Support for teenage mothers at home
Support for teenage mothers will need to start at home. If your teenage daughter is pregnant, there are some tough decisions that she needs to make. Teenage mothers are not uncommon – in the US, up to 1 million teenage girls give birth every year. In Australia, five percent of sexually active teenagers have reported that sexual activity resulted in a pregnancy. While some teenage pregnancies are planned, most are unplanned.
If the teenage pregnancy was unplanned, you may be feeling shocked and disappointed on learning that your teenager is pregnant and that she is to become a teenage mother. You may also feel guilty and embarrassed by the pregnancy if it becomes known to friends and family. You may feel incredibly worried particularly if your daughter is very young or you had no knowledge of any sexual activities of your daughter before the news of the pregnancy. You may be wondering if any sexual assault was involved.
Your show of support
Whatever your feelings, it is important to support your daughter through what is likely to be a difficult and challenging time for your whole family. Don’t dismiss your feelings but work through them and if necessary, seek help through counseling or by talking to someone.
Support for the teenage mother at home should also include allowing your daughter to carry on living at home until she is ready to move out.
- Communicate and keep communicating with your daughter;
- Do not blame or make judgments;
- Support your daughter in any difficult decisions she needs to make. Do not force your daughter into a decision – forcing your opinions on her or using threats is likely to backfire and may worsen the situation;
- If sexual assault is suspected, please read our Teen Sexual Assault page;
- Make sure that your daughter receives prenatal care and keeps healthy. If abortion is considered, read our Teen Pregnancy Abortion section;
- If foster care or adoptions is considered, read our Teen Pregnancy Foster Care and Adoption section;
- You may also need to provide financial support to your daughter.
Carrying on with education
A teenage mother can and should continue her education especially if she is still of compulsory school age. If the teenage mother cannot or is reluctant to attend school, it may be possible to make arrangements for home study. The school should not exclude or expel the teenage mother on the grounds of pregnancy or health or safety issues connected with the pregnancy.
Click on the links to the right for further sections of this Teen Pregnancy Guide.
For further readings and articles on teen pregnancy, see Teen Pregnancy Further Readings section.