• Tue, Nov 20 2012

Parenting Lessons From Teen Mom 2: These Girls Are Caught Up In Destructive Cycles

The problem with a show like Teen Mom 2 is that the girls are surrounded by unhealthy support systems, whether it’s cheating baby daddies, unsympathetic parents, or enabling friends. But because these “characters” are what make the show so compelling, MTV isn’t gonna get rid of them anytime soon. That’s why we get episodes like this, where all of the girls are caught up in destructive cycles. Chelsea Houska gleefully accepts a promise ring from Adam Lind and quits her job; Jenelle Evans fails her drug test; Leah Messer blames Corey Simms for them getting a divorce; and Kailyn Lowry gets Jordan Wenner to take her back.

Even though 3×02 is called “Keeping Hope Alive,” I’m worried that each of these girls has set into motion her own undoing by season’s end.

Teen Mom 2 3x02 "Keeping Hope Alive" Chelsea Houska promise ring Adam quit job Randy

CHELSEA

DON’T: Rush into things

Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea. She’s barely back with baby daddy Adam, but when he gives her a promise ring for her birthday, she gleefully accepts.

DON’T: Be in denial

Chelsea’s mom tells her she needs to be clear that this isn’t an engagement ring, it’s just a gesture of their relationship. Chelsea says of course, but then there’s a weird moment later where her friend asks what it symbolizes and she says, “It’s an engagement ring. Kidding!” Someone sounds confused.

DO: Have your own life

The other major development around Chelsea’s birthday is that she quits her job because of fighting with her managers. She literally says, “Getting into fights with them hurts my feelings.” Predictably, neither of her parents approve, because she didn’t give two weeks’ notice and because now it’ll be that much more difficult to find a new job. Randy is especially disapproving of the ring, especially when Chelsea says something to the effect of, “I have this ring, I’ll be OK.” She still needs a way to make a living and not mooch off Adam.

Teen Mom 2 3x02 "Keeping Hope Alive" Leah Messer Corey Simms divorce talking to girls

LEAH

DO: Keep communication open

Good for Leah, she’s keeping in touch with Corey about their settlement instead of ignoring their divorce.

DON’T: Harp on the impossible

That said, whenever they’re in-person, Leah continues to guilt Corey about allegedly “leaving” her and Ali and Aleeah, even though she was the one who cheated. He rationally tells her that he used to be willing to chase her, but “chasing you is so tough now.”

DO: Compromise

Leah and Corey come up with a good plan where he gets the girls three weekends out of the month, then on the fourth weekend she takes them for that whole week. He says that he didn’t want to be greedy or difficult, but Leah acknowledges that the girls need to see their dad and she doesn’t want to be petty.

Teen Mom 2 3x02 "Keeping Hope Alive" Kailyn Lowry Isaac Jordan get back together

KAILYN

DON’T: Burn bridges

Kailyn realizes that after some of her irresponsible behavior and misunderstandings last season, she doesn’t have her mom to rely on, and she’s alienated both Jo and Jordan. Out of these four, Kailyn is the one who most has her act together, so it’s difficult to see her so upset and feeling like she doesn’t have a support system in place.

DO: Forgive

Even though last week Kailyn acknowledged that she shouldn’t be with Jordan just for Isaac‘s sake, she does seem to genuinely miss him. He admits that it’s been weird for him not to be in either of their lives, so when she suggests they meet up he’s all for it. In fact, he’s also willing to try again even though she cheated on him with Jo last weekend. What a stand-up guy.

DON’T: Try and replace one guy with another

The one thing that has me uncertain is that last week Kailyn was all about getting Jo back in her life. But now that he’s dating the girl from his music video — or rather, as Kailyn disdainfully clarifies, “they’re just sleeping together” — she’s lonely. So, I do worry about her intentions for getting Jordan back.

Teen Mom 2 3x02 "Keeping Hope Alive" Jenelle Evans violate probation smoke weed jail Jace Barbara

JENELLE

DON’T: Be stupid

So last week Jenelle smoked some weed with her friend after fighting with mom Barbara about Jace. With a drug test looming, Jenelle tries to take some liquid that will clean out her system, but it doesn’t work and she gets slapped with a probation violation.

DO: Consider your destructive cycles

What bothers me about Jenelle is her lack of self-awareness. Maybe it’s all drug-induced, which would be scary to contemplate. But she sits in the car crying to Barbara about how, “if I had drugs then I wouldn’t be depressed and sad.” She claims that being depressed and frustrated with fighting with her mom is what makes her turn to weed, but it’s clear that her reliance is much more deep-seated.

DO: Put your kid first

Jenelle is unwilling to extend her probation because, as she says, “I’m not ready to be without weed.” So, is she going to jail? That’s what we’ll find out next week. It’s disturbing that she would rather be out of Jace’s life entirely for a period of time, instead of trying to go to rehab or deal with her problems while still taking care of him. Then again, considering that she’s not very functional, this could be the best thing for him.

Photos: MTV

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