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You Better Sit Down For This: Coping With Teen Pregnancy

Unwed teen pregnancy is a bad thing.  No matter what path your teen chooses, she will have to live with its consequences for the rest of her life.  While there is nothing you can do to make this situation OK, you can avoid making it any worse.

First, realize that while you, as a parent, can and should console and advise, you have to let your daughter decide for herself and her baby what to do.  Avoid rushing her into anything.  Instead, help her gather as much information as possible about her options.  Encourage her to speak with someone else who has made a similar decision to discuss that long term consequences of what she is considering.

Next, as she is making her decision, you need to make a few of your own.  If she decides to keep the baby, how much are you willing to help?  If she chooses adoption, do you want an option to continue to be involved in your grandchild's life?  In such an emotionally charged time, it is important that you try to give calm consideration to your own options.  It is also a good idea to discuss your situation with someone outside the family whose counsel you trust.

Also, insist that the baby's father be involved in the decision making process and take responsibility for his actions.  Do all within your power to see that your daughter names the father on the birth certificate and that he provides for the future of his child.  This is especially true if you are the parent of the father rather than the mother.

Finally, encourage both teen parents to get counseling both before and after they reach their decision.  No matter what they do, they will need to process the feelings and emotions associated with this life changing event.

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