Note: For those who haven’t read Part 1, please do so before jumping to this article. Thank you!
“It’s not that teenagers suddenly discovered the joy of sex. Sexual activity among teens remained stable. What changed was the use of contraception,” Joni E Johnston, PsyD, wrote. That said, teenage males fathering a child also need the involvement of their family. Some may welcome the chance of being a father who has hands-on involvement with their children, while others may feel afraid and guilty, and may need encouragement to face his responsibilities, as, for every state, a father is legally responsible for child support.
However, this does not equate to you, pressing the young couple into a marriage they aren’t prepared for; that will be for them to evaluate and decide on it. Give advice, but remember, that their decision should be the final one, and resorting to force, of whatever manner, isn’t recommended. There isn’t a “magic formula” to this, and only communication can help you and the teen, as you both move on into the future.
Concerns Of A Pregnant Teen
Most teen girls biologically can produce healthy children, but it relies heavily on her getting adequate medical care, especially in the early months. Teens who receive proper medical care are most likely to end up having healthier baby/babies. Teens who don’t receive such care are at risk for:
- Fetal death and miscarriage
- High blood pressure
- Low birth-weight infant
- Labor or delivery complications
It is highly urged of all parties in teenage pregnancy to consult a medical expert once the parents are informed. A visit and consultation with a social service near your area are also recommended for cases such as these.
As with a normal one, changes to the daily routine will need to be done if the pregnancy will proceed smoothly. Vices, like smoking, drinking, and drugs will need to be eradicated, especially the last one, which is very much against the law and may result to her arrest and the child dying from the stress. As for her diet, it is very much advised that she be restricted to homemade food which can be tailored to suit her and the child’s needs, as the usual teen diet wouldn’t be a help. Exercises, such as walking and swimming, are also recommended, although caution is advised as to what exercises she can do, as excessive ones may harm the child.
“[O]ne thing that often gets overlooked in the mad dash to motherhood is more important than any outfit or accessory: mental health,” wrote Kristen Scarlett, LMHC. “Experiencing ups and downs during pregnancy is certainly expected, but if certain symptoms persist more than two weeks, it’s time to get help.”
Dealing With Stress And Other Consequences
With the advent of the child in sight, many questions are raised, and it can bring the issue of stress. Is the mother (and father) capable of raising the child properly? Will they consider putting the child up for adoption? Who shall take care of the financial needs of the child? All are questions decided on how much support the teen mother receives; from her family and the father of the child.
Another issue facing a teen parent is the question of whether she/he can go on with school. The statistics don’t paint a good picture: 60%-70% of teenage mothers drop school altogether. However, it will be necessary to do so, to provide better for the child.
“We can’t control our teenager’s sexuality. Nor should we. We can, though, help them to reflect on their choices and make decisions that are good for them,” wrote Michael Ungar, PhD. Guide your teen in the best way possible to learn that being a parent is equal measures of joy and responsibility for a whole lifetime. Surely, you could wish she made better choices, but you will have to accept the present to prepare better for the future. Working together with your teen would be the best way to ensure you are better parents in the long run.