Mama Nkechi wept and asked God why she was going through such a situation. Every morning, she would abuse and curse her daughter, Nkechi, for bringing shame to her family. Nkechi was a 15-year-old student in a boarding school when she was impregnated by her classmate. She didn’t know how to go about it; so, she confided in her classmate, Doris, who gave her some drugs to take in order to abort the pregnancy. She fainted six hours after taking the drugs and was rushed to a hospital by the school authorities where she was tested to be pregnant. Nkechi was expelled from school! I want to do this! What’s this? For some parents, finding out that their teenage daughter is pregnant is very difficult. Parents wonder where they went wrong and they try to figure out how their daughter could have been so irresponsible. They feel many emotions: anger, guilt, happiness and shock, all at the same time. So, here are a few tips on how parents can cope when their teenage daughter is pregnant. 1. Be supportive. If you are angry or scared, you should always be supportive of your daughter. Let her know that you will be there for her during this trying time. Assure her that you are only upset and that you do not hate her. Above all, assure her that you will not leave her. 2. Discuss all of the options for handling the pregnancy. Tell her what to expect before, during and after the birth of the baby. Clearly explain each of the options. Tell her which option you feel would be best for her situation, but do not force that option on her. 3. Talk about the baby’s father. Find out who he is. Find out what kind of person he is and what kind of background he has. It may even be a good idea to have some talk with the baby’s father to see how he feels about the situation. 4. Check to make sure your daughter gets the medical attention she needs and stays as healthy as possible. This is especially important if she plans to keep the baby. Offer to take her to doctor’s appointments and always be there for her. 5. Help your daughter prepare for the baby’s arrival. Help her purchase the things she will need to start and help her set up the nursery. Explain to her how to use the various things. 6. Accept being a grandparent. Being a grandparent is one of the greatest things in the world. Make sure that your daughter understands that you are the grandparent and not the parent. Set limits and stick with them. Make sure she always takes her role as a mother serious. It is okay to help with the baby, but it is not your job to become the parent. 7. Talk with other parents who have been through a similar situation. Find out how they coped and what they are doing now to cope with the situation. Support groups are wonderful ways to cope with issues when you are unsure of what to do. 8. Encourage your daughter to complete her education. Most teenage mothers do not complete high school. Today, many school programmes allow the teenage mother to complete her high school diploma. 9. Do not argue to explode. This will make the situation worse and may encourage your daughter to run away. It is okay to express your anger or emotions, but do it in a positive way.
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