Teenage Son’s Girlfriend Is Pregnant, Wants to Raise Baby

frustrated man leaning against wall
How can we persuade our son and his girlfriend to think more seriously about what they're going to do with the baby they've conceived?

Our son and his girlfriend are both 18. He just graduated from high school and is leaving for college. Teen pregnancy is hard enough, but they don’t want to give up their baby for adoption. We’re providing all of our son’s financial support, and we don’t know how he’s going to care for a baby. What should we do?



Before we say anything else, it’s great to hear that your son and his girlfriend have decided to choose life instead of an abortion! That’s a huge step in the right direction. Still, as you’ve pointed out, it’s not clear how this young couple will manage to parent a child at this stage in their lives. Here’s what we’d recommend:

Do contact your local pregnancy resource center

A pregnancy resource center can offer practical help to your son and his girlfriend as they journey through the difficult realities of teen pregnancy. You can find the center nearest you by visiting the OptionLine website or looking under “Abortion Alternatives” in your local Yellow Pages.

According to some experts, most teen couples say they aren’t interested in the adoption alternative early in a pregnancy. But as time goes on and they consider what it really means to provide for a baby, reality starts to set in. At that point, many teens are willing to take a second look.

Don’t pressure your son and his girlfriend to decide on adoption right now

If you push them to make a decision about whether or not they will keep the baby, they may react by proudly proclaiming to you and everyone else that they’ve definitely made up their minds to become parents. And after making a public commitment like that, it will be a lot harder for them to change course and consider adoption later on.

Don’t agree to raise the child, pay all the expenses, and provide child care if they decide to keep the baby

If your son and his girlfriend tell you they’re going to keep the baby, say something like this:

We’re proud of you for choosing life for your child. Since you’ve decided to keep the baby, we don’t want to deny you the privilege of being parents in the fullest sense of the word. That means you will be responsible to provide for your child financially. You’ll also have to find a way to do all of the caregiving. That’s what parenting is all about!

Do be open to your son delaying college

It wouldn’t be the end of the world if your son delayed college for a while, got a job, and fulfilled the responsibility that he took on when he decided to have sex with his girlfriend.

Sometimes parents think that if their child doesn’t go to college straight out of high school, he never will. From there they jump to the conclusion that his future is ruined. But that’s simply not true.

Accepting his responsibility as a father might actually force your son to do a lot of growing up. We know it won’t be easy. Still, if he starts college later or goes part-time, he’ll likely end up being more committed to his education and get more out of it.

Do be open to professional counseling

We realize there are a lot of moving pieces to your situation. If you’d like to talk through what your family is facing, call our Counseling department for a free over-the-phone consultation.

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