Rosie O’Donnell sees ‘Teen Mom’ as a cautionary tale, watches with teen daughter

Kim Kardashian blames MTV ‘s Teen Mom show for some anectodal evidence that teen pregnancy is on the rise, when it has in fact decreased. There’s another minor celebrity who finds the show worthwhile and even watches it with her teenage daughter. Rosie O’Donnell told US Magazine that she likes the show and thinks it helps educate her 13 year-old about the pitfalls of young motherhood.

“I have to say it’s interesting,” O’Donnell, 48, told Us Sunday at Self Magazine’s Tribute to Women Who Make Women Look Good on Film. “My daughter is 13. I watch it with her,” the star said of Chelsea, whom she adopted with ex partner Kelly Carpenter. “I think the fantasy for adopted children is to have a baby of their own, and then keeping it, which their mother did not do,” she mused.

Added the comic: “The rate of teenage pregnancy is up [sic], so when my daughter saw that [Teen Mom 2] was on the air, I said ‘Let’s watch it.’”

Her review? “At the end of almost every episode the mothers say they wish they used protection or waited, ‘My whole life is over,’ or ‘I can’t live the life of a teenager.’ I think it sends out a positive message.”

Her opinion wasn’t shared by Kardashian, who ripped on the MTV hit in her blog last week. “It seems that shows like Teen Mom are all of a sudden making teen pregnancy seem cool in the eyes of young girls,” the reality star, 30, wrote “But girls, these are not people you should idolize!”

O’Donnell had one note of concern about the show, however. “I do feel sad that all these girls are getting pregnant in an effort to get on a TV show,” she told Us. “That’s a little tragic.”

[From US Weekly]

Teen pregnancy was on the decline 6% from 2008 to 2009, according to the CDC. A study last year found that the birth rate among 15 to 19 year-olds increased 3% from 2005-2006. It looks like there’s a kind of rise and fall in teen pregnancy rates that may be connected with the economy. There was that story that Kim Kardashian got up in arms about involving 90 pregnant teen moms at one school in Memphis. It turned out that a lot of the pregnant teens transfered there for special services they offered. So these shows and stories are sort-of framing the debate and making it sound like teen pregnancy is on the rise when it has in fact since lowered.

I also wonder if these stories about teens getting pregnant just to get on Teen Mom are accurate or if they’re trumped up. Surely there are a few teens who may be encouraged to do it, but I doubt it’s a trend.

The US has the highest teen pregnancy rate among industrialized nations. You might say that Teen Mom is reflecting reality rather than shaping it.

These photos are from Rosie’s Blog. Her kids are adorable, and she has a blended family of 10 kids (!) with partner Tracy.




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34 Responses to “Rosie O’Donnell sees ‘Teen Mom’ as a cautionary tale, watches with teen daughter”

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  1. Dorothy#1 says:

    I love Rosie and I would probably do the same if my kids were older!

  2. gee says:

    Rosie can be controversial as hell, but it’s obvious she loves her kids.

  3. guesty says:

    It is truly enigmatic that Kim K views herself as a role model for young girls in the traditional sense. She’s not in a position to pass judgement on anyone at all ever.

  4. samihami says:

    “Rosie’s daughter (below) may be adopted, but you can’t tell. She looks so much like her!”

    That is a horrible thing to say about a child. And thankfully I don’t see it-she doesn’t look like that troll at all to me.

  5. Nanea says:

    I think it’s no wonder there are so many teen pregnancies in the US.

    Sexuality is treated like it’s bad, not something that is part of human nature. People don’t talk about it. Must be the puritanical roots that Tom Ford cited in the other entry.

  6. Praise St. Angie! says:

    “Rosie can be controversial as hell, but it’s obvious she loves her kids.”

    agree. the ONLY time I’ve seen pics of her kids (other than these) is when she’s posted pics of them on the gay friendly family cruises she’s promoted.

    you NEVER hear about her kids trying to have a career in the biz (like Willow Smith) or stumbling out of bars or nightclubs.

    Whatever her public persona, she’s clearly been a good parent.

    EDIT: Nanea, you make a good point. There are so many parents who fight sex ed in school because they say “I should be the one to teach them about sex, not some teacher!” but then they DON’T teach their kids about it because they think “MY kid won’t do it, and they shouldn’t be doing it anyway!” Totally unrealistic.

  7. Celebitchy says:

    Ok Sami if that is rude I’ll delete it. I didn’t think of it that way but I see your point and am sorry for being insensitive.

    edit – lol! You didn’t mean it was insensitive to say since she was adopted, but since Rosie is unattractive. *head desk* haha!

  8. latam2012 says:

    im sure its many peoples fantasy to “have a baby of their own and keep it” adopted or not.

  9. mln76 says:

    I hate to get political but the main reason why teenage pregnancy went up during the Bush years was the whole abstainance only thing. Kids need to learn about birth control. Bravo to Rosie for talking to her kid about sex. I know alot of parents freak out to much to do it on their own. I think Rosie’s kid looks like her because they have the similar facial expressions. It’s also why married couples start looking alike as they age together.

  10. maria says:

    Rosie looks good – relaxed. I hope she is happy. She is controversial – and yes, she is not known for her looks – but I have always liked her. Those are very lucky kids!

  11. Salina says:

    Mln that’s stupid. il blame a lot on bush but not teen pregnancy. I blame the parents and the teen bc at 16 you know sex makes babies and parents need to know what their kids are up to and who they are with.

  12. mary jane says:

    The NY Times had an article over the weekend suggesting that teen pregnancies are down because of these shows.

    I watch with my girls too. I don’t have to open my mouth. My kids are horrified.

    Nice photos. They DO look loved.

  13. mln76 says:

    @Salina I don’t see how it’s ‘stupid’ to talk about a policy Pres Bush and other Republicans were proud of. Bush pushed programs that didn’t teach about birth control limited access to condoms and abortions and emphasized Faith-Based abtainance only programs the direct result was a sharp rise in teenage pregnancies for the first time in decades.

  14. Tess says:

    I take a Field of Dreams position on this—-another words: If you build it, they will come.

    It turns teen mothers into celebrities of sorts. Ultimately normalizes and desensitizes kids to teen motherhood.

  15. tapioca says:

    Teens DO know about birth control, they just don’t want to use it, or they’re drunk, or they’re too immature to insist their boyfriend’s glove up when they complain about it, or they don’t use it every time, or they want a baby because their daddies never loved them or they never had one in the first place. Seriously, did anyone here not know how babies were made by their teens?!!

  16. Whatever says:

    I agree with her to a point, but not Teen Mom. I watch Secret Life of the American Teenager with my kids and use it as an opportunity to casually talk to them about these issues. However, I’d never let them watch teen mom for the same reason they won’t ever watch Jersey Shore. There is no need to show them that kind of trash! Even if they do get knocked up, there will be no resemblance to the dysfunctional losers on that show!

  17. mln76 says:

    @Tapioca you just outlined all the reasons it needs to be easier for teens to get access to birth control and not more difficult.

  18. tapioca says:


    I don’t know where you live, but in the UK we have compulsory Sex Ed classes from the age of 11-12, condoms are free from sexual health clinics, GPs & school counsellors, the Pill/IUD/Implant/Injection can be prescribed (again for FREE) without parental consent and still kids don’t use them and we have the highest teen pregnancy rate in western Europe. Teenagers here aren’t under-equipped when it comes to preventing pregnancy and protecting themselves from STIs, they’re just too immature, drunk or genuinely stupid!!

  19. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    I’m really not sure where they teach “abstinence only” sex education. I’m from a Republican family, I lived in a hard core Republican state (that is part of the bible belt)…and guess what? WE HAD NORMAL SEX ED!! We had sex ed in the 4th grade (after a girl got her period), We had sex ed both 7th and 8th grade years (where we had to take care of one of those robotic babies AND watch “the miracle of life”…yuck) and then it was REQUIRED for us to take it in high school in order to graduate.

    Yes, there were girls that still got pregnant…but damn- we had all the resources and knowledge available to us.

    I get frustrated when people blame republicans for everything. Most of us aren’t ignorant and puritanical…we’re actually pretty normal. And we have normal sex ed classes.

    (The Catholic and Lutheran schools ALSO had normal sex ed as well…I’ve NEVER been in a situation where there is absintence only)

  20. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    OH PS-

    Kids (age 16) can go to the doctor and get contraceptives in the USA WITHOUT parental consent. There are also places that do offer birth control for free (or very low cost) so the teens can have access to them.

    It’s just making the damn teens get up and get it that’s hard.

  21. Franny says:

    I actually mentioned the new administration as a reason for the drop in pregnancy in the original post on kim vs amber. I know that some of you had sex ed in your conservative state but the truth its that the bush administration pushed abstinence only ed. there are many research papers written on the ineffectiveness of this sort of program and since obama has become president, teenage pregnancy rates have gone down. Think about what affects our population more: one tv show or the government s policies on education

  22. liz says:

    @17- It’s not the taxpayer’s responsibility to shove a bunch of condoms in a kid’s face. If they’re going to have sex, they should go out and get them, and if they can’t find/afford/get them then get their partner to, or their parents. You can’t even get a tampon from the nurse’s office at my high school but yet I made it through my teens with no kids because I took initiative. Teens will always think they’re invincible and that’s a whole other issue. Just stop blaming teens not taking responsibility on everyone else but themselves. They are old enough to drive, or walk to a store/gas station and buy some.

  23. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    I really just want to know how many people have actually had abstinence only sex education. I think THAT would be really interesting…like how many people were in those programs and birth rates among that specific population. (I don’t mean what the national teen birth rate is…just for this specific population).

    I mean, the abstinence we were taught was like this:
    Teacher: “Hey kids, if you REALLY don’t want a baby and you REALLY don’t want an STD…just don’t have sex. But seriously, if you are going to do it, here is how you can best protect yourself…”
    And then we learned all about anatomy and BC (female contraceptives including the pill, condoms, etc and male contraceptives….and ALL the percentage rates for success…plus the RIGHT way to use them).

    I just really want to know who actually was NOT taught about this stuff in their sex ed/health class.

    @Franny….did Bush take away funding from schools that did not do abstinence only (or did he just add more funding to people who only did abstinence only)? Because that would explain why our robotic babies would have their heads fall off all the time…haha. Good times in health class.

  24. Bodhi says:

    I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade in South Carolina & I can promise you that our sex ed class (we had ONE. In 12th grade, when it was already too late for most of us) focused entirely on STDs & the horrible things that would happen if you had sex before marriage. Luckily the vast majority of us were smart enough to figure out what was what, no thanks to the school

  25. the original bellaluna says:

    @ Grad Student – They actually implemented this “Abstinence Only” policy in a city once over from mine, Vista, CA. Google it. It was a massive fuster-cluck.

    Some parents don’t want anyone else to teach their children sex-ed, but they don’t want to do it either. It is ignorant to say “every 16 year old knows that pregnancy can result from sex.” No, unfortunately, not every 16 year old knows that.

    FYI – We had sex-ed from 4th through 10 grades in my U. S. school system.

  26. Whatever says:

    I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade in South Carolina & I can promise you that our sex ed class (we had ONE. In 12th grade, when it was already too late for most of us) focused entirely on STDs & the horrible things that would happen if you had sex before marriage. Luckily the vast majority of us were smart enough to figure out what was what, no thanks to the school

    This is the exact opposite of my experience in Catholic school, but in a northern blue state. I guess each is different and we can’t make blanket statements based on the religion of the school.

    Of course, by then my MOTHER had taught me about birth control. You know, since was HER job to do so. What is wrong with parents? Talk to your kids and if you are uncomfortable, get over it!

  27. Jeri says:

    With Kim around, plastic surgeries will never go on the decline.

    She should talk about that and her sex film if she’s so anxious to make public statements on others behavior.

    Look in the mirror Kim, (no, wait, that’s too scary).

  28. icantbelievethis says:

    I have not met 1 teen that got pregnant and said “I never knew there was such a thing as birth control”.

    I wasn’t taught in school about BC but I know where to get it and what would happen if I didn’t use it.

  29. Beth says:

    Seems like pretty good parenting if you ask me. And I’m NOT a Rosie fan. I agree with her politics, but she’s so abrasive.

  30. Emily says:

    When I had sex ed, we were told that abstinence was the only 100% guaranteed way to not get pregnant or an STD. The teacher then went on to explain all the different types of contraception. I think two sentences out of a term-long course is long enough to focus on abstinence.

  31. Matt says:

    I grew up in the UK where it seems the state school system is a little different to the US. We have regular sex education from the age of 11 through to 16, which involves a range of different things, such as pregnancy, abortion, different types of contraception available, we even had to practice putting condoms on carrots (weird I know).

    BUT as someone else mentioned, the UK has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe. I think this is due to socio-economic reasons and children’s low self esteem and self worth issues, rather than not being aware that sex produces a baby.

    ‘Abstinence only’ education sounds completely bizarre, and I have never heard of that happing in a western country outside the US past the 1970′s. So- the less informed you are, the less likely you are to be pregnant? There is no logic there.

  32. Isa says:

    I live in the South. We were explained how babies are made. We were taught about diseases. We were taught about periods and hygiene.
    We had the option to take a parenting class. I took it. Not much more information there either. We watched women giving birth. My teacher told horror stories and we had to take care of a plastic baby. I missed my baby when it was gone.
    One time my science teacher told the class that we could go to the health clinic for bc without our parents. That’s all that was said.

    Everything I learned was from pamphlets, Cosmo magazine and the Internet. If people aren’t talking to their kids there is no limit to the stupid ideas they will believe. Just google, “Can you get pregnant if….” and you will see some stuff that will make you shake your heard.

    Also, where I’m from I could not get the IUD until I was married. Even though I had only one partner for several years.

    I’ve started watching 16 and pregnant and they often ask about birth control. Many of the girls didn’t use it 100% of the time or sometimes at all. I think even Caitlyn had unprotected sex after giving her daughter up for adoption.

    I still think it’s good to teach people about birth control and how to take control of their fertility.

    22.) Who do you think are going to end up paying for these babies? Most likely tax payers. There are kids out there that think they don’t need them because if they pee after sex they can’t get pregnant. Or something crazy like that. Maybe they’re embarrassed to buy them. Or live in a small town like I do, where the clerk behind the counter knows your mom and you don’t want her to know.

    I think providing teens with many different ways of obtaining contraceptives is better than nothing!

  33. Hakura says:

    “But girls, these are not people you should idolize!”

    Who is Kim Kardashian to be telling someone who they should idolize? Ah, the irony.

  34. elaine says:

    where’s that new girlfriend of Ro’s- she is MIA