Most societies considered teen pregnancy as a stigma. Pregnant and parenting teens are too young, immature and inexperienced to hold such a big responsibility. They should be in school and should only worry about what careers they want to pursue.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, out of 250,000 babies born to teen mothers, 77% of these are unplanned. It is painful and disappointing when you see pregnant and parenting teens. You wonder how they will be able to provide and raise their children with no jobs and living with their parents.
How to show support to pregnant and parenting teens?
As much as you want them to face and taste the consequences of their actions, you know that they need ultimate care and support. Pregnant and parenting teens know that their circumstance will change their lives forever. Their thoughts are filled with worries and questions on how they can handle this, who to ask for help without judgment and criticism or where to go for support.
1. Respond with care.
When teens open up about their situation, it is normal for you to feel angry and surprised. No parents or guardians want to hear this news from their teens. As much as you want to badly yell at them for being irresponsible, bear in mind that they have saved up the courage to tell you. They understand what you are feeling but the last thing they want from you is to disown them.
It will never be easy as parents but you need to listen to them and find the right ways to handle this. They need to know what you are feeling but you will still care and love them. Assure them that they will not be alone in facing this unexpected event.
2. Always be there.
Pregnant and parenting teens have a lot of things on their minds. Their pregnancy may result in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts because to them this is something that they do not want to happen. Knowing that there are people who continue to love and care for them lifts this burden.
Be there for them even if they do not ask for help. Encourage them to talk about their future or their plans for themselves. Let them see that having a baby is a life-changing moment. Lives of many young mothers turn out great and successful because their babies give them directions.
3. Create a support system.
No one wants to be judged and ridiculed about their situation. Expecting teens need a support system that they can rely on who accepts and understands them. Ask other family members not to treat them as an outcast. Show them that they are loved and protected.
You can also encourage them to join support groups and forums that aim to guide and help young parents. This way they will see that there are young parents who are in the same situation and are happy and grateful.
4. Share incredible stories about parenthood.
Pregnant and parenting teens will always question their abilities to care for a young one. They see themselves as incapable of supporting and raising a child. They will wonder how they can survive being parents at a young age. But when they listen to stories about the reality of parenthood, they will realize that it is normal to worry.
Tell them your story about being new parents. Ask other family members to share their own parenthood stories, the challenges they have to face and the moments you all celebrate. Read about inspiring people who made a big difference in spite of being a young parent. Being a good parent is not measured by age but by level of maturity.
5. Teach them about their new role and responsibilities.
New parents, especially young, need to learn how to handle their role and responsibilities. Even if you are there to help them out, they need to learn how to live and survive independently. You can teach them basic household chores like cooking and doing laundry. They can take parenting classes to know more about taking care of a baby.
They should be aware that from now on, there will be a human being who will solely depend on them to live. They are required to be physically and mentally prepared.
6. Motivate them to stay physically fit and healthy.
Pregnant teens need to be in top shape because they are in high risk of complications like hypertension, low-birth weight babies and preterm birth. They must get enough exercise and sleep. They have to eat a balanced meal all the time and take their vitamins. They are required to go to a doctor for check-ups and monitoring not just for themselves but also for their babies.
7. They need to be mentally ready for their new role.
Being pregnant and a young parent can be overwhelming. They are likely to succumb to anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Postpartum depression is another thing they must be aware of because it is real and it hinders you thinking rationally.
It is highly recommended that they attend therapy near me and counseling sessions that will help them navigate and embrace their new journey. They should realize that in order for them to raise a baby right they must be mentally healthy.
Mindshift Psychological Services open their doors to pregnant and parenting teens. They offer their services to make them a better and strong parent. It is not merely about getting them ready on the delivery but also preparing them on what lies ahead after childbirth.
If you are experiencing extreme sadness, their Depression Therapy near me will surely help you combat it. You can even watch their meditation videos on their website to free yourself from bad thoughts. Schedule an appointment through their website or contact them at (714) 584-9700.