There are probably not many parents that would want their teenage relationships and mistakes to be filmed and then watched by their children once they were at same age, but for Teen Mom star Maci Bookout, she believe that it’s a super effective way to prevent her kiddo from repeating history.
The mother of three, now 31, was just 16 years old when she first appeared on MTV. Sixteen and Pregnant showcased the lives of real girls who were navigating the life of teenage pregnancy, and millions of people watched Maci and others navigate life through extremely tough circumstances.
Instead of looking back at those moments and cringing, Bookout is seeing those early episodes of Sixteen and Pregnant and Teen Mom as real-life examples her son can learn from. She hopes they can show her now 13-year-old son, Bentley, what can happen when you don’t practice safe sex.
“I feel like the authenticity of our show in the early days, it’s kind of unmatched,” she told Page Six.
She continued, “And I feel like it’s a great, real, raw, human example of, ‘Hey, this is life and this why every decision you make matters.’”
Bookout’s journey on Sixteen and Pregnant and then Teen Mom, has been raw, emotional, and at times, heartbreaking. From a failed engagement with Bentley’s father, her ex Ryan Edwards, to his eventual battle with addiction.
All of that vulnerability in front of such a large audience paid off for Bookout in a big way, including science-backed evidence that the popular MTV show helped teenage pregnancy rates decline. Research conducted in 2014 and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicated that the franchise helped see a decline in minors getting pregnant.
Now that her son, the reason she was cast on the show, is reaching that same age she was when she got pregnant, sex education, proper use of contraception, and an overall open and honest communication line with her son has become more important than ever.
“Obviously, I was a teen mom. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized more and more I was a kid having a kid and was a kid raising a kid,” she reflects. “I think with Bentley getting so close to 16, it really just puts that into a whole kind of different perspective of, ‘Yeah, you were a baby having a baby,’” she reflected.
Bookout also has a daughter Jayde, 7, and son Maverick, 6, with husband Taylor McKinney. He added that while Bentley is a great kid with a mature nature, he is still just that — a kid.
“He’s a great kid … Bentley’s mature and he’s very wise beyond his years and still, I’m like, ‘There’s no way [he can be a parent now],” he added.
Bookout’s new MTV show — Teen Mom: The Next Chapter — airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.