How To Tell Your Parents
No teenage girl wants to have to tell her parents that she is pregnant and no parent of a teenage girl wants to hear that news. Still, if you are a pregnant teenager, it is important to tell your parents and allow them to help you through the experience. This article offers some ideas about how to tell your parents that you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant, you have three basic choices. You can give birth to the baby and keep it. You can give birth to the baby and give it up for adoption. Or you can have an abortion. If you’ve chosen one of the first two options, your parents definitely need to know—your changing body will make it easy for them to guess anyway. If you tell them yourself, rather than waiting for them to notice it, you will have much more control over where the conversation takes place and how it goes.
If you choose the third option, abortion, you may be able to keep your parents in the dark. However, some states have parental notification or consent laws. Even if your state doesn’t, you should tell your parents that you have been through something so important and potentially life-altering.
The only reason not to tell your parents is if they have a history of abuse and you fear for your safety. If this is the case, contact a women’s clinic or hospital and make an appointment to see their social worker.
Before you talk to your parents, double check the results of the pregnancy test. Some of the early-detection tests are not very accurate and may give false positive readings.
If you are sure you are pregnant, take a day or two to think through your options.
Plan what you are going to say to your parents. Do you want to talk to them together or would you rather tell one of them before the other?
Find a time to speak to your parent or parents in private, when they have some time to talk and are not rushing off to work or another commitment. If it is hard to catch them in a free moment, ask them to schedule some time to talk to you about something serious.
Tempting as it may be to tell your parents in a public place, like a restaurant, avoid this impulse. Tempers run high at such a moment, voices may get raised, and you don’t want a bunch of strangers witnessing a big fight between you and your parents.
Most parents of pregnant teens try to be supportive, but just in case the talk goes badly and they throw you out of the house, or you feel unsafe and want to leave, it’s a good idea to have a Plan B. Could you stay with your baby’s father or with one of your girlfriends for a couple of days? Is there another relative who might take you in?
There is no way you can cushion your parents from the natural shock and grief they will feel when you tell them you’re pregnant. There’s no gentle lead in, no way to make a joke of it, and it’s cruel to make them guess. The mature thing to do, once you have your parents alone in a private place is to simply say, “Mom, Dad, I’m pregnant.”
Be prepared for an intense emotional reaction, such as crying or yelling. Be prepared, too, to answer questions about who the father is, how the pregnancy happened (for instance, were you not using birth control or did your birth control fail), and what you plan to do now.
Some parents may take over and start making plans for you. Although this may feel very comforting at the time, make sure your voice is also heard, especially if you and your parents have different ideas about how the pregnancy should be handled.
There is no “typical” reaction to hearing the news that one’s daughter is pregnant. Some parents are immediately reassuring, others may be angry, still others will try to ignore (deny) the news.
If your parents have an extreme reaction, give them a few days to pull it together. Then approach them again. Hopefully they will be calmer and more able to give you the support you need once the idea has sunk in.
Having to tell your parents that you are pregnant is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. But if you can be direct and honest with them, they may turn into a valuable source of support and comfort.