Archive for the ‘Pregnant Teen’ Category

Caught in the Cradle

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Teen Pregnancy from the teen parents themselves! When your babies are raising babies.

Questions to Ask Yourself if You Are Pregnant

Friday, March 25th, 2011

1. What do I want out of life for myself?

2. Could I handle a child and a job and/or school at the same time?

3. Have I managed school and/or job and other activities well in the past?

4. Am I ready to give up the freedom to do what I want to do when I want to do it?

5. An example of something I would have to give up by having a child with me is…

6. Am I willing to cut back on my social life and stay home while my friends go out?

7. Would I miss my free time and privacy?

8. Can I afford to support a child?

9. Do I want to raise my child in the neighborhood I am living in now?

10. How might a child interfere with my growth and personal development?

11. How would parenting a child change my educational plans?

12. Am I willing to give a great part of my life – AT LEAST 18 YEARS – to being a responsible parent?

13. Do I like doing things with children?

14. Do I want my child to be like me?

15. Do I expect a child to make my life happy?

16. When I am around small children for a while, how do I feel after being around them?

17. Am I able to give the child the love he/she needs/deserves?

18. Am I patient enough to deal with the noise, confusion, and the 24-hour-a-day responsibility of having a child?

19. What kind of time and space do I need for myself?

20. What do I do now when I am angry or upset?

21. What would I do to a child if I lost my temper or became angry?

22. What does good discipline mean to me?

23. How would I discipline a toddler?

24. Do I get along with my family?

25. How would I take care of my child’s health and safety?

26. Would my child be proud of the person I am today?

27. Am I able to provide an education for my child?

A Look Behind the Scenes of a Teen Pregnancy

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

from Focus on the Family

Before considering how you might respond to the news that your unmarried teenager is pregnant, take a brief tour of the emotions and thought processes that are likely to be swirling through her mind and heart.

Your daughter’s experience

  • Fear is an overriding emotion in nearly every teen pregnancy. “I can’t tell my parents. They’ll kill me!” “How can I finish school when I’m pregnant?” “My boyfriend will take off if I don’t have an abortion.” The adolescent with a crisis pregnancy probably sees nothing but loss on the horizon — loss of love, time, education and physical health. Fear of one or more of these losses propels most of her other responses. Remember that the average age difference between the father of the baby and the teenage mother is 6.4 years.

 

  • Denial is common, especially during the early weeks of pregnancy when the only indication might be one or more missed periods, a little fatigue, possibly some nausea or even a positive pregnancy test. The longing for things to be “the way they were” may delay acknowledging the problem and seeking appropriate help for weeks or even months.

 

  • Ambivalence about being pregnant may cause fluctuating emotions. One day the only solution may appear to be an abortion, while the next the prospect of a cuddly baby may seem appealing. Time spent with a friend’s crying newborn may jolt the emotions in yet another direction. Indecision and apparent lack of direction in such an overwhelming situation are common.

 

  • Guilt. When a pregnancy results from the violation of moral values held since childhood, an adolescent will usually feel ashamed and worthless. Her growing abdomen becomes a constant reminder of her failure. This is a time when you can come alongside your child and cement a lasting relationship with her.

 

  • Pressure to have an abortion. This may come from several directions. A teenager may be weighing what appears to be a dismal future of hardship and remorse against a quick and relatively inexpensive procedure. “No one needs to know, and I can get on with my life.” A boyfriend (who may be dealing with his own fear and guilt, along with concerns about future financial responsibilities) may exert considerable pressure to abort, even offering to pay the bill. He may also threaten to bail out of the relationship if the pregnancy continues. Some parents, worried about their daughter’s future or perhaps their own reputation in the community (or even the prospect of being responsible for the actual child-rearing), may also find abortion attractive.

 

  • The “cuddly doll” mentality. Some unmarried teenage girls see their pregnancy unrealistically as an escape from a difficult and unpleasant home situation. They may envision a baby as a snuggly companion who will require roughly the same amount of care as a new puppy, not realizing the amount of energy a newborn will take from her without giving much in return (especially during the first few weeks). Teens with this mindset need to adjust their expectations of child-rearing — not to drive them to abort, but to help them make more appropriate plans. If adoption is not chosen as a solution, some careful groundwork should be laid to prevent serious disappointment and even the mother’s abuse of the baby.

 

Your experience as parent(s)

If a pregnancy is an upheaval for a teenager, it is also no picnic for her parents. Discovering that your adolescent daughter is pregnant is a trial like few others, and reactions — fear for her future, denial, guilt — may parallel hers with equal intensity. Parents are likely to feel anger in a number of directions — anger toward their daughter for being careless, not taking their advice, not using good judgment and disobeying them and God. They may be angry with the boy (or man) involved, who has violated their trust and their daughter’s well-being. They may be angry with themselves for any number of reasons: They were too narrow or too permissive, too busy or too tired to tune into their daughter’s world for the past several months — and now look what has happened.

Anger is such a classic parental response that the daughter may try to keep her pregnancy a secret. In fact, many states allow minors to obtain abortions without parental consent or knowledge, based on the presumption that the mother or father will be so disruptive and unreasonable that the teenage daughter can better deal with her pregnancy without them.

Your most difficult (and character-building) task is to show how much you really love your daughter, even though you don’t approve of what she has done. The classical Chinese symbol for the word crisis has special meaning in this situation. It consists of two symbols: one representing danger, the other, opportunity. The danger is that your response to the pregnancy may open wounds in your family that will take years to heal, if they ever do. Your opportunity is rising to the occasion in such a way as to earn your daughter’s lifelong respect and gratitude.

Your mission is to remain calm when panic is in the air and to be more concerned about her embarrassment than your own, which may be enormous. It is to be comforting, when you feel like saying, “I told you so!” It is to help organize everyone’s conflicting impulses into a thoughtful plan in which the family can work as a team. It is to guide the baby’s father into responsible participation if he is willing, when you would just as soon enlist him in the Marines. Most of all, it is to channel your intense feelings into productive outlets — through planning, prayer, vigorous exercise and blowing off steam to a tolerant friend rather than at your child.

Your daughter will need help, and lots of it, but not a total rescue. She must make a fast transition to adulthood, a state about which you know a great deal more than she does. You must resist the temptation to throw her out or keep her stuck in childish irresponsibility by making all of her decisions. She needs to face all the tough decisions and demands of pregnancy but with you at her side as a confident ally.

You may have one very critical decision of your own to make. What role do you intend to take in the child’s upbringing? If the mother-to-be is very young, you may see another parenting job on the horizon and perhaps resent the idea. Or you may be excited about having the nest occupied for several more years. Your feelings on this issue need to be sorted out, and your course of action planned accordingly.

In the midst of your family’s deliberations, be sure ample consideration is given to adoption. A pregnant teenager may be torn by the thought that “if I had the baby, I couldn’t handle giving her away.” But adoption can provide a livable solution for all parties involved. The baby is raised by a couple who intensely desire to be parents, and the birth mother can pick up and move on to complete her education and career goals, postponing her own parenting until she is ready.

You will also need to address the question of abortion. Many voices will be calling your daughter to the abortion clinic, claiming this simple procedure will bring the crisis to a swift and straightforward resolution. Some parents may be tempted to give this option serious consideration for similar reasons.

Abortion is not a procedure like an appendectomy that eradicates a piece of diseased tissue. It ends a human life that is designed to develop in a continuous process from conception through birth and beyond. Because this life is unseen for now, its identity and significance may pale in comparison to the problems and concerns of the moment. That developing person whose life is in the hands of her mother and those influencing her, cannot speak for herself.

Your daughter should consider making an appointment with a local pregnancy resource center (often called a crisis pregnancy center or CPC) in order to sort through the issues, gather information and consider her options in a compassionate setting. Even if she has strong opinions about what her course of action should be, a pregnancy center can be an extremely valuable resource. Services available at most centers include a realistic assessment of the impact of each option, ongoing counseling support, assistance with medical and other referrals, and maternity clothes and baby supplies. It is important that capable and compassionate medical care be maintained throughout the pregnancy. Many pregnant teens delay or avoid seeking appropriate care for a variety of reasons. But adolescents have higher rates of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth compared to older women. Most of these problems can be significantly reduced (or at least anticipated) with consistent prenatal visits and appropriate medical follow-up.

Excerpted from “Let’s Talk About Sex,” published by Focus on the Family. Copyright © 1998 Focus on the Family.

How do I prevent my daughter from being a teen statistic?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I get this question quite often. So many of us have been told that sex-ed will stop the huge amount of teen pregnancies in our nation. We as parents are relying on our educators to explain the risk of unprotected sex and the realities of teen pregnancy.

Other parents simply refuse to accept their children are sexually active at such early ages. The truth is, some of our kids are having sex or at least interested in the concept by the age of 8 YEARS OLD! Yes, that’s what you just read, 8 YEARS OLD!

Our world introduces sex to kids at extremely early ages. Everyday and everywhere they turn sex is in their face. A parent cannot even take a child to a mall without seeing explicit ads using sex as a hook. This has changed the game for everybody. It is time we looked up from our computers, smart phones and the TV and acknowledge what our kids are seeing and how are they reacting to it. Do you discuss it with them? YOU SHOULD.

Our children need to be taught that they have a great deal to contribute to this world and they are here on this planet for a reason, and it isn’t to be the prettiest, or the sexiest in their group. Self-esteem starts early, the moment they are brought home from the hospital. Kids are amazing. Their ability to assimilate your thoughts and actions is immediate. It is our job to be the mentors and the leaders from day one.

One of the best books I have ever read for helping both parents and children to develop a healthy self-esteem and to help them understand that they are individuals with a gift and a responsibility to cherish themselves is – The Entitlement Free Child, by Karen Deerwester. I have read this book at least 6 times and I will insist each one of my clients read it as a part of my coaching plan of action  for both pregnant teens and parents of pregnant teens. I believe it should be mandatory for all parents to read this book during a pregnancy. It should be part of the pre-natel care! Our world would become a much better place and parents all around would be breathing sighs of relief.

Again, start looking at your child as someone who has questions and concerns about sex long before it is too late. Be aware of her surroundings and how she sees herself fitting into this world. It is difficult for young girls during adolesance to understand their boundries or self-worth. Remind them they are special, loved and admired for being simply who they are. If they have a goal and plan of action that having a baby does not fit into, chances are they will wait.

A Shelter for Pregnant Teens

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Many pregnant teens find themselves homeless or living in dangerous situations, and for some of these teens a shelter for pregnant teens may be able to provide a safe environment and support as they strive to care for themselves and their babies.

Shelters for pregnant teens offer a place to live when teens are pregnant and find themselves homeless, in a dangerous environment, or in need of extra support and care. In addition to food and a place to live, pregnant teen shelters may offer a variety of services:

  • Medical care
  • Mental and emotional health counseling
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Religious instruction
  • Supervision by a trained and licensed staff
  • Educational help
  • Work and life skills training
  • Parenting skills classes
  • Adoption placement or counseling
  • Education on avoiding another pregnancy during the teen years
  • Help in locating housing after leaving the shelter
  • Classes for the baby’s father on life and parenting skills

Not all shelters offer all of these services, but most offer some. Most pregnant teen shelters are run by city or state governments or by non-profit groups, especially religious organizations. The services they are able to offer, as well as the rules for living at the shelter and the criteria for admission vary by shelter.

The living situation at teen shelters is usually somewhat communal. Pregnant teen shelters may offer girls their own room or require them to share. They usually have shared spaces for eating and for activities, which gives pregnant teens a chance to make friends with others who understand their situation. The staff members usually function as surrogate parents and counselors for the girls, and may be single moms themselves.

The rules at most shelters provide a lot of structure. Some shelters allow girls to leave the facility during their stay while others require them to remain on the grounds. Girls may be required to follow strict health rules, though they may have to get their own medical care. This also applies to schooling. Religious homes or shelters usually require girls to attend services. Shelters may keep their location a secret to protect pregnant teens who may be in danger from family members or the baby’s father.

The level of help provided by shelters depends on the focus and the resources of the shelter. Some shelters can only offer help while a girl is pregnant, while others provide continuing shelter or support for up to the first two years of the baby’s life, including ongoing counseling and education or child care.

Girls who seek pregnant teen shelters may come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of the teens who use shelters have a history of early sexual activity, and often of sexual abuse. They are almost always single. Many come from the foster care program or from low income families who cannot not or will not support them during their pregnancies. Most keep their babies rather than put them up for adoption.

Teens who go to a pregnant teen shelter may have better outcomes than those who don’t thanks to the shelter’s counseling, health, and education programs, and removing girls from dangerous situations.

Homes and shelters for pregnant teens used to be common, but there are now fewer of them, with perhaps only a couple in each state. With budget cuts, many state programs have been cut back even more. This means that teens who need a shelter may not have many options about which one they go to, and it may be hard to get in to a shelter.

Teens who need a shelter while they are pregnant can talk to a doctor, counselor, social worker, or religious leader to find out about pregnant teen shelters in their area. They can also search in the phone book for shelters or for teen help hotlines. Girls who need special help, like protection from someone who wants to hurt them, may be able to get help with transportation to a particular shelter by talking to a doctor, police officer, or social worker.

Sources:

Tracey Dewart and Donna Zaengle, Lamaze International’s Journal of Perinatal Education, “The Door’s Perinatal Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens” [online]
Michael D. Clark, Cincinnati Enquirer, “Home offers refuge for pregnant teens” [online]
Edward J. Saunders, Children Today, “Residential program services pregnant teens and young mothers in Iowa – Adolescent Pregnancy Program of Central Iowa” [online]
Tovia Smith, NPR, “For Teen Moms, Just a Start” [online]

Does Hollywood Contribute to Teen Pregnancy?

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Is everyone entitled to be a parent?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

I was a teen parent myself. I was pregnant at 17 and I gave birth to my daughter 3 weeks after becoming an “adult” at eighteen. I married her father, I was lucky. I personally had a tremendous amount of support from his parents as well as my own mother. My little girl did not suffer from a lack of love or support. I have many to thank for this. I could not have done it on my own. However, not every teen parent is so lucky, and by all means, not every child born to a teen parent as privileged as my daughter was growing up. My mother and father-in- law stepped in big time. It wasn’t easy for me as a young woman to allow for their opinions or their rules at times. However, I knew it was in my daughter’s best interest. I knew it was right for her.  

I made mistakes, but the biggest one is how little time I actually spent with my little girl when she was a toddler. I was working, I was busy…blah, blah, blah…none of it really matters, what she needed was her mom. When I look back now especially after raising my granddaughter today, I try to remember the ‘ first times’ of my daughters. I didn’t get to see so many of them. My Mother-in-law did. I was so stressed about being appreciated at work, money and other nonsense that I didn’t understand how very important it is to be appreciated at home.

The repercussions show themselves today. It is too late to fix them. Now my daughter and I must move forward and accept the mistakes and honor each other from today forward. Kids need their parents to be both physically and emotionally present. If this is something you are unable to accomplish, think twice before getting pregnant or choosing to raise a child without recourses. There are many families out there desperate for a child to love and they have the recourses to contribute to their upbringing.  Consider the child, their loneliness and sense of where they fit in this world if you choose to raise a child without the nessessary funds and time to contribute to him/her. Family is a BIG word. It has real meaning. A family is not just the birthparents, but the individuals that care and love the child each and every moment of every day. It isn’t all about money. It is about contributing to the daily mentoring and raising of a little person. Including the scrapes, bruises AND the successes and cheers.

I see a lot of families struggling with the effects of unplanned pregnancies. What we must remember, is how will the baby make out? It is no longer us as the Parents that matter now. It is the unborn child. Will we be able to give this little one everything he/she deserves? This baby did not ask to be brought into a difficult situation.

Children need a lot of ‘things’, but what they need most is love, consistency and security. Many of our children today are living in “survival mode”. They live hand to mouth and rely on the school system for “meals”, which many of us know lack a great deal in themselves. Kids are not sure of tomorrow. They don’t know if they will have a home to go to at the end of every day. They consistently see struggle and fear in their parent’s eyes.

Parents spend so much time working, trying to find work, paying bills, looking for ways to keep lights on and food on the table, which the actual raising of their kids is on the back burner. This is leading to a legacy of hell for our children. They learn life lessons from TV, video games, MTV, the streets and other unfortunate kids. Their idea of exercise is Xbox. Kids are learning early that life is a struggle. Their mindset is on negativity and fear at such a young age, they don’t understand what it means to wake up peaceful and be grateful for the upcoming day, looking for ways to contribute to our society and their own self worth.

If we as parents keep allowing for this to happen, our future for our kids and ourselves is bleak. How would you like your future leaders to have had TeenMom and Lindsey Lohan as role models? (and they are on the upside). It is up to us. We must change our way of thinking in order to make a difference for our kids.

Before the American family became so fragmented our children had a sense of place. They knew what was expected of them. They understood right from wrong. It is time we get back to that.  We must start putting our children first.

Our mindset must change from that of lack, frustration and blame to a mindset of love, honor, courage and grace. We must realize that in order to make a change in our lives, we must be the change.

The time has come for all of us to step up and be the change we expect in everybody else. No more blame, no more negativity or finger pointing. Change yourself, your outlook, and your expectations.

Live in excellence, and let’s teach our children to expect nothing less.

What if you think your daughter's pregnant? by Irene Roth

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

What if you think your daughter’s pregnant? This kind of situation can cause so much heartbreak and dislocation for both the daughter and mother. Most daughters don’t want to talk about it and they tend to keep the whole thing a secret.

Other daughters start looking for advice and support outside of the family. This can cause a lot of hardship and a fundamental lack of communication once the family finds out. The most important thing that you could do for your pregnant daughter is to be available to her and let her know that you ‘ll always be by her side, regardless of what happens.

If you realize that your daughter is pregnant, its best if you open lines of communication with her by being open and empathic with her predicament. Although this may be difficult for some mothers to bring about, it isn’t impossible. Here are some tips that mothers could use to open lines of communication with your daughter:

1. Don’t criticize your daughter for becoming pregnant. Instead, be level-headed about the whole thing. This will draw your daughter closer to you and will open lines of communication.

2. Refrain from being negative or judgmental. Girls who get pregnant don’t need a lecture from their mother. Instead, such girls need unconditional love. They’re probably just as scared and unsure of what is going to happen as anyone else.

3. Never make your daughter feel as if you’ll abandon her. It is important for your daughter to feel that you will be there for her in every way possible.

4. Let your daughter make her own decisions about what she’ll do, with some occasional advice. Try not to be overbearing or condescending.

5. Love your daughter unconditionally. And show that love through your actions and attitudes as often as possible. Be positive instead of negative in your attitudes and mannerisms towards her.

6. Be a friend to your pregnant daughter. Always be there to listen and to offer a helping hand. This will draw you closer in this time of need and for the future as well.

7. Spend a lot of quality time with your daughter. Perhaps you could go to the movies or shopping with your daughter. Or you could go out and have lunch with your daughter.

8. Be empathic with your daughter at all times. Imagine what it would be like to be a young pregnant teen, trying to break the news to your mother. Try and imagine the feelings that you would experience.

9. Reassure your daughter that she is loved constantly. Just keep reiterating that mistakes do happen and this situation will rectify itself in time.

10. Tell your daughter that you will help her every step of the way, regardless of what she decides and what happens. This will help your daughter feel less alone and less desperate.

Following these tips will help you, as a mother, to come to terms with your daughter’s pregnancy. If anything, the experience will bring you two much closer together, something that you’ll need later on.

Irene S. Roth is a freelance writer for kids and teens. She is also in the process of creating a Newsletter for girls ages 12 to 16, along with a journalling prompt for either private reflections or to dialogue with other girls about similar issues. Irene Roth specializes in writing about social and relationship issues for young girls and adolescents.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Irene_Roth

It is no easy task to parent pregnant teens-by Anita Agrawal

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The role of the parent is difficult and fraught with emotions. When a teenage daughter suddenly announcing she is going to have a baby the whole family routine suddenly changes overnight. It definitely is not something parents would like to hear but when it happens one has to face the inevitable. According to facts and figures about one million teenage girls are pregnant each year.

The parent of such a child needs assistance and guidance to support the pregnant teen through the months of travail in front of her. So the first thing is that the parents must stoically accept the situation and come to face it without playing the blame game. The crisis has to be faced.

Initially the first reaction of the parent is a feeling of guilt. Perhaps they should have done something more to protect their child. Many parents feel awkward and shy to talk about the embarrassment with others – family, friends and neighbors. Some are of course happy at the prospect of becoming grandparents especially if the daughter is in her late teens and ready for a mature relationship.

Whatever the emotions are, there is no doubt it is a very critical time for the entire family. The basic point is that the pregnant teen needs the support of the parents more than ever before. Thus pushing back ones own emotions firmly the parents have to extend a supporting shoulder to the daughter.

If the pregnant teenager gets this support and affection from her parents her chances of having a healthy baby are better; her own health too will suffer less. She must be made to realize that she is not without help on this unintended journey.

The parents have to discipline and put on hold their own turbulent emotions not for themselves but for the welfare of their pregnant teen and future grandchild. However it is a difficult task that is easy to advice but difficult to practice.

Anita is your guide to all your preconceiving-to-pregnancy-to- teens related issues. Finds tons of first hand experience from this super cool mom at her website http://babytoteens.com/ and stop fretting and fuming over the pains of graduating into a “non harassed” parent!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Anita_Agrawal

$222,360!

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

A baby born in 2009 (the most recent data available) will cost almost a quarter-million dollars to raise by age 17, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The costs include everything from child care to BASIC education and bare bones health care. Who says you can’t put a price on love?

Think twice! If you want to raise a leader, a young person that will contribute to our society and not simply take advantage of our systems…be sure you have the resources the child deserves! It simply isn’t just about what you want anymore.