Bristol Palin, 18-year-old daughter of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and mother of 2-month-old Tripp, is not a statistic. But as word spreads of her recent split from 19-year-old fiance Levi Johnston, she joins 13.6 million parents raising children alone. With this break up, her baby becomes one of the 26 percent of children under the age of 21 growing up in a single parent household in the United States.
Bristol Palin, still working on a degree from Wasilla High School, is already a part of a startling 3% percent upswing in the number of teen parents in this country. Although teen pregnancies and births decreased every year from 1991 to 2005, the number jumped in 26 states in 2006. The increase, called "fairly remarkable" by experts, occurred among white, black, and Hispanic teens aged 15 - 19.
Some experts blame a culture where sex seems to be everywhere, on TV shows that younger kids are watching, and a culture that reveres pregnant teen celebs like Jamie Lynn Spears and cheeky, way-too-together fictional pregnant teens like "Juno." Others say abstinence-only education and de-emphasizing birth control may play a part.
If either of these opinions are on target, the highly profiled Bristol Palin certainly stands in the center of them. While her mother is an outspoken advocate of abstinence-only education, birth control restriction, and banning abortion, Bristol Palin said openly in a FOX interview that abstinence-only education "isn't realistic at all." If that link is correct, then she would know.Regardless, Bristol Palin is now a single teen mother, facing all of the challenges those statistics predict, and more.
What comes next for Bristol Palin as she moves from the break up that happened weeks or "a while ago" (according to different sources) and into life as a single mother?
How can this girl raising a child get beyond the statistics that say that, as a teen mother, she is more likely to have sole parenting responsibility and be a high school dropout?
What's next for Bristol Palin? - Parenting on Shine