Growing up in a happy, loving family

"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. Although now that she's in her 40's, she loves it.

Also, a hyperawareness really early on of the financial state of your family. When you have teenage parents, you're poor. 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 really lucky in that my parents, despite being too young when they had me, loved each other. They've been happily married for 24 years."

Growing up in a happy, loving family
No real stability

"My mother was 16 and my father was 15 when they had me ( father had just turned 15, 10 days before my birth).

I had keys to the house in first grade, woke myself up and frequently came home to an empty house where I'd just kind of 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-twenties. I was small and didn't eat well, never went hungry though; generally lived a really self-contained life.

I moved a lot. Every different year of school I'd be at a new place, and it didn't stabilize until the 6th grade.

My parents split after having my little sister and little brother, and then SRS came in and took the reigns from my mother.

Nowadays, I'm a fairly independent person who really doesn't need to interact with others. My father died about 6 years ago in a car crash and mother bounces in and out of jail."

No real stability
A mother's sacrifice for her children

"My mom was 16 when she had my older brother and 18 when she had me. She went on to have 2 more kids in her 20's. 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 30's and my wife was in her early 40's when we became parents. It was important to me to make sure we were as prepared as possible before adding kids to the family."

A mother's sacrifice for her children
Gaining independence

"Mom and Dad were both sixteen. 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 doing nothing with his life 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 really 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. 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 ten times before I turned ten.

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 learned 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 VERY 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 thirty, but that relationship will never heal."

Gaining independence
The parents that proved everyone wrong

"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 very 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 pretty 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 brother 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."

The parents that proved everyone wrong
Emphasis on schoolwork more than anything

"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 pretty standard, though I may have spent more time with my grandparents than a lot of kids do. My parents strongly emphasized schoolwork, to the point where I was grounded for several weeks because I got a C+ one marking period in honors geometry. Maybe a tad excessive, but I finished 4th 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. I'm glad I didn't take a different path."

Emphasis on schoolwork more than anything
Be ready for kids!

"I was born to a 15-year-old (pregnant at 14). This did not slow down my disco queen mom. She was in and out for days at a time. My dad made me feel like a burden most of the time. He was not a 'cool' young parent at all. He was an angry person for the situation he was in. Parents never married and separated after a year or two. I lived with lots of 'relatives' in San Jose for many years. My mom married 4 times indicating she is trying to find me a dad, but she is just the kind of person who does not take care of herself. I finally settled in with grandparents late grade school. They gave me stability during the stepdad trials. Parents never completed high school, nor my aunts and uncles from both sides.

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.

Aside from not trusting anyone, I am doing alright. I told my girl (now wife), no kids until jobs, house, car, and insurance were set in place. We have 3 kids now, a 5-bedroom home, solid jobs, and DON'T use babysitters or family for help."

Be ready for kids!

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Didn't miss out on much growing up

"My mom was 19 and my dad was 18. My biological dad left as soon as he found out my mom was pregnant. When she was like 3-4 months along, she met a guy and fell in love. They've been together ever since. He adopted me, raised me, and he's my 'true' dad. Getting my bio dad to give up his parental rights was a hassle, but he eventually caved and that's when the adoption happened. I still had contact with my bio dad and his family throughout my childhood, but nothing substantial. When I was 9, however, my bio dad's brother passed away and it was a wake up call for my dad that he wanted to be more involved.

That was 14 years ago and I have an amazing life. My mom/dad and biological dad/his wife are all good friends who co-parent wonderfully. We all celebrate holidays together and it's great. Over the years my biological dad has apologized for walking away and not being a good dad when I was growing up, but I had a dad and I feel like I didn't really miss out on much.

The only thing I felt was different than my friends parents was that my parents were noticeably younger. My parents were turning 35 when most of my friends parents were turning 50. Im super proud of my parents for raising me so well because I doubt I could have handled a family so well as teenagers.

Also, my biological dad and stepmom had a baby girl a few years back. There is a 19 year age gap between my mom and I, and a 19 year age gap between me and my half-sister. People have often confused my mom and I as sisters, then think my baby sister is my daughter."

Didn't miss out on much growing up
Lacking qualities established by parents

"Mom had me at 18 and I think my dad was a year older. My grandmother was really involved in my life, to the point where she was like my second parent. More like my first parent at some points actually. I went with my dad on weekends and wasn't really close with him, it was always the day that I dreaded. It was kind of my fault though, I've always been scared of him for some reason. He never hit me or did anything that I can think of that would have done it. My theory is that I was always around women, so I felt safe around women.

In my early life, I lived in the upper unit of my great-grandmas house with my mom and eventually my brother who was born when I was 7 or 8. My mom had a pill addiction at some point and would always take me to "the clinic" which is a methadone clinic. I never experienced any of the addiction though, I guess it was mostly when I was really young. Eventually my mom got into a program that would basically pay your rent for you and moved to another town/school district. I stayed at my great-grandmas with my grandma upstairs.

Eventually, my grandma got sick to the point where she was constantly in the hospital and was disabled. In school I was the kid that never did homework and always failed, somehow I moved on to the next grade though. I never really learned discipline and was always told I was special (the good kind) and it still affects me to this day. I really lack a lot of the qualities most people's parents establish on them growing up."

Lacking qualities established by parents
A neglectful mother

"My parents were 18. They fought a lot when I was younger, and my dad had an affair. I had a younger brother and sister, then my parents divorced when I was in third grade.

My dad made good money, and my mom didn't work. She lived off of child support and welfare. My dad was supportive in sports and what not, but I only saw him on the weekends.

My mom was extremely selfish. She spent child support on herself. She always had the newest clothes and would go out to concerts and parties. I wore hand-me-down stuff and got made fun of.

She always had men around, and I ended up with two stepdads. Some of them were okay, but it was generally more fighting.

I had good friends and stayed busy with sports and them. I did fine in school because I was intelligent but didn't have anybody pushing me.

I moved out when I was 16 and got a job. I finished high school with a 2.6 GPA because I did minimal school work. I managed to get a 30 on my ACT and went to college and have a good life now.

I'm now 36 years old, and hated my mom until the day she died. My dad and I are okay but only see each other on holidays."

A neglectful mother
Feeling love and warmth

"My mom was a single mother and had me at 18. We lived with my grandma and my mom's younger brothers and sister when I was too young to attend school (my mom was a night-shift nurse at the time, so she could spend some of the day with me and have my family watch me at night). I ended up doing a lot of things with my family that most kids wouldn't. Tai chi classes with my grandma, or hanging out at her classroom after her classes were over; off roading with my youngest uncle, and video games; karate with my oldest uncle; visiting my aunt in NY and spending the day shopping or going for ice cream (we lived in Jersey, so my mom and I took the train up together a lot).

I honestly think that this made my childhood more interesting. Maybe we couldn't afford new clothes, maybe we ate canned food and ramen for a while, but I was always loved, and warm, and entertained, which is something that some people even with older parents or two parents might not have had."

Feeling love and warmth
They just weren't ready at that time

"My parents were 18 when they had me. I grew up with my mom because my dad was the 'trouble' type of teen. He went to jail before he straightened his act out. I basically lived with my grandparents, but I didn't really have a place and just slept on their couch. I didn't go to school much because no one would take me and I didn't do homework because no one would help me. My mom struggled with drinking and that took control over life. When I turned 10, I ended up moving with my dad, his wife, and my younger brother who was 2. It was for the better and my dad had become a good guy despite his past, but we butt heads a lot and I feel like he wasn't the most mature before.

When he was 35, he had more kids with my step-mom. They are good parents and mature now, and I think that's really an important factor. Some people just aren't ready and I think it's harder for younger parents to be ready."

They just weren't ready at that time
These parents that improved their life

"My mom grew up in a horrible household and at the age of 15, she became pregnant with me. My biological dad, 14, denied anything having to do with me. My dad met my mom in high school freshman year and fell in love. They both dropped out and by 18 and had 3 kids.

It was hard. I knew at a young age, apartment after apartment, constantly moving, we didn't have a ton of money. My parents were so loving though. I never questioned if I was loved or not. They made sure we had the basics and we knew what to do in life. They did get stares though, especially from older people gossiping. My extended family also talked trash about them because my parents were happy. My mom's sisters also had kids as teenagers but they went down a different path. My family, by the time I hit fifth grade, finally got our first house. That same time, my aunt lost custody of her kids and my family of 5 became a family of 7. This put my parents back at square one. They were worried about paying for food and trying to take care of my cousins as their own.

My poor parents. Just trying to live a good life. They were learning along with us and it seemed like life and family tried to keep them down. I'm happy to say, they're in a nice residential area where they can fish all day and my brother just turned 18 and will be the last out of high school. I'm glad to finally see them in a new place. Both are only 38, 39 and they make a ton of money and have energy to go do whatever they want."

These parents that improved their life
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