When you are given the news that your teen daughter is pregnant, as a parent you will suffer through many emotions. There will be disbelief, anger, disappointment, courage, support and love. You will embrace this challenge as you have with every other one you faced as a parent, and you will do what it takes to make it all work out for the best.
The first thing that you must do, however, is begin to prepare your daughter for the emotional, physical and financial issues that she will face in the upcoming months and after the baby arrives. You will also need to discuss schooling options and child care issues. You will need to do all of this while still providing the emotional support she needs.
Addressing Key Issues
• Schooling. You need to let your teen know that this is not an excuse to drop out of school. Arrange with the school to have her enrolled in Internet based courses so that she can continue to study and receive her diploma. Let her know that dropping out is not an option because she must be prepared to provide for her child.
• Emotional. Let her know that her body is being flooded with hormones at this time, and her emotions are going to rollercoaster. Let her know that it is natural and that you are there to help her through this tough time.
• Physical. Try to prepare her for the changes her body is going to undergo and what she should expect along the way. Help her to choose a healthy lifestyle during her pregnancy by encouraging healthy foods and appropriate exercises.
• Financial. This is going to be the hardest of all the issues. As a parent you will want your daughter to assume as much of the responsibility for the new baby as possible. Yet, common sense tells you that a pregnant girl is not going to be able to go and get her first job. You will have to be very creative in this category, because you do not want her to become dependent, but you do not want to place her in hardship either.
One of the ways that you can work with your daughter on financial issues is to help her find ways to earn extra money on her own that will meet her limitations. This may take a little research and creativity, but it can be done.
Another helpful thing you can do is teach her how to be resourceful with her choices for the baby. For instance, instead of purchasing a new crib, you can encourage her to purchase a playard for babies instead. A play yard is perfectly equipped to work as a sleep area for the baby, and can be used to keep the baby safe as it grows. Play yards are also portable and can be used for a longer period and in more places than a crib. A simple choice like his can reduce her expenses tremendously.
In the end, it is important to remember that your teen is probably very afraid and needs your love and support more than ever. If you can keep this in mind, everything else will work itself out.
With four kids, Melanie Fleury knows the difference between wants and needs when it comes to items for the baby.