It is normal for the parents to have some very emotional feelings about their daughter’s pregnancy. It is normal for them to feel frightened, worried, sad, angry, betrayed or disappointed. The following contains some helpful advice for parents to help them understand and support their daughter.
Listening To Your Daughter
The single most important thing you can do is listen to what your daughter says about how she feels. It is very important that your daughter feels comfortable making the decision and that she feels that she is the primary decision-maker. This may mean that you need to take a step back and let her think this through. By all means, tell her what you think and how her decision will affect you, but understand that this must truly be her decision.
While most women feel relieved after making their decision, many continue to experience other feelings like sadness, loss, anger or guilt. It is helpful to know the warning signs of poor coping:
1. Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
2. Not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time
3. Unable to concentrate, suddenly doing poorly in school
4. Persistent crying
5. Cutting herself off from friends, staying in her room constantly
6. Not caring about her looks or what she wears
7. Excessive anger or irritability
8. Hinting about suicide or talking about death
How Are You Doing?
As a parent, your feelings are important, too. Here are some common ones:
Disappointment. You thought she knew better. Try to remember a time when you disappointed your parents and what you needed from them then. Tell her she is still your daughter and that you love her.
Sadness. Your sadness is a sign of your concern. Frequently, this experience can help her “grow up” and understand life a little more maturely.
Anger. You have the right to feel anger and it may be helpful for you to find another adult to talk to. Name-calling and criticism don’t prevent future mistakes.
Rejected. Your daughter may have made a different choice than you would have, and she may have different ideas of morality, but she hasn’t rejected you. She is just making a choice that is best for her at this time in her life.
Hurt and betrayed. You might think a trust has been broken and it’ll take time to mend it. Continue to talk, give it the time and effort needed.
Protective. No parent can know what their children are doing 24 hours a day. If you shelter her, you will only cripple her ability to make good choices for her life.
Failure. No parent can be totally responsible for their children’s behavior? good or bad. You can only teach and guide. Sometimes, experience is the best teacher.
Confused and defeated. You did nothing wrong, you did your best. Now you can try to help her.