When parents learn that they are going to be grandparents, it’s usually a time for celebration and joy. However, when the parents-to-be are still in their teen years, it can bring a mixture of emotions, ranging from frustration and disappointment to happiness for the new family member. The new parents will need a lot of support, and their parents are the best source of guidance, information and mentoring.
If you are the parents of a teen boy who will soon become a father, there are several things parents can do to help their son make the very best of this difficult and wonderful transition into adulthood. Here are 3 tips that parents of teen sons can follow to ensure that everyone involved—the father, the mother and the baby—have the best chance of happiness and health.
1. Look Forward, Not Backward
While many parents would prefer that their teenagers weren’t engaging in sexual activity and definitely not become pregnant, the time for judgement and punishment for such behavior is long past. Parents must realize that no matter how disappointed they are, their focus must be on the future and the well-being of their child and future grandchild. Lectures, punishments and holding grudges have no place in the parent-teen relationship at this point. Parents need to become part of the team that ensures the teenagers have the best shot at success.
2. Keep Teen Fathers Involved
A pregnant teenage girl can’t help but deal with her changing condition on a daily basis, but it’s all too common for teenage boys to distance themselves from the situation. Avoiding the realities of becoming a teenage father is the easy way out, and parents must make sure their teen sons are not only involved but live up to their responsibilities. This includes learning about prenatal care, accompanying the teen girl to various doctor visits, and having serious discussions about what the future will look like for all three of them. Teenage sons really need the guidance of their parents at this time, and should be encouraged to get involved in the situation he helped to create.
3. Plan for the Future
With the teen girl’s parents, the parents of the teenage boy and the father and mother to be need to get together to figure out what the future holds for everyone. Options must be discussed and discarded as needed, and the needs of everyone should be met as well as possible. No single scenario will be best for everyone, so compromise and generosity should be the guiding factors in planning for the future. The teens will need help in weighing their options and making choices, from abortion or adoption to keeping the baby and determining what that kind of future involves. Family therapy and professional counseling is a key part of making the right decisions. Parents of teen sons must look out for their child’s health and well-being while being generous and fair with the mother of his child.It’s a big responsibility to deal with teen pregnancy and no single solution will work for every situation. Parents of teenage boys in this situation must be encouraging, understanding, firm and work hard to hold him accountable for his decisions and their consequences. With the right balance, teenagers can have a successful life with a new level of maturity that will help them move forward on whatever path they choose.