It is something that every parent worries about. Even if you don’t know for sure whether or not your little angel is having sex - chances are she is! I can remember back to my high school days and even the goody goody two shoes, straight A students were flying underneath the radar and engaging in sex. The biggest difference between a pregnant teenager and one who is not - is quite simply the fact that the pregnant one got caught in an unexpected, sudden and alarming manner whereas the other one has been lucky month after month.
As a parent, how you react and behave can be the biggest difference between your teenage daughter feeling like a failure or let down and her making responsible choices to rectify the situation. The key in any relationship with our children is to maintain some openness to our avenue of communication. When we fail to do this; teenagers will hide the truths and often wind up in dangerous situations resulting in botched abortions or lack of prenatal care. Your teenage daughter is pregnant and she needs you now more than ever.
Every family is different and although most of us try to talk to our kids about premarital sex and pregnancy few of us seem to be getting it right. With teenage pregnancies on the rise more and more of our daughters have to face becoming parents at a young age. The times have changed drastically in the last 40 years since pregnant teenagers were whisked away to birth their children in secret. Today, we must face the situation head on from a reasonable point of view and realize with all of our words, tears and advice that this child to be will become part of our life forever.
The best thing to do when you daughter tells you or you find out somewhat inexplicitly that she is pregnant, is to give her a big hug. For that one single moment treat her like another woman. Save the rampage, the hysterical tears and gloom and doom feelings to be shared with your spouse or friends in private; not with your daughter. Allow her to feel safe in your arms and give her softest place you can find in your heart to just be your child. Yes you are angry, hurt, afraid and disappointed -but she is too, and you as the parent must remain strong, open, relaxed, calm, fearless, and loving. Don’t ask her questions like whom the father is, or how far along she is. If you do things right this will all be revealed in due time. Instead offer compassion and support and remember that more than likely she is already feeling punished enough. A teenage pregnancy is not the end of the world, but if handled without reason can swiftly sever a relationship with your daughter.
No one can even begin to offer advice or suggest solutions like abortion to you or your daughter because that is a personal, private and totally individual avenue for families to explore. Depending on the core beliefs of your family this either will or will not be an option. Regardless, no woman, especially our daughters, should be forced into a decision of abortion and this should clearly be discussed with a third party mediator. Many parents make the knee jerk decision to get their daughter an abortion because they are working from a spot of fear or shame. This is clearly not reason enough. Clear your head and give yourself and your daughter some time to think.
Once the shock of the situation is behind you and your family you will realize that you are not alone. There are a plethora of resources available to pregnant teens and their families. Admitting that your teenage daughter is pregnant is not a death sentence for anyone. It is only natural to worry about your daughter’s future. Many pregnant teenage moms are successful and with the help of supportive families can raise their children quite well. Decide what is important in her future and ensure that her educational needs are able to be met. Empower her with kind words and offer to help as much as you can. Allow her to be responsible for her choices and to grow into herself so that she too can be a good mom. Resist blame at all costs and give her a loving example of motherhood that she can carry on to her own children.
When others judge, and they will - react from a place inside that doesn’t feel overwhelmed by what others think. Keep in mind that the same mother who begins to disallow her daughter from remaining friends with your daughter - just doesn’t understand. Chances are her daughter is having sex too. Until the situation comes up there is no real way to prepare or herald in solutions. Also understand that there is a chance you had some negligible behavior that probably influenced your daughters pregnancy. Talking to our kids about sex, arming them with birth control and making sure that they feel comfortable sharing things with us is a paramount responsibility for parents.
Whether you want to know if your daughter and her boyfriend are having sex or not - you need to know. Yelling, screaming, punishing, jumping up and down and restricting her will not stop her from doing it, so your best and only defense is to open up the subject. You can ensure that she maintains her youth and keeps her windows of opportunity open by preparing her for safe sex. It is probably best in this category to err on the side of caution and talk to your children about sex as much as possible. I feel pretty strongly that at some point it may be wise to admit that you did it too in order to build p comradely between you and your daughter.
“My teenage daughter is pregnant” are not words that any parent wants to say or admit. Someday though you may have to and if the time comes remember that what you are discussing is actually about a little life. It isn’t about what someone did wrong anymore, it is about how to make a life better. The little life may change your world as drastically as those words did but chances are your life will end up being increased. It is not how we react when times are good that measures our character, rather how we react when times are troublesome that is our true test of strength. If your teenage daughter is, was or might be pregnant draw on your strengths and handle the situation accordingly. Unfortunately we only have one chance to do the right thing.