation.

About the author