What to do when you find out that your teenage daughter is pregnant

Teenage pregnancy Picture: Stock

Do you get upset, or try and be supportive?

It is easy for a parent to explode when they find out the child they have been talking to about safe sex and protecting themselves is pregnant. It is disappointing to learn your teenage daughter is expecting a child but as a parent you have to consider that teens go through so much and you need to be the pillar of support, even though you are disappointed. Support does not mean disregarding the way you feel about the entire situation.

Inability to cope

There is already so much going on in the world that may stress your teen, when teenage pregnancy is added, they may struggle to cope. Just like you feel your world is crumbling, they feel guilty that they disappointed you and that having a child at such a young age will be a set back,  after all they have achieved.

What to do when they first tell you

Chances are you might have suspected your child is pregnant but ignored the signs until they told you. You will feel all sorts of emotions and can easily judge your teen but remember your teen is about to get judged by everyone they know, as well as themselves. It will not help to have you judge them too. What they need is support.

Consider that your teen was probably afraid to tell you but they took a leap of faith and confided in you regarding this difficult time. If you can’t contain your emotions, work through them than burdening your child, who is already dealing with a lot.

Emotional support is crucial

Society forgets that boys contribute to the pregnancy as well but often blames the girl and makes her feel like she is the only one who is liable for this mess. Your teen will face criticism and a lot of self-doubt which can be combated with emotional support from friends and family.

Also Read: SA teens are searching ‘how to get rid of pregnancy without parents knowing’ on Google

Financial support

Your child relies on you and now with a baby on the way, you have to face the reality that it now becomes your responsibility, hard as it is. If the family of the boy acknowledges the baby, you need to discuss how you handle the finances around the baby.

Medical support

You will need to monitor your daughter as it easy for them to fall into depression. Once they sink into this level of sadness, it may interfere with their health. Proper medical care and nutritional support are very important to maintain the teen’s and baby’s health.

Also Read: Teenage pregnancy increases by 40% in Kenya during lockdown

Dropping out of school?

It is important for your teen to finish school. This will ensure that they have the opportunity to provide a better, and more stable income in the future.You play an important role in encouraging your teen to complete their schooling. You will also have a role to play in providing the financial support the teen needs to stay in school.

Stepping in to help

It is very important that a teen still develops socially and has the time to relax and recharge. A happy parent is a good parent and one who has the energy to provide for their child’s needs. However, it must be made clear that if the teen chooses to keep the child, it remains their responsibility. Your assistance as the parent of the teen must come with boundaries to prevent frustration and resentment. If you offer to help look after the child, you need to agree on a set amount of time that you are willing to do this.

If you are providing financial support, what are you willing to pay for and what won’t you pay for? If your teen is in school, responsibilities may change depending on the time of year. During exam time you may want to help out more to give your teen more time to focus on their studies. During holiday time, you may want to take a step back as your teen has more free time to look after and bond with their child.

Dealing with the consequences

If you discuss adoption, abortion or foster parents to you child and your teen decides to keep the child, know that whatever decision is made it will not be an easy one. Any decision will take an emotional toll on your teen as well as the rest of the family.Make the decision together, but include a social worker or therapist if possible.

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