It was a 'real-life' doll she had to look after as part of a class at school (I forget the actual name of it, but let's just call it "Health Class"). The teenager and her best friend had joint custody of the baby and it was their responsibility to feed, bathe, and change its nappy - all after they electronically swiped in to indicate to the teacher that 'the mother' is looking after the child. When the 'real doll' began crying, she rushed to pick it up, hurriedly changed it (there are different color-coded diapers to use) and gave it a bottle. And then her dad told us that the other day, the 'real-doll' was crying and crying and his daughter couldn't work out what was wrong. Her dad simply said, 'maybe she just needs to be picked up and held.'
We asked if it was a mandatory class - it isn't - and the five adults in the room all surmised that perhaps it should be. As my friend said, you have to have a test to get a drivers licence, yet nothing is asked of you to show that you can look after a child.
America has almost got it right; I didn't have 'baby classes' when I was a teenager, but times have changed and with TV programs on MTV like 'Teen Mom' making it 'cool' to have a baby (if only to gain stardom), these type of classes are really needed. They should make them compulsory - both boys and girls need to understand what it is to have a baby and look after it.
As I watched her change the diaper I wondered where the 'care' came in? I appreciate that it's a doll; how much affection can you show? But isn't creating a loving and safe environment just as important as feeding a child? To me she excelled at doing the basics, but there was an air of 'I'll do this quickly, get it over and done with.' The mere fact that her dad said, she just needs to be held is telling - what exactly are these classes about if it doesn't teach how to care or show affection for a child and most importantly to show love?