March 10, 2009,
A.A. asks from San Antonio, TX on January 07, 2009
Attitude Toward Teen Pregnancy
I had an interesting conversaton with my girls the other day (they are twins). One told me she didn't think she wanted to get married when she was older but she does want to have a baby.
In addition, to all the issues in that, they have a cousin who is 19 and pregnant. When I explained to them that God intends us to get married and they have children (among other things). They said, "well -- is prenant." I tried to contain myself and said that was because she had a made a bad choice and now the baby was going to pay the price. They heard so -- is a bad person and she going to be punished?
Does anyone have advise how to explain this to my children or did I take a simple comment to far and just kept digging the hold dipper?
S.R. answers from Odessa on January 08, 2009
What you said and what they heard seem to be two different things. You said that she had made a bad choice. Life is all about choices and the consequences do often affect and impact the lives of the innocent.
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J.R. answers from Austin on January 08, 2009
I am 63 and would try to get the girls to look at it from the child's view. The child will be loved but we all know how peers, especially girls can be critically speaking. The child would be denied 2 parents. The mother would have to work so much more to keep themselves above water. There is a lot of good life out there but babies are a huge responsibility, which should be the mother's, not the grandparents.
If the one twin wants to have a child later on, that is years down the road. There are things to do to prepare for such decisions and it could be they were feeling you out, just to see if they could "get you".
L.A. answers from Austin on January 07, 2009
Hmm, we all want our children to make the right decisions. When they do not make good decisions, we cannot blame them, we can just support them.
If your children make wrong choices, do you tell them "you are so bad, you spilled your water"? "You are a bad person because you did not do your homework".
I would go back to your girls and explain what you are hoping they will do. Go to school, get a job, travel, find the person they love, get married and then have children, whatever your wishes for them are.
Then explain that cousin skipped lots of those things, so you are worried that it will be harder for her. That there are good choices and choices that if not considered can really change our lives.
Of course do this in sections over a few days. Talk first about how you will always love them no matter what. How you will always be proud of them no matter what they do, but that you can be very be disappointed if they do not behave in respectful and thoughtful ways. My mother told me this when I was young. She told me she would always be on my side even if I did the worst crime ever. She would also always love me no matter what, but that did not mean her feelings would not be hurt or she would not be disappointed with my bad choices. This empowered me to always know I was loved. I have gone through life knowing that I will always have someone there for me. I also am a pleaser so I made choices that would not hurt or disappoint my mom (myself later).
Let your girls know now that going to school is not just 12 years. That then they will go to college.
Then ask them what kinds of jobs would like to work at. Then ask them if they could travel anywhere in the world where would they go? Then ask them what kind of home would they like to live in, what kind of pets would they have, what color would their living room be? What color do they think their husband's hair will be?
Eventually get to the point that it is hard to get to this point if you have a baby before you finish all of these tasks.
Also let them know it can be done with their cousin, because I am sure the entire family is going to support her no matter what because she is family.
I had a friends mom once tell us, "do not make fun of other peoples children, you do not know how your OWN, will turn out!" I always assumed she also meant do not judge, also.
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S.K. answers from Houston on January 08, 2009
I was 17 when I had my son. I am now 32. So when you say --- is being "punished" and that the child will "pay" for what the mother did. That really hits a nerve. I was raised the way you are teaching your daughters. No sex before mariage and that the family unit consists of a mother and father etc. I do see that it was a sin what I did and that I was wrong BUT I do not feel that God "punishes" us for these type of things. My son was and is a blessing in my life! Yes, times were hard. My friends were out doing things that I could not do because I had someone at home to take care of. I was responsible for another human being at the ripe age of 17! That was hard. But I NEVER thougth of it as a punishment! And I don't think my son ever felt that way either.
You must be careful how you word things to your children.
now that being said. My son is about to turn 14. We have had the birds and bees talk and when he asked about my age, I was honest and I did tell him that I know that what I did was wrong and that yes it was hard. It would be even harder now. Times have changed and people are less responisble than ever. I told him that I hope and pray that he is careful and decides to wait. The consequences are tough, yes. BUT he is the greatest reward ever!!
I'm sure all moms on here who were teenage moms would agree.
You get enough criticism from strangers and "so called" friends. If you are her family you should be supportive! I had my share of family members just like you who criticized and told me I was an embarrassment to my family etc. Well I have to say, I feel that my son and I have turned out just fine! As a matter of fact. His father and I married when our son was two. We are still together and very much in love. We have a daughter as well. Things CAN work out for the best, but you and your daughters should not shun this girl. You should love and support her more now than ever!
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C.H. answers from Houston on January 08, 2009
First, let me start by saying that I gave birth to my first child three weeks prior to my 17th birthday, I'm now 40. Further more, I agree it is God's plan to get married and then have children. So, how to explain this to my girls (8 & 10) will be challenging to say the least.
My advice, when the opportunity presents itself to chat with your girls again about this topic or you can start the conversation with saying something like "What I said the other didn't come across the way intended, can I try again? Let's talk"
1. There are always consequences with the choices we make in life. Good consequences as well as bad. The choices we make create our tomorrow. However, when we make bad choices we can correct and move on with life.
Bad choices can make life that much more challenging and difficult and produce struggles we couldn't imagine prior to the choice we made. Being a young, single mom definately has it struggles and changes everything in life.
Good choices can make life fun, rewarding and exciting along with the challenges that inspire us to keep moving forward to follow after our dreams and passions.
2. Does making a wrong choice mean we are a bad person. No, you gotta remember God's grace and forgiveness as well as the scripture that states "all things are permisable but not profitable" But it can alter one's life drasticly, like teen pregnancy can do.
3. Stick to what you wish for your girls. Your dreams and hopes for them. Share your heart with your girls about what matters to you. Tell them the choice you wish they would make regarding sex, marriage and children. Be straight up honest with them and don't hold back. BECAUSE everywhere they look and the things they listen to are strongly giving their opinions REPEATEDLY. Help your girls sort through the media's message and how to handle that.
If you have any questions regarding my experience with teen pregnancy, you can email me privately.
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C.M. answers from Cleveland on January 08, 2009
Having been pregnant as a teen (18 to be exact) I think there are some better ways about this discussion. I think kids need to be reminded that the ability to have a child is a gift from God first and foremost. It is not ideal to get pregnant prior to getting married and preparing for a loving family, that is what God teaches us. However, I would not even say it's a bad choice if someone chooses to have sex and gets pregnant prior to marriage, it is a choice they have to deal with and we all hope they make the right decisions. Nor would I phrase it as something that the child is going to have to pay the price for. There are a lot of loving teen parents that have amazing children. Yes it is tough to be a teen parent, it's tough to have kids regardless of where you are in your life. Just because you are a teen parent does not mean that your child is going to suffer the consequences of your choice to have sex as a teen.
Having two children of my own now, and still with my husband who I got pregnant with at 18, I am seeing things very different than I did as a child growing up. I think it is very important to discuss sex with your children when they can fully understand what it means and the consequences of having sex. The bottom line that I contine to believe is the ability to have children is a gift. There are so many people out there that cannot have children and there are so many people that can and take it for granted. Our children need to understand that sex is not a game, children are not toys, and our lives are what we make of it.
I think you have started in the right direction with your girls, but now you need to go back to them with clarification so they do not continue to think someone is a bad person and is going to be punished. Additionally, they need to see that although their cousin has made this coice, the family is hopefully going to be supportive of her and whatever decisions she makes.
Had I not had the support of my family as a pregnant teen things may have been a little different, but I still would be a college graduate, supporting my family the way I do today!
Best of luck.
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K.A. answers from Austin on January 08, 2009
I just wanted to say that I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant, and while I don't believe I was or am a bad person, I definitly made some bad choices and it is important to try and explain the difference. My daughter is now 9 years old and I try to be as open with her as I can(with out being inappropriate)when she ask these difficult questions. Its harder in my situation because I need for her to know that while I made decisions I shouldn't have, she is still an amazing person and a gift from God. I told my daughter that life was harder for us because of the choices I made and that when we pay attention to Gods plan things tend to work out better. God is not giving us rules to follow just because he likes to watch us jump through hoops and punish us when we fail. He gives us rules to live by because he loves us and wants what is best for us. God is a loving father, and so he does what any loving parent would do. He gives his children limitations to keep them safe. But that is not to say that when his children fail he does not forgive. As any loving parent would do to there own child, he welcomes us back with open arms.
I hope this helps
Oh and in answer to your other question,
I think that girls start to have crushes way before boys know whats going on...
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H.P. answers from Norfolk on January 07, 2009
I think that as unfortunate as teen pregnancy can be, condemning the mother or child is not in anyone's best interest. Some people make mistakes, other's are so emotionally for lack of a better term "messed up" that they feel the only way they can feel love is by having a baby. And what about the poor girls who have been raped, but don't believe in abortion? I think that the best bet would be to explain that the better choice would be to wait on sex until marriage. But in this day and age that doesn't always happen. I would let them know that it's the ideal and that it's expected in your household, but other people believe differently and sometimes they don't expect for things to happen. That's how I would do it. Hope things work out for you.
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T.N. answers from Phoenix on January 30, 2009
My husband was born to a 19 year old mother and he has paid the price. She's a sweet, good woman, but her life has been chaotic and stressful trying to raise a son as a young single mother and it was a difficult, unstable childhood that I wouldn't wish on anyone. She was a hard worker, which I admire, but she was so busy working trying to provide that she was never around. It's such a difficult situation for all involved and my husband has made sure he made choices that were different so his life wouldn't be like hers, and he's a happy, well-adjusted adult who has learned that her problems and her life don't have to be his. I agree completely that children deserve to be born to committed, loving parents who can afford them both emotionally and financially (and I'm just talking about basic food and shelter and love here). It's just not fair to the child. But even if that's the ideal, people can still make a life for themselves full of happiness and good choices to follow.
I will teach my children the ideal and hope they live it, but I will also make 3 things clear: 1) I will love and accept them no matter what, 2) I am confident in their ability to make good choices, and 3) I'm not going to rescue them from choices they make. I will love and support them no matter what they do, but they will grow up knowing that they need to think long and hard before making decisions, because decisions have consequences both good and bad.
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M.G. answers from Austin on January 08, 2009
I don't attempt to have an answer, but I do want to give you a heads up on just having this conversation. MOre parents need to do this. Point out the fact that this child will more then likely be brought up in an environment without the daddy, or if the daddy is around they are going to have to work very hard to even feed the baby because they are not ready to have a home... So many negative items to point out. One of the hardest situations for a child is to grow up without a Dad and MOM and a stable home.
Keep talking to them,f they need to hear the truth. Always point out babys are a gift from GOD and we should be ready to accept the gift and love it forever, which means we have to give so much of ourselves and are they ready to give up all those exra's.
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