'16 and Pregnant': Nicole
In this week's episode, we're introduced to 16-year-old Nicole from Florida. As has become a norm on the show, unprotected sex with her boyfriend Tyler, who barely turns 16 during filming, led to the pregnancy. That's right. No condoms. No birth control. But slightly more alarming than the sex free-for-all the two were having is one not-so-subtle detail about the teen father: Tyler dropped out of school when he was 13 and hadn't been back since.
In an otherwise humdrum episode, the struggle Tyler faced to get his life back on track was just as captivating as the couple's attempt to ready themselves for a baby in the midst of mixed responses from their families. Realizing the responsibility he was about to face, Tyler enrolled in a program to get his GED. Sure, he waited to sign up a few days before his daughter, Brooklyn, was born ... but it's still a step, right? He even notified his instructor when he was absent. And he tied his long, flowing hair back in a ponytail for a janitorial job at a nursing home. It's not quite like one of the careers he had hoped for -- a chef, mixed martial arts fighter or professional skateboader -- but it pays the bills.
It was a welcomed sight given Tyler's hectic childhood. Tyler, who was also the product of a teenage mother, went to live with his grandmother when he was 11 because of his problematic relationship with his mom. And because of the extra time he had on his hands, he developed a close relationship with Nicole's mom. Despite his unstable life, he managed to be a nurturing father figure to his two younger sisters -- a small indication that he might be ready for the daunting task ahead. Heck, he even quit smoking.
All seemed to be going well. But once the baby was born, the teenager in Nicole and Tyler came out to play. They played musical chairs when it came to baby Brooklyn. They shuttled her between Tyler's grandma's house, Tyler's mom's house and Nicole's mom's house. They often left her in the care of someone else while they went out. They eventually realized they had to learn to involve their daughter in their lives rather than let her be an afterthought.
So Show Trackers, what did you think of the episode? How would you rate Tyler compared to other teen fathers featured in the series?
— Yvonne Villarreal
Photo: Tyler (holding Brooklyn) and Nicole. Credit: MTV