So I promised I would make a post this week about Amber Portwood (MTV Teen’s mom) and the implications of her behavior on her daughter Leah, and her ex boyfriend Gary. I hate jumping on the “Teen Mom” Bandwagon, especially considering the fact that this issue has been discussed all across the media, and other blogs. But I feel that in some ways it’s important to address how “real” these sort of situations are and how it impacts the child, the “spouse” and society as a whole. Leah didn’t ask to be brought into the world, nor is she asking for some of the “problems” that may arise in the future if Amber doesn’t get the help that is needed.
First, I suspect that Amber is not a horrible mom just because that is who she is, but merely because she doesn’t know better. It’s apparent from her relationship with her mom, Gary, and her dad, that Amber grew up in a chaotic environment. Matter of fact, on one episode of Teen Mom Amber admitted that in her household it wasn’t unusual that her parents would fight, argue, and yell in front of her when she was a child. So before we all paint Amber into a villain for her (really bad) behavior, let’s also remember that this is largely due to her own upbringing. Let’s also remember that she is still young. That she is a parent and that as a parent we make mistakes. And let’s also remember that having PPD and depression can turn you into a pretty chaotic creature.
So I don’t blame Amber as much as many do. I feel that she is just as much of victim here as her daughter and her ex. The main reason I’m upset with her behavior is because I know that the ramifications of such behavior when it comes to children. For one, Leah will most likely transform into an Amber herself(in the future) unless she is able to get of that environment and be exposed to different parenting styles. From my experience(and no I’m not a professional!!!!!) children who grow up in misguided environments, sometimes have “friends” in warm happy environments and they model their lives after their friends’ lives rather than their own. This helps them separate themselves from their environment and become better than what they grew up in(Catelynn & Tyler). This could happen to Leah. It could not. But on the basis that it does, we can expect that Leah will find herself being just as abrasive, physical, and abusive as Amber when it comes to her relationships. We can expect that Leah most likely will “seek out” men that inhibit submissive, battered push-over traits just like Gary. More importantly there has been speculation that if Amber is physical with Gary, there is a pretty GOOD chance that she will be physical with Leah(if she hasn’t already). Of course this is all speculation. But if Leah is being abused, and if Amber continues to exhibit her abusive behavior we can expect the following to happen to Leah:
- Borderline personality disorder. A person with this mental health condition may have difficulty controlling his or her anger and impulses, often has problems with unstable or intense relationships, may have a low sense of self-worth, and may feel frantic anxiety about being abandoned.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Low self-esteem, which is a person’s core belief about himself or herself. Children cannot process or understand what has happened to them. They often unconsciously blame themselves and grow up with a poor self-image, which affects their relationships with others.
- Anger, hostility, defiance, antisocial tendencies, or criminal behavior.
- Negativity. A person with a history of abuse or neglect may have trouble adjusting to normal struggles.
- Emotional detachment. A person may have problems bonding, socializing, and developing friendships. This can result in isolation and a failure to learn and develop sympathy, empathy, and other important emotion-based concepts.
- Impulsiveness. The person fails to think and consider consequences before acting. Often, this results in reckless, risky, or antisocial activities, such as driving dangerously.
Obviously this is a “worst case scenario”…. But if you look at some of the symptoms it appears that Amber inhibits a lot of those traits. Is it fair to draw a (very uninformed) conclusion that maybe Amber grew up in this environment and just doesn’t know better? If you remember in the blog I wrote about Maci, the truth is that a person’s environment, upbringing, and support system, heavily impacts the parent’s parenting skills. I have not seen one episode where Amber’s mom has helped out. And her dad is very sick. So with the “lack”: of support, a “clean” background, and the know-how at her age to be a good parent how much should we blame her for what we saw last week?