If Your Teen is Pregnant

Discovering that your daughter is pregnant or that your son has gotten a girl pregnant will probably be a shock. You are not alone; over one million teenage girls and boys in America say these words to their parents each year.

Some parents view this as their worst nightmare as they contemplate what does this mean for the future of their child. Will my child finish school? Will they go to college?

In some cases, you may even be asking who is this boy or girl? Who is their family?

Your responses and reactions will influence how your child handles the situation. Your daughter has told you that she is pregnant because she needs your love, support, and guidance.

Ultimatums, criticism and threats will only make things worse, and will keep her from approaching you with new or additional concerns. Although you want to scream, remain calm and seek to discover what plans she has made, what information she has gathered, or where she is in the whole scheme of things.

Pregnant teenagers basically have the same three options that anyone else has who is pregnant: parenting, adoption, or termination. As a parent, you cannot force her into any of the options. Your daughter has the right to decide what she wishes to do with her pregnancy.

Forcing her into any option can lead her into further rebellion or significantly impair your relationship. As hard as it may be, seek to give your daughter your honest advice and your unconditional love.

If you want to have more influence over your daughter if she has told you that she is pregnant, give her support, love, and acceptance. If these come first, she will be more receptive to advice and information.

Here are some tips when you discover your daughter (son) is pregnant:

  • Listen, Listen, and Listen. She has to be the one to decide what to do. Listen as she shares her thoughts and concerns.
  • Find resources for your daughter. Find counseling, pre-natal care, and parenting information. Whatever she decides, make sure it is grounded in education.
  • Involve the other family if at all possible.
  • It is OK to cry. Take time outside for you to cry.
  • Remember that her dreams may not be your dreams. You may be disappointed in the pregnancy, but try not to project this upon your daughter.
  • Encourage her to get counseling and seeking pregnancy related education.
  • Encourage her to stay in school
  • Most of all love support and accept your child.

Last updated: 12/2006