Helping Your Daughter When She’s a Teen Mom
What do you do when your teenage daughter comes in and tells you she’s pregnant? Strangling her is not an option.
The “real world” is already too harsh for teens and now your baby is going to have a baby. How you respond will be the factor of your success or failure. He has spent time educating her on abstinence and birth control and it all went out the window. You are wondering what you did wrong. You feel like you’ve done everything right, but now your teenage daughter is pregnant. This kind of thing still happens and your daughter is going to need it more now than ever.
At this point, your parenting shifts from prevention to preparation. Your feelings should be compassion and empathy. She is trying to deal with all the emotions she’s going through and doesn’t understand how to deal with them, but as her mother, you can help her examine and talk about them. Believe it or not, many teenagers try to get pregnant, they simply lack the maturity to make responsible decisions. She is not mature enough to raise a child, she has not experienced life enough to understand what affects her decisions and the future actions she takes will affect both her and her baby for the rest of their lives. Not only do teenagers lack the experience and maturity, their brains are not actually fully functional, like their father, you have the opportunity to teach him the skills that he is going to need.
Creating a plan:
You may have extensive childcare experience, which is great because you will have the basic skills necessary to raise this child, but have you had the experience of being extremely sleep deprived? What about all the problems that come up with raising a newborn? Only experience can give you the coping skills you will need. Have honest conversations with her. What is your plan? Most likely, she has no idea. Sit her down and help her come up with a plan, the plan should address where everyone is going to live, are you going to allow the father to move out? They are going to get married? What about childcare? Is homeschooling an option for her? What is the father’s plan? Are you going to give him monetary support, moral support, what is your position in all this?
Just remember, your teenage daughter has no idea what’s coming, he’s even worse off than she is. As a general rule, children take longer to mature, so all the mistakes you make also have a life-changing effect on you and your family.
Don’t put her on a guilt trip. There is nothing you can do at this time except help her make good decisions. She is now pregnant and, other than putting him up for adoption, she has no options. There is such an important event in her life that you don’t push her away, she needs all the support she can get, even if she acts like she doesn’t care or even if she’s happy for the little grandson coming into the world. There are so many things that your teenager is feeling. Teenagers already have the mindset that this word is about them, they simply lack the ability to see into the future, proving once again that their brain is immature and unable to make real adult decisions. Think back to when you were a teenager and you made decisions, right?
Unless you were a teenager, you can’t really put yourself in their shoes, but just thinking about the stupid decisions you made.
Chances are that both you and your daughter are feeling embarrassed now. Most of the time, the adolescent feels embarrassed, especially if she hasn’t told anyone. It’s a scary time for her. Make sure to keep communication open. She really is going to need it. What about your guilt and shame? Of course you are embarrassed that this is happening right under your supervision. You don’t know what you did wrong, this didn’t happen to the “good girls”. In reality, your daughter is the same person she’s always been, but she’s made some bad decisions. Deal with your embarrassment by talking to your supportive spouse or friend. Don’t blame your teenage daughter.
Studies reported in 2010 found the following.
1. Teen mothers are at a higher risk of not finishing their high school education.
2. Less than 2 percent of teen mothers go to college. 3. Babies of teenage mothers are 50 percent more likely to be behind than their peers of the same age.
4. Information on teenage pregnancy can be found on the Internet. Try www.TeenPregnancy.org
5. The CDC suggests that one of the most effective and efficient ways to prevent teenage pregnancy is to educate adolescent girls at school with the school curriculum.
The role of grandparents:
Let your daughter be the mother. Grandparents often intervene because they want to help their daughter but because she doesn’t know what to do. Offer support, which is your job. Teach her how to take care of the baby and let her learn. You have to make your own mistakes as a mother. You are going to see what mistakes he is making or things he is doing differently than you would. This is your baby and he has to learn to make mistakes or he will ask for help. As a grandparent, this should be one of the greatest joys of your life. Let it be. Have faith in her and, most importantly, keep communication open so she doesn’t mind coming to you for advice.