Children of teen mothers face many challenges. Research shows their daughters are 3 times more likely to become teen mothers themselves. Their sons are twice as likely to end up in prison. One Wiregrass teen made sure she didn't become part of the statistics. Meet Taylor Cook, this week's Wiregrass Whiz Kid.
"She would always say, I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I will always find out about it, I was a teenager too,” said Taylor Cook.
Shannon and Taylor Cook may look like your typical mother-daughter duo. Taylor knows her mom’s "been there, done that" warning is no joke. Shannon gave birth to Taylor when she was 15-years-old.
"The biggest challenge for her was probably growing up with me while I was growing up," said Shannon Cook.
Taylor watched her mom, but separated herself from her mother’s habits.
"There were a few times I did see her out of it and drunk and it was not fun,” said Taylor.
"But I was around it a lot so I just learned how to deal with it, just go sit in my room and wait," said Taylor.
Taylor’s biological dad was never in the picture and her mom was growing up herself. Taylor thanks her grandpa.
"A lot of people figured that, oh your teenage daughter is 15 and having a kid, you are probably going to hate the kid, but no he pretty much raised me," said Taylor.
He raised her to become more than what research would expect from the child of a teen mom.
"A lot of people figure that I would end up just like her because I had these problems because it was just us, which that never happened. It doesn't always have to be a bad outcome," said Taylor.
Taylor is now a senior at Seminole County High School with dual enrollment at Bainbridge State College, where she is studying to be a certified nursing assistant. Whether she’s buckling down with her books, fixing up old trucks, or just being a normal 17-year-old, Taylor still lets her mother's life influence her own.
“It was difficult on her but in ways it helped her to see how life isn't always as good as it looks like,” said Shannon.
Her mom’s life influences her to have a brighter future.
"I want to be able to have plans that I am actually able to do and achieve them."