What to Do When Your 18 Year Old Daughter Announces Her Second Pregnancy
When your daughter comes to you and tells you that she is pregnant, especially if just a teenager, you need to be there to offer understanding and guidance. She needs your support in every way possible. If she comes back to you and announces she is pregnant again, at the age of 18, you still need to offer her your support. However, you may want to look at your responsibilities towards your daughter. There are some questions you may want to ask yourself.
Where you giving your daughter a free ride at home?
Most 18 year olds are not ready to move out and support themselves, much less a baby, so it is wonderful to have your child and grandchildren in your home, but it should not be free. It is not unreasonable to charge a token amount of rent. Or instead of rent, your daughter needs to take on extra responsibilities around the house. Your daughter should be preparing at least 1/3 of all the meals. She should be helping in doing other maintenance work around the house, such as pruning the trees, painting the house, refinishing the deck. These are the responsibilities of adults.
Where you taking too much responsibility for your daughter’s first child?
Yes, you still want your daughter to have her own childhood, but it should be tempered with her new responsibilities. You should not be the one taking care of your daughter’s children, except in a way that helps your daughter better their lives. It is one thing to offer childcare so that your daughter can go to school or work so that she can have a higher standard of living and stay off of government assistance. It is quite another to allow your daughter the full care-free life of a teenager by allowing her to skip out on waking up every three hours to feed the baby, giving the baby it’s baths, or taking her child to doctor’s appointments. She made choices of action and must deal with each choice’s consequences. That is a fact of life for all children from the earliest age.
Have you discussed sexual choices and pregnancy prevention?
Your daughter most likely knows and understands the birds and the bees, but does she understand the moral consequences of her actions? It’s not just having and caring for a child, but making sure that her child have what they need later in life. The limitations she is putting on herself. The example she is setting. Does she wish for her children to struggle in the same way? Does she know the various forms of birth control available to her? If the pill is too difficult to remember to take at the exact same time every day, has she considered a long-term birth control option such as the NuvaRing (once monthly), Depo-Provera shots (once every four months), or an IUD (once every five years)? Although, continue to stress the importance of condom use too.
At this point, you need to sit back with your daughter and discuss all her options. If she chooses to have the baby, she does not need to raise the child; she could opt for giving the baby up for adoption. She could choose a closed, semi-open or fully open adoption. It is a valid choice. Sometimes it takes more love to entrust another loving family to raise your child than trying to do it yourself when you are not ready and overwhelmed.
If your daughter does decide to keep the baby, you need to set the ground rules of what you expect:
- Your daughter must be gaining an education
- Your daughter must have some type of job: Welcome to adulthood!
- Your daughter must be doing the majority of childcare
- Your daughter must get on a more reliable form of birth control after the birth
Take the answers you gave yourself to the above questions and use that as a starting point to determine the details.
If you decide to cut your daughter off completely, give her time to get her stuff together. Tell her sooner rather than later. Do not do it in anger. It takes time to find a place to live and childcare. You do not want your grandchildren to suffer for the mistakes of their mother.