Article by Jenna Brooklyn
Nothing prepares parents for the time when they learn their teenage daughter is pregnant. However, how parents react to this situation will probably determine a lot about how their daughters will react to it as well. The fact is that sometimes, even if you did your best to be a good parent to them, children will make bad decisions on their own. You can’t always be there making the decisions for them. Responding to the results of their bad decisions is as very important lesson that will shape them in a big way.
Some parents take a harsh approach, dictate the next step to their child and ship them off to juvenile boot camps. The truth is that there are things that boot camps cannot teach your child, such as taking responsibility for their mistake. You can probably start by talking to your child about the available options for them and letting them make an informed and responsible choice.
Abortion – Some people think this is a “quick fix” to their problems and indeed, this often comes up as a first choice for teenage pregnancy. However, abortion has some physical and emotional repercussions that your child may not be ready to face. At the moment, your child is living in the present and probably doesn’t understand the things that could happen in the future. Talk to your child about this and help them understand it. If possible, take your child to a counselor so that they can talk about what this decision will mean for them.
Adoption – Explain this option to your child and prepare them for the possible physical and emotional repercussions as well. Some parents set their minds on giving up their baby for adoption, only to learn that the emotional pain of severing an emotional attachment is too great to bear. Different states have different laws on adoption as well, and it would be best to talk to your child frankly about this, or have your child talk to a counselor.
Keeping the baby – This takes a lot of commitment and involvement, and it’s important your child understand that. Talk about the status of the father of the child and what role he plans to take in terms of child rearing and support. It helps to tell your child that she doesn’t have to get married just because she made a mistake (it shouldn’t go without saying). Talk about finances, what changes will have to be made in order to provide for the baby.
If your child has been acting out and made a willful choice to get pregnant or chose a lifestyle that leads to it and to many other unwanted behavior, it may also be beneficial to look into troubled teens programs. Many teens who are going through a downward spiral can be helped by early intervention of the right kind. There are therapeutic boarding schools which are like private boarding schools but also provide therapy and counseling, there are wilderness programs, troubled teens camps, and others.
What’s important is that you help your child not repeat the mistake and to make a change in their life that will take them out of a vicious cycle that could follow them until their adult life.