You find out your innocent teenager daughter is pregnant, now what? Do you let her live with you and support her as she finishes school? Do you demand she marry the father? Do you send her out to make it on her own?
Congratulations, you’re a grandparent! While this statement is wonderful when your children are married, have a stable life, and are financially independent, this statement can be devastating when you are the parent of a teenage daughter. Don’t fret, there is hope for the future. Here are some things you can do to help your daughter have success as a mother.
While being a teen mom is obviously not an ideal situation, have a conversation with your daughter, and thank her for being open with you. While you are scared for her, she is probably more scared than you are and was probably really afraid to open up to her parents with such big, life-changing news. Meet her where she is, ease her fears, and let her know that you are proud of her for being honest and wanting to do the responsible thing.
Talk about your options, ask your daughter if she wants to raise her child or place the child for adoption, and support her decision. If you daughter who chooses adoption, help her choose an agency and pick a family. If your daughter chooses to raise her child, help her navigate the waters of being a teen mom.
If your teenage daughter is in a stable relationship with a responsible father-to-be, the best decision may be for them to get married and start their own life. If the father is wanting to be in his child’s life and be together with your daughter, you may offer for them to live in your home until they finish school, and are financially able to move out on their own.
If the father is not responsible, won’t be an active father, and isn’t good to your daughter, do not force your daughter to be in a relationship with the father. Offer to let your daughter live with you while she finishes school and is able to have a steady income. While having a newborn baby in your home isn’t what you had in mind, consider this: the best chance your daughter has of living a comfortable life is to finish her education. If she has to move out on her own and work, she may be trapped in a cycle of working minimum wage jobs just to pay the rent, instead of focusing on doing well in school.
Look into your options. She may qualify for food stamps, WIC, daycare assistance, Medicare, etc. There may also be private scholarships and special night-time schools available for teenage moms.
Being a teenage mom is not as scary as it was 30 years ago due to a number of organizations and government stipends available for single-mothers and teenage mothers. Be supportive and get excited for that little bundle of joy that is about to enter the world!