Helping Your Pregnant, Unwed Daughter


An unwanted pregnancy has ripple effects, according to Dr. Lawrence Steinberg in You and Your Adolescent. You can expect your daughter to be extremely affected by the change of course her life has suddenly taken. Some of those changes could include a dramatic break-up with her current boyfriend, a loss of supportive friends, and a drop in school performance. Your teenage daughter may begin to feel very down on herself. This is where you, as a parent, can make the biggest difference in her life. The following suggestions will help.


  • Don't place blame. Realize that your daughter’s pregnancy cannot be blamed on any one person. Do not allow your daughter to escape responsibility by merely blaming her boyfriend. However, help her to realize that the entire misfortune is not just her fault.

  • Don't make your daughter’s decisions for her. You may have in mind the direction you feel that your teenager should take, but your ideas may not reflect hers. You may give advice regarding your daughter’s decision to keep the baby or not, but ultimately the decision should be hers. “When girls are pressured into a decision, their relationship with their parents may be permanently damaged. Girls who are forced to give a baby up for adoption often become pregnant again soon after, ‘replacing’ the baby (and the decision) that was taken from them, says Steinberg.

  • Don't treat her differently. Your daughter is still the young teenager she was yesterday. She may physically be undergoing a tremendous change, but she still has many emotional and spiritual needs. Continue to openly show your love for her.


  • Continue to be supportive of your daughter and her efforts. Continue to cheer your daughter on in the things she enjoys. Allow and encourage her to maintain an interest in her own personal hobbies, and ask her to share her accomplishments with you.

  • Advise your teenager to remain in school. Staying in school will teach your teenager the importance of dedication and accomplishment. It will also provide her with an opportunity to expand her talents during a time that may never again present itself. If your daughter does take time off to have the baby, support her and encourage her in her decision to return.

  • Be excited about the arrival of the baby. Being excited about the baby, if your daughter has chosen to keep the child, will help your daughter feel more accepted.

  • Seek family counseling, if desired. “If you feel that the pregnancy is tearing the family apart—if you are fighting with your daughter and/or your spouse rather than dealing with the problem—we strongly recommend family counseling," says Steinberg.