4 helpful tips for parents dealing with teen pregnancy
Your child has finally mustered up the courage to tell you that they’re pregnant, and you are now a parent dealing with teen pregnancy. How do you put your fears, concerns and emotions aside to be the rock your child so desperately needs in the moment?
If you are a parent dealing with teen pregnancy, the news is likely to make you feel overwhelmed. After all, this is a major, life-changing event that you know will impact your child’s life for years to come.
In this fragile time in your teen’s life, it is important to remember that you are the most consistent thing in your child’s life. As their parent, they will look to you for knowledge, support, understanding, and guidance. You don’t have to like the situation that they are now in, but you do have to realize that you are needed.
Let’s dive into 4 helpful perspectives and strategies for parents dealing with teen pregnancy.
1. Remember that your child may be terrified
As automatic as it can be to begin thinking about how this pregnancy will impact you, remember that your teenager will be impacted even more. While you may have experienced pregnancy and parenting, your child has not. This is unchartered territory for them, and all of the changes and adjustments to come can feel like an unconquerable battle.
Let your child know that you understand how scared they are, and that they don’t have to face this journey alone. Sometimes, just knowing you will be there can make all the difference.
2. Provide unbiased information
Unexpected pregnancy and the options available can be a controversial topic to discuss. Many people have their own views on what the “right” decision is when it comes to unplanned pregnancies, and you may have strong opinions of your own. But it is essential to remember that it is your child that will have to live with the decision for the rest of their life, and the final decision must be theirs.
Openly discuss the various choices they can make, help them weigh out the possible scenarios that could follow each choice, and try not to dictate how they should feel or what they should do. Ultimately, even if the choice your teen makes is not the choice that you prefer, it is not your decision to make. But your unwavering support could be the most important factor in your child maintaining their mental health and moving forward positively.
3. Don’t forget your teen is still a teen
The transition from care-free teenager to young parent doesn’t happen immediately. Your child will be struggling to adjust, and may not understand the gravity of the situation they are in right away. Try not to hold this against them.
If you notice your teen still wanting to go out with their friends when they should be getting proper rest, or procrastinating when it comes to making important decisions, remember how unfamiliar all of this is to them. They are in a whirlwind of change. As difficult as it may be, try to be patient. Never use these behaviours to condemn your teen’s ability to be a parent.
Let them learn and adapt at their own pace while gently guiding them. They’ll get there.
4. Practice self-love
Parents are often quick to assume they did something wrong when their child becomes pregnant at a young age.
They’ll ask themselves questions like,
“What could I have done differently to prevent this?”
“If only I hadn’t let her go out with her friends…”
However, the most critical thing for any parent of a pregnant teen to know is that it’s not your fault. You did not cause this pregnancy, and you should not blame yourself.
Try to be proactive in monitoring your thoughts and stop yourself from thinking negatively about your parenting. Take time for yourself to process and to prepare for the road ahead.
With the right outlook and a little self-love, the journey as a parent dealing with a teen pregnancy can be much less disastrous than you may have initially thought.