Family Support for Teen Moms
The children of teen mothers have greater risks for health and emotional problems than those born to older moms, but there are many things that you can do as a parent or grandparent to improve their chances. Early pre-natal care is of utmost importance.
Whether you are the parent or grandparent, you need to address your feelings about the pregnancy. If you are upset or depressed, get counseling, join a group or look for state resources. Many states have programs that are specifically aimed at helping teenage parents and their families. One way to ensure that the baby is happy and healthy is to make sure that the family he is born into is happy and healthy too.
Research has shown that children of teen mothers do best when the infant’s grandmother is available to help with the child’s care and the teenager is allowed to finish school. But, because of work or other obligations, there may be no family member to care for an infant while mom goes to school.
If that is the case, there are daycare centers sponsored by churches and local governments. In some areas, there are even childcare facilities at the high school. Search for resources and answers. Don’t give up, because finishing her education is one of the most important things that she can do for her future.
Children of teen mothers are 50% more likely to suffer from low birth weight than those born to older moms. That problem can be avoided by educational counseling on nutrition and avoiding things that can damage the health of the unborn child, such as drugs, smoking and drinking alcohol. Working together, the doctors and parents of the teenager can provide the support that she and her baby desperately need during this high risk pregnancy.
It is important for the teenager to continue to participate in positive social interaction: school clubs, church groups, etc. But it is also important for her to realize that hanging out with her friends right now may not be the best choice for her baby.
She needs plenty of sleep, good food and nutritional support. Doctors usually prescribe pre-natal vitamins, but pregnant teenagers often forget to take them. This is another place where the teen’s parents can help.
Once the baby is born, it is easy for any new mom to become overwhelmed with responsibility. It is still important to focus on good nutrition and healthful risk. When grandparents are there to help, the children of teen mothers are at lower risk. But, if you are a grandparent, remember not to help too much. Your daughter needs to know that she is capable of taking care of her own child.
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