General Question

casheroo's avatar

Would you ever sign permission for your teen to get married?

Asked by casheroo (18021 points ) March 5th, 2009

For anyone..

if you had a teenager, lets say they were pregnant or got a girl pregnant, or they graduated high school at 17 and were in a serious relationship..
Would you sign permission for them to get married?
What would the reason for it have to be? Or would you need no reason at all?
If they are supporting themselves fully, would it make a difference?

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35 Answers

Skippy's avatar

WOW – NO – I have 2 sons, and there is no way that either of them would get my permission, OR blessing to get married under age. I would hope that I have raised them well enough that they understand that furthering their education is the most important thing. My oldest is a freshman in college, and right now marriage is the furthest thing out there. He has a steady gal, but they have vowed to “wait” for each other.
IF the situation arose that the gf became pregnant, I would guess it would take a lot of conversations discussion their options.
Now my youngest is a freshman in High School. The same thoughts would come to mine. I certainly don’t want to have a pregnant child living in my house, or see my son live at the girls family’s home, just so they could be married. Again, being able to afford to live out on their own would require a full time job, and without at least a high school diploma, there would be no chance for any type of future.

wundayatta's avatar

Not a chance! They may be old enough to procreate, but they aren’t old enough to handle a relationship, especially if there’s college and grad school to get through first. If they had a child, we’d take care of the child while they went through their education. Kids should not be taking care of kids.

As a side note, since the time of peak fertility is early 20s, but the time of peak income is in the 40s, a lot of people wait until they are set up to have a child, and then discover they can’t. My feeling is that children in their 20s should have kids, and that their parents should parent the grandkids until their kids are well enough off and mature enough to parent. I’m sure this is how it used to be in older, tribal societies, and I think it’s still a good thing.

jonsblond's avatar

I would. I was married at the age of 21 and we’re going on 17 years now. Young love can work. It would really depend on the situation though. If I felt that they just weren’t mature enough, I may not.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@daloon – Wow, you just referred to people in their 20s as “children”.

casheroo's avatar

@daloon you think the grandparents should raise the children??? That is absurd. I had my son at 20, and am doing just fine going to school without anyone watching my son. I take online courses, and would never, ever ask someone else to raise my own child. I do believe that family should help out, but not completely raise the child.

What if this is what your children want? They want to start a family young (not just teens, but early 20s) It makes them happy, and they don’t want to go to school, or have decided to go later in life. I think people who put so much emphasis on education, will be sorely disappointed if their children do not.

wundayatta's avatar

@casheroo—So you had an easy time of raising your kids? That’s cool. Most of the stories I hear is that it is very difficult.

@La_chica_gomela: are you trying to tell me that anyone under 30 isn’t a child? Speak up now! ;-)

casheroo's avatar

@jonsblond Yes, but you cannot do anything if your child is 21..ot anything past 18 for that matter. I think getting married in your early 20s used to be more common, and now it’s more taboo.

I got married at 22, which was exactly 7 months ago today! I’m happy with my decision.

KrystaElyse's avatar

No. I don’t have children yet, but I think when I do I would want my child to go out into the world and have the chance to live their lives and see what else is out there. I would want them to be self-sufficient before settling down with someone. From the time I was 17 to now, i’ve changed A LOT and the things I wanted have changed. I know of some people who were lucky enough to have found their high school sweetheart and marry them, but the reality is that half of all marriages now end in divorce.

casheroo's avatar

@daloon I did not say raising a child is not difficult, far from it haha. But, I am raising the child that I created, and I feel it is no one elses responsibility but my own (this is not me bashing daycares, I love daycares and we’re getting on a list for one when I start my nursing program fulltime)
All I am saying is, to pretty much raise your own grandchild is not what being a parent is all about. To me, that’s equal to giving your child up for adoption.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@daloon – I think if someone is old enough to sign their own consent to go risk their life in Iraq or Afganistan, we can all consider them an adult.

nikipedia's avatar

I would consider two things:

1. Does my kid have a history of making mature and thoughtful decisions, or is s/he basically an idiot?

2. Is there a good reason this marriage has to happen now?

If my kid got pregnant, wanted to take responsibility for the baby, and wanted the other involved party to take responsibility by getting married, I’d let them give it a shot. The worst case is….they get divorced. BFD.

jonsblond's avatar

@casheroo I know that there is a difference between 17 and 21. Yet 21 is still very young according to todays standards, as you said.

I had my first child at 21, my second at 23. They are both straight A students in a large high school. It is possible to raise a successful family at a young age. It does help to have a supportive family.

Best of wishes to you casheroo. Being with a partner that you have known from such a young age is a very rewarding experience! :)

casheroo's avatar

Okay, I’ll answer my original question.

I personally wouldn’t allow it. I think the marriage could work out in the long run, but the first year of a child’s life is usually when most couples hit their make it or break it point. Also, for insurance purposes…if my child got married, they’d no longer be on my insurance. They’d then have to get state help, since I assume at 17 they would not be working full time and I’d prefer them to be on my insurance.
I personally held off getting married, just for insurance purposes. Health insurance trumps a marriage certificate, in my opinion.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t think I would, for any reason. There’s no reason they couldn’t wait until they were 18 years old to marry. Pregnancy, IMO, is never a reason to get married – unless you were already engaged before the pregnancy happened.

wundayatta's avatar

@casheroo: I think that it’s a good thing to keep all this in the family. I would do it for my kids. I am concerned that they will wait too long to have children (as I did), and that they may not be able to when they want to. Most people I know don’t want to have children until they are financially well enough off to do so. They have high standards for what it means to be able to afford kids.

I know that it is perfectly possible to do, as you did, and be a good parent at 20 (although I doubt you’re as good a parent as you would be at 40).

Birth rates in the West are dangerously low. In Europe, they have to give mothers full pay and time off for a year to be with their children in order to give an incentive for more people to have children.

I suppose the other option would be to give my kids the money they need to continue their education while parenting. I’m not all that interested in being a parent again. However, I am interested in being a grandparent, and if that’s what it takes, that’s what I’d do.

@La_chica_gomela: You can go get blown up, but you can’t drink legally? Clearly government thinks it takes less maturity to get killed than it does to drink responsibly. I think the age of maturity is somewhere around 30. You think it might be at 18. I wonder what you’ll think when you’re 50.

cak's avatar

@daloon – “well off enough to raise the child” What sets the standard of being well off enough to raise a child?

I think that it’s very important for the teenager to be responsible for the raising of their child. I’m not denying that it would be great to have the grandparent(s) involved, but to take the child and raise it? I’m not so sure I agree with this.

cak's avatar

I’m not sure I would sign for the child to get married – pregnant or not.

Weeks ago, my best friend’s son became a teenage father. It’s a horrible situation – lots of arguments, lots of disagreement on how the “situation” should be handled. One side insisted that they get married and that is what the girl wants; however, the son is confused about getting married. He is not confused about the fact that he is responsible for this child. When he was finally asked what his true opinion was, he admitted that he felt pressured to marry. It’s a mess. No one is happy and families are being pulled apart. That is the reality of this – I know not all teenage pregnancies are a mess, some work – the teens stay together and life goes on.

If my daughter came to me, explained the situation (based on pregnancy) I would advise her to wait. Marriage isn’t necessarily the solution, in fact, it could add further undo stress to the situation.

If she came to me and they were not pregnant, they just wanted to marry…well, they need to wait until they have graduated and hopefully moved on to college. Even then, I would suggest they wait until after college.

I married, for the first time, at a fairly young age. If I knew then, what I know now – my current husband would be my only husband. I would have waited until my 30’s. Clearly, there are exceptions to the rule. Jonsblond is that exception and I think it’s wonderful! I just don’t know that I could sign the paper, for fear that they were rushing into something.

wundayatta's avatar

@cak: Well off enough—each individual or couple decides that for themself(ves).

As to grandparent involvement. I guess I’m not expecting a lot of agreement. I probably shouldn’t have said people “should” do that. I’m really thinking about my own situation. If my kids wait until they are 40 to have children, as I did, I won’t be a grandfather until I’m 80, if I make it to that age, and if my kids can have children when they are 40.

I was thinking about what it would take to get them to have children in their 20s, but not destroy their chances at getting all the schooling they want. Sure, a few people can handle children and school, and work. For many people, work is hard enough. Work and school even harder. Work, school, and children? Seems to me it takes a special person to do that.

cak's avatar

@daloon – I think the “should” threw off the comment. It’s funny, we encourage ours to wait until they are in their 30’s…spend the 20’s in school, traveling and getting settled into life. Then have a family.

Ultimately, the idea of having a grandparent helping, maybe guiding the young parents – great idea. Too bad some spend too much time criticizing the young parents.

Oh, to live in a perfect world!

patg7590's avatar

haha I’m 18 and engaged lol

casheroo's avatar

@daloon Well, as someone in school, working, and raising a child…it is hard. I’m not going to lie about that. Yes, we probably should have waited, but he’s here and nothing we can do to change that.
My parents had my brother and I at young ages, 21 when they had himand 25 with me. We watched my parents work hard to get to where they are, my mother is 47 and is just getting her bachelors. She doesn’t need it for her job, but they’re paying for it, and she always wanted her degree. She started her job at 20k, and makes triple that now (probably more, but who knows) I don’t think we ever knew we were struggling, my parents never let on to that. We knew we’d always have to work though, and I think when you have younger parents, sometimes it helps instill more work ethic. You can’t always get what you want sort of thing.
Also, my parents love that they are young and able to help out with my son. They watch him once a week while I work, and he sleeps over every couple of weeks. They can’t imagine being parents at their age…I can’t either! I already feel old from taking care of a toddler haha.

asmonet's avatar

If they are that mature, they would be mature enough to wait until they can legally do what they feel is right. The end.

I would never give permission. I mean, christ. Their brains aren’t even done developing, they aren’t capable of rational thought on that level. That’s just a fact.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@casheroo I would not sign permission. I married young myself (though not that young). My husband and I have a wonderful marriage that I do not in any way regret. But I still wish we had waited a little longer to do so. We did wait a long time to start our family though. My husband has completed his education and is in the career of his choice. I am blessed to be able to stay at home to raise our son.

@daloon We plan to be done having children by the age of 40. The risks of illness in the child and mother greatly increase after the age of 35. Personally, with my illness, I can not imagine trying to care for an infant in my 40’s. It’s hard enough now while I am young and able to run after a child (or at least I’m told I am).

I do not believe that there is a magic number that dictates when someone should start a family. Yes, it is ideal for the couple to be finished with school and into a career, but sometimes that happens well before the age of 40.

My best friend became a physical therapist at 20 (she’s 25 now) and her husband is a cop. She makes a lot of money; they own two vehicles, a nice home and fully support their two children. For them, there was no reason to wait. This is another one of those “Does maturity come with age or experience” sort of things.

wundayatta's avatar

We would have had kids when we were in our thirties, if we could have. We’re very lucky we were able to have kids at all. I don’t think we’re isolated, though. There is a trend of women who wait until their careers are long established before having children, and a good number of them find they can’t do it, and end up in fertility clinics. In our case, I was the problem, but if we had tried sooner, we would have found out sooner.

Of course, in our case, that wouldn’t have made any difference, since the technology came along when it did, and not sooner. I’m grateful for that technology, too. I recently explained to my son how he came into the world, and he’s kind of fascinated with the idea of coming out of a petri dish. I think it’s cool that he was in the deep freeze for four years. I guess he does, too, since he’s been asking about hybernation, and suspended animation lately. Interesting that you can do it with eight cells, but not with 10 trillion. Not to mention how interesting it is that one cell can grow into 10 trillion

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Nope, and quite frankly, I have enough friends trying to adopt or having adopted, that I would strongly encourage that route. I love my children, and I’m looking forward to being a grandmother some day, but I really believe that every child should be wanted, and cared for by a responsible adult. I admire teens who can and do make it work, but it’s not what I would choose for my daughters.

krose1223's avatar

No I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t recommend anyone getting married for any other reason than wanting to spend the rest of their lives together.

I got pregnant at 17 and I did not end up with my sons natural father. That was the smartest thing I will have ever done for myself AND my son. The man I am with now loves me and Xander more than I ever thought possible.

I don’t think I was anywhere near “seasoned” enough to make that big of a decision. While I am still very young I have been through a lot in the past 3 years that makes me feel ready to make a decision about marriage. If I did not have a kid I would not be ready to get married at all, but being a single mom for a year and a half tends to mature and wisen up a girl.

I know every now and then high school sweet hearts can make it work, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea to rush. So many experiences need to be lived before you settle down with someone. I think ultimately it depends on the person and his or her situation.

Hiiii guys!! I’m back.

asmonet's avatar

@krose1223: I’ve missed you! I’m back too, Fluther!

krose1223's avatar

We will rock together once again my pretty

MacBean's avatar

@La_chica_gomela and @daloon: Because I think the debate over the use of the word “children” to describe people in their 20s is really interesting, I wanna poke my nose in and say that I still call people who are older than me “kid” sometimes.

wundayatta's avatar

@MacBean—pardon me for asking, but how old are you?

asmonet's avatar

@MacBean: You and me both, kid.

MacBean's avatar

25 today.

wundayatta's avatar

as they say in St Petersburg, menye ne kvatayet slov.

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