I'm sitting here, watching TLC, with some show about pregnant moms and their pregnant teen daughters. One mom is happy about her daughters pregnancy, and some people are confused by that. It got me thinking.
I used to be on the mindset of if my teen daughter ever gets pregnant, I'd make her give the child up for adoption. (this post is about consensual sex)
I don't believe that anymore.
One, a lot of teens have sex (and many of them lie about it). It's just life, and it doesn't always have anything to do with their upbringing or their religion. When my kids are teens, instead of pretending like it doesn't happen, I'm going to do my mom did. Educate them. Teach them about sex, abolish the myths about sex, teach em about STD's (show them real pictures; we met with someone with AIDS. We also talked to nurses and their experiences), teach them about birth control. When I turned 16, my mom started me on the pill. To be honest, it scared the hell out of me. I decided that I wasn't going to lose my virginity unless I was in love, and I believed that love took longer than a few months. I lost my virginity to my now husband when I was 24, after we dated for a year.
It'd be great if I could raise my kids like that, but the truth is, who knows? Supposedly, my grandparents waited until marriage, my mom was a teen parent who received no help and only disappointment, I waited until I was 24, who knows what the next generation's choices will be? I can only hope that we're able to educate them properly so that they'll make good choices. Even if they don't--they are people, individuals--get mad, get over it. Be supportive (girls and boys; despite that this post is focusing on girls, the boys need the support, too).
Two, I imagine how the child would feel...wondering why they were put up for adoption. Going from foster home to foster home. Not all kids go that route; some immediately go to families who want them. If adoption was an option, say that's the route my daughter wanted to go, we would make sure that a family was already waiting. A good family. (I'd be supportive of any choices my daughter made, whether it's to have the child, adoption, or abortion (depending on how far along the pregnancy was).
Three, Get upset. Be disappointed. Do it. But get over it. It's not the end of the world. It's not the end of her life. How many childless adults don't have their lives together? Or don't have it together until later in life? Having a child early isn't the end of everything. Yes, it'll make it difficult, but life is difficult, with or without a child.
I'd much rather be in a positive atmosphere when pregnant, than constantly thinking about my mistakes, constantly thinking about how disappointed my family is in me. Outside of this scenario, my family--my mom already is disappointed in me due to my choices. I didn't play sports. I have learning disabilities. I didn't go into the military. I didn't become a police officer. I'm obese. I dropped out of college. I'm a Pagan. I'm a Stay at Home mom. And that sucks. I wouldn't want to do that to my child, especially when young and pregnant.
Be positive. Show your daughter that it's not the end of the world. Give her encouragement. Empower her. She can raise that child alone, if she has to. She can get her degree, if she wants to. She can be a success in life if she works for it. She can have a happy marriage and family, if she wants one.
Success is not linear. It is not what is taught in high school. Life is not High School Graduation, College Graduation, Career, Marriage, House, Family. That's what I was taught. That's what was drilled into my brain. That is unrealistic. That is unhealthy.
That's your job as a parent. To look past your child's mistakes (well, not all, like serious crimes) and focus on building them up, raising them to be strong, independent productive adults. That's your job. Not to look at them with disapproving eyes, with sadness due to your own failures--or imagined failures and guilt. Get mad, get sad, get over it. It's not healthy for anyone, especially that grandbaby.
Yes, if any of my kids become teen parents, I'm going to get mad, but I'm also going to be supportive, try to help them do the right thing. Give them the encouragement and love; not judgement and guilt.