I’m totally obsessed with MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. Although I haven’t been 16 in more than a decade, the show appeals to me because it reminds me a lot of high school and makes me reflect on some of the choices my friends and I made. But watching it now that I’m older and more mature means that I find myself yelling at the girls on screen as if they’re characters in a horror movie who need to get the hell away from the killer outside their window. (To be fair, some of them are.) I dated plenty of idiots when I was a teenager, and I am really glad I didn’t have a kid with any of them. Here are a few things that the girls from the show could stand to learn.

1

Promises don’t mean anything if actions don’t back them up.

The guys on 16 and Pregnant often promise their girlfriends that they’ll change and morph into responsible adults the second the baby is born. 99.9 percent of the time, that doesn’t happen. Guys can say all the words they want, but if they aren’t backing up those words then they’re empty.

2

If he didn’t love you before you had his child, he probably won’t love you after you have his child.

A lot of the girls on the show think that having a baby will make everything perfect: he’ll become responsible, he’ll tell you he loves you and maybe even propose, he’ll stop cheating, he’ll stay home with you every single night instead of going out with his friends, etc. Unfortunately, babies aren’t magic. Most of the young couples split up after the baby is born when their priorities change and the girl realizes that her boyfriend hasn’t become more mature. Breakups are bad enough, but when you add a baby to the mix it’s even worse. Once you have a kid with someone, they’re in your life forever and you can’t just pretend they never existed.

3

Claiming that you’re looking for work is not the same thing as actually looking for work.

In an almost every episode, the young couple freaks out when they realize how expensive baby clothes and supplies are. In almost every single episode, the boyfriend is also unemployed. Take last night’s episode, for example: eight months pregnant Alex was working two jobs and walking almost an hour each way to get to work, while teen dad Matthew sat around getting high and claiming he was looking for work. Yes, the economy is bad, but a guy who can’t even put a resume together and has zero work ethic is not someone you want to waste your time with.

4

Dating a drug addict or abuser is bad news.

This should seem obvious, but if a dude shows up to the birth of his own child while hungover/drunk/high/some combination thereof, that is what Liz Lemon would call a dealbreaker.

5

If every person in your life hates your boyfriend, they’re probably right.

Not every person in your life will love your significant other as much as you do, and that’s okay. But when it’s not just one or two people in your life who think your boyfriend sucks, it might be a pattern. If all your friends and family (plus your soccer coach, next door neighbor, and random strangers) hate your partner and think he treats you like shit, listen to them.

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