It’s certainly a huge shock to find out that your teenage daughter is pregnant, or your son is about to become a dad. You may well feel angry or resentful as your plans for your child’s life have taken a sudden and unexpected turn. Family Lives encourages parents to show that they are there for their teenagers, ready to listen and talk when their child wants to. Once the lines of communication are opened up, it will be much easier to talk openly about sexual relationships and to give easy to understand messages on contraception and the importance of safe sex.
Research shows that when children have been told about sex and relationships from an early age, especially by their parents, they will be more likely to delay sexual activity and when they do form a sexual relationship, will be confident enough to discuss contraception with their partners and ensure they have safe sex. That said, teenage pregnancy is a reality and some parents may find themselves. If your teenager or their partner is pregnant, or if you want to prepare for this eventuality, we’ve provided some information to help you give them as much support as possible.This is a time when your teen needs your support the most. You’ll need the opportunity to adjust too and possibly help to sort out your feelings. What’s most important, though, is to stay calm – and keep talking to your teen. If your child has come to you with this news, it’s important to see it as a positive step as it means they want your support and help. A young person in that situation doesn’t necessarily have to come and talk to their parent; they can have a confidential conversation about their sexual health and get treatment, even if they’re under 16, without their parent’s consent.
Many young people avoid telling their parents because they’re frightened of their reaction and often say “My parents will kill me” but what they don’t realise is that once their parents have got over the initial shock; almost all will give their children the help they need.
It’s absolutely crucial that parents are as supportive as possible. Young mums and dads-to-be can end up trying to cope in very difficult situations and if a rift develops between them and their parents over the pregnancy. It will cause unnecessary strain on family relationships and possible rifts.
It’s most important for your child to feel that they can confide in someone. Unfortunately, fear of telling anyone means some young people don’t admit they’re pregnant until very late. In some cases they are even denying it as they are wheeled into the delivery room. This can lead to all kinds of health problems for the mum and the baby.
Young people who are pregnant must confide in a trusted adult, perhaps a GP or a teacher, so they can get the help they need. This person can also help liaise with their parents too.