Pregnant teenagers abandoned by their parents are faced with considerable obstacles. When exploring this topic, it is necessary to look at the subject of abandonment on a number of different levels to get a sense of the impact this type of parental neglect has on their children.
Pregnant Teenagers Abandoned by Their Parents
No matter why the teenager became pregnant, there may have been a family dynamic at work--or not at work. Two basic views of abandonment come into play when it comes to teen pregnancies.
- The teen was abandoned as a child
- The teen's parents "disown" her for becoming pregnant
In either case, the condition is extremely difficult. Teenage girls may not realize the seriousness of the situation until they experience the stages of pregnancy. Parenting a newborn is a considerable challenge and the absence of a stable home is very problematic for the mother and the child.
Many teenage girls who become pregnant have abandonment issues themselves. The Door's Prenatal Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens states that their caregivers abandoned 40 percent of the pregnant teens in the program's demographics. Other factors in the program's statistics include:
- Physical abuse
Abandonment is among the most significant forms of trauma contributing to the incidence of teenage pregnancy, but many teens become pregnant who do not necessarily have considerable abandonment issues.
Some teenage girls may feel neglected and, even if the parents have not abandoned her completely, she may engage in reckless behavior for a number of reasons, such as:
- Desperately wanting attention
- Wanting to replace paternal love with a boyfriend's love
- Seeking unconditional love
Abandoned Pregnant Teens
Pregnant teens abandoned by their parents may have different experiences. In some cases, the parents disown their young girls for getting themselves into the life-changing situation. When parents choose to do this, serious ramifications soon follow for everyone involved. Teenage pregnancy statistics are not promising for very young mothers, especially if they do not have a strong family support system. In fact, pregnant teenagers abandoned by their parents are:
- Less likely to finish high school
- Not likely to attend college or further their education
- Unable to develop work skills
- Unable to find childcare
- More likely to live in poverty
The teen is naturally faced with a considerable burden that weighs on her physically and financially. The teen's problems become increasingly worse if the father of the baby refuses to provide support, whether financial or emotional, to the mother and child.
Coping with an unplanned pregnancy is extremely difficult for adults and pregnant teens are at great risk. Having a family as a support system is an integral part of the teen's success. Without the family support system, she is more likely to have difficulty coping with the financial, emotional, and physical demands of becoming a new mother on her own.
Parental responsibility is necessary for those who have pregnant teenage girls. Disowning a child at any age is irresponsible and the ramifications ripple into the community. Parents of the teenagers need to be involved in their lives, especially during such a trying time. Responsibly does not end when a child goes against a parent's will.
Just as teenagers require support and guidance, so do parents who are faced with the untimely challenge of becoming grandparents. Resources are available for parents who have a pregnant teen in their homes.
- The United Way offers programs for pregnant teenagers and their parents in many states. Visitors can select their state to find more information.
- Planned Parenthood has centers and services searchable by location.
- The local school district or guidance counselor should be able to help parents of pregnant teens to find a program.
Getting over the shock and disappointment can be extremely difficult and it may be helpful to find a family therapist or counselor for support. No matter how angry parents may be that their child has become pregnant at such a young age, it is definitely not time for them to leave her to fend for herself. There are two lives at stake that need guidance, acceptance, and love.