What if your teen tells you she thinks she's pregnant? Your first act should be to confirm that she really is; many things can interrupt the regularity of a girl's menstrual cycle. Get her to a doctor to determine whether she's actually pregnant or not.
If you find that she is indeed pregnant, she has three options: she can have the baby and keep it; she can have the baby and arrange for an adoption; or she can have an abortion. Provide her with the information she will need to explore her options:
- If she wants to keep the baby, what kind of day-care programs are offered in the community? What will her financial situation be like? How will she continue her schooling?
- If she is interested in adoption, what kind of adoption services are available?
- If she's thinking of an abortion, she should talk to an abortion counselor and to women who have been through one before.
Difficult as it is, you must recognize that this is her decision—no matter how strong your opinion on the matter. If you try to railroad her into taking a particular path now, she could end up resenting you for the rest of her life.
If the boy who has gotten her pregnant wants to be included in the decision, she should be free to discuss it with him. But again, ultimately, the decision is hers.
In all likelihood, you won't be calm or happy during this time, and neither will she. You will both need plenty of space and the opportunity to talk to others (a counselor, trusted family member, or friend) while you sort things out.
Throughout this entire time, you should be letting her know you love her. Support her decision, and once it's been made, re-visit the topic of sexual responsibility. If she is going to continue to be sexually active, she has to learn to use both a contraceptive and a condom.
More on: Teen Behavior and Discipline
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager © 1996 by Kate Kelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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