How Parents Can Prevent Teenage Pregnancy

Early pregnancy: pregnant at 16 - what now?

A positive pregnancy test, the decision to have a child, but often also a whole series of problems: How will the parents react? What will happen to the school and the apprenticeship? What kind of support is there? We give tips on how young mothers and their parents can cope with the situation.

What?! So young and already a child?

"That doesn't have to be the case today. There are so many contraceptives." or "No wonder she's pregnant, as provocative as she comes across." Many young mothers have to endure whispering classmates and disapproving looks. It's not that easy to always deal with it loosely and not let it touch you.

It often helps to exchange ideas with girls in the same situation, advises Eva Zattler from the pro familia pregnancy counseling in Munich. Many young mothers are active in forums and chats on the Internet who seek contact with other teenage mothers and at the same time offer an open ear, advice and help.

In addition, in most of the larger cities there are groups of young mothers and pregnant women who are looked after by private or state pregnancy counseling centers. In addition to competent support and personal exchange, the girls and their offspring can do something together, for example to the zoo or to the cinema.

Even if they cannot really understand the circumstances, openly talking to parents and friends about the problems, worries and fears can sometimes still help. This is the only way they can put themselves in the young mother's shoes and support her better.

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Who is mother, grandmother and grandson now?

A lot will change with the birth of the child at the latest. The new grandmother knows that best. Whether changing diapers, bathing, feeding - she wants to be involved everywhere. Most of the time, it is well-intentioned when she looks over her shoulders, especially in the first few weeks, of her daughter, comments on her actions and actively relieves her of all kinds of tasks. This can sometimes go too far for the young mother, as she knows how to take care of her protégé.

"It is very important to draw a line between the generations and to adhere to them," says Eva Zattler. It should be clear from the start who the grandmother, mother and grandchild are and how to behave in each position. Even if it is not always easy to suddenly perceive your own daughter, the teenager, in the mother's role as an adult, constant disputes over the question of who is the better mother now are nerve-wracking and can put a lot of strain on the relationship.

Spatial separation can be helpful: It makes sense to have your own four walls or a separate area in the parents' house or apartment, where the mother can withdraw with her offspring and occupy herself alone, says pregnancy advisor Eva Zattler.

Ade youth?

"From now on you can forget about meeting friends every evening and going to the disco until early in the morning on the weekend." Parents should refrain from making such comments. Of course, the life of your daughter will change fundamentally after the birth of her child and she will certainly have less time for her own activities, but the parents should not imagine horror scenarios of a joyless youth for her. Many young mothers really appreciate the fact that they can leave their protégé in the care of grandma and grandpa on a fixed day of the week. Then you can relax, shop in peace or go out with friends in the evening.

And the young father?

Have you just outgrown childhood, taken your first steps into a self-determined life and in a few months your first child will be born? Not an easy situation - even if it is clear to the young father that he wants to be there for the mother and the child and to support them both as best he can. Especially when the girlfriend's parents are not at all enthusiastic about him: "He can't even take care of himself, let alone a baby. And besides, you will soon be alone. The next opportunity he will do from the dust. "

Such an attitude does not necessarily make it easy for the father to develop a good relationship with his son or daughter. But that's important. If contact with his child is important to him, he should also see it and be able to deal with it. He doesn't have to move into his parents' home with the young mother right away, but he shouldn't be denied regular visits.

In any case: finish school and apprenticeship

The Federal Government's recently presented poverty report shows that single mothers are a risk group and increasingly have to live with a low income. A good education can prevent you from slipping into a financially precarious position. Eva Zattler urgently recommends that young mothers should end their interrupted school or training.

Still, going back to school eight weeks after the birth and wanting to graduate doesn't make much sense. With the child's mind, it is difficult to concentrate on math, English, and biology. In addition, it is difficult for the baby to develop a close bond with its birth mother if she is not cared for for many hours a day - which is also not exactly desirable.

And there is one more thing young mothers should keep in mind when planning their future education: school is usually easier to combine with caring for your child than education. If the child keeps you busy all afternoon or if you are sick, the material can be learned more easily and a school lesson can be deleted more easily. In the workplace, on the other hand, where the reliability of employees is required, you can react less flexibly.

Where can I get professional support?

Scientific Advice
Eva Zattler, pro familia Munich