Teen pregnancy is rarely something you expect, but unfortunately it’s also something that you don’t have a lot of control over. If your teen has recently told you that she’s pregnant your first instinct may be to go into full-blown meltdown mode—however this will not be beneficial for you, your child, or your future grandchild. Instead, take a breath and think about what your next move should be. If you’re unsure about what needs to be done, use these tips to help you provide your teen with the resources and support they need to get through this difficult time.
It’s important that you get your daughter enrolled in prenatal care as soon as possible. Teen pregnancy comes with a higher risk of low birth weight and other complications, and this is largely due to the fact that many teen mothers don’t receive much-needed medical and nutritional guidance from a doctor.
Additionally, you should talk with your teen about what this change means for her life. While this discussion should be realistic, try to avoid lecturing or fighting, because a pregnancy marred with negativity and stress can have both emotional and physical side effects. If your teen is feeling particularly overwhelmed, it may be beneficial to have her speak with a professional counselor.
During the Pregnancy
Always strive to provide your daughter with plenty of support during the entirety of her pregnancy. This includes things like moral support and encouragement, but it also involves making sure she’s attending her doctor’s appointments, taking her prenatal vitamins, and generally taking care of herself.This is also the time you should start helping her plan for the physical realities of having a baby—such as buying baby clothes, furniture, and diapers.
Since your teen is probably still living at home, she may be expecting the majority of these financial responsibilities to fall on your shoulders. If you’re okay with that, that’s great. But it’s important to help your teen start taking on financial responsibilities, too. Going to school and being pregnant take a lot of work, but there are positions that will allow your teen to start supporting her little one and learning to take control of her own future.
It is not unreasonable to speak with the father or his parents to discuss their role in Baby’s financial support. In fact, the better the communication between all of you, the better things will be for the new baby. Fathers play an important role, and although you may not be harboring the warmest feelings for him, he still had a hand in the creation and should be allowed and encouraged to take part in the raising.
It’s also important to help your teen develop a plan for success post-pregnancy. While staying on top of responsibilities like school will be much more difficult with a child, your teen needs to succeed for her sake and the sake of the baby.
After the Pregnancy
There’s no denying it—things will only get more hectic after the baby is born, so try to keep your daughter on track as much as possible. At the same time, don’t forget to take some time to appreciate the situation. Even though it might not have been like you planned, you’re a grandparent now, and that’s exciting!