Teenage Pregnancy & Back to School: It’s About the Support System

Did you know that in two-thirds of teenage pregnancy cases, the mom drops out of high school? That is incredibly upsetting. A high school diploma should be a priority for teen moms, as it can help pave the way to a better future for both mom and baby. Yet so many young girls find that they just can’t handle the stress and stigma that teenage pregnancy brings. Something has to give, and often that something is their education. With the right support system and reasonable expectations, though, girls can go back to school after a teenage pregnancy and succeed in getting a diploma.

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Coping with teenage pregnancy and adjusting to life as a new mom is challenging. A good support system is vital to succeeding, not only as a mom, but as a student as well. When it comes to needing support, teenagers need to know that they’re not alone. Every new mom needs family and friends to lean on, whether she has her baby at 15 or 35. The sad thing is, while many are willing to offer support to the frazzled new mom in her 30s, we seem less willing to offer it in cases of teenage pregnancy. Sometimes family members withdraw support to “teach a lesson” about how hard parenting is. You know what? Chances are good that she already knows!  Trying to teach a lesson by forcing her to make a go on her own is just cruel. No one can do it alone.

How to Support Your Daughter When She Goes Back to School After Teenage Pregnancy

Supporting your daughter’s efforts to go back to school after a teenage pregnancy is one of the best gifts you can give her. It’s important, though, to lay down some ground rules for what your support will entail.

  • Set reasonable expectations together. Before she heads back to school, sit down with your daughter and set expectations as a team. What are you willing to do to help her succeed? Will you watch the baby every day during school hours? Do you expect her home immediately after classes let out for the day? Will you give her “free time” to hang out with friends once a week? Setting the ground rules and expectations early reduces the risk of misunderstandings and fights later. Let her know that you are not taking over her role as mom, but will be there to help her succeed in school.
  • Maintain basic rules. Technically, in most states, teenage pregnancy emancipates your child from you in the eyes of the law. This means that your daughter can legally move out and live by all her own rules. Of course, that’s not really the best option for any new young mom! You may be tempted to let her create her own rules just to keep that from happening! Remember, though, that even though she’s a mom herself, she’s still a child in many other ways. If she had a curfew before her teenage pregnancy, she should have one after. Rules will help provide structure, which in turn will help her succeed when she goes back to school.
  • Be alert for bullying issues. Going back to school often means facing the stigma that often accompanies teenage pregnancy. Bullying hurts no matter who you are, but dealing with it on top of trying to be a new mom while keeping up with studies can wreak havoc on your daughter’s emotional well-being. Be her advocate and let her know that you’re in her corner. Talk to her regularly about how things are going at school and address any bullying problems with the proper authorities.
  • Consider alternative schooling options. Not all parents of teen moms have the option of helping their daughter care for her new baby during school hours. Also, not all school settings are ideal for teen moms. If going back to school at your daughter’s regular school just isn’t a good option, consider the alternative. Schools that offer programs for teen moms are the best option. These schools often teach valuable parenting skills along with traditional course work. Plus, it gives young moms or those going through a teenage pregnancy a chance to interact with others in the same situation. Cyber School is also a good option for moms who need more flexibility.

Going back to school after a teenage pregnancy is definitely a challenge. There’s no way around that! But it’s also incredibly important to your daughter’s future. Helping her finish her education will provide her with so many more opportunities in the long run. It provides a better life for her and her baby.

8 thoughts on “Teenage Pregnancy & Back to School: It’s About the Support System”

  1. Great tips. An education is so important and teenage girls need to make sure that at a minimum they receive a high school diploma. Many times alternative programs are the answer but going back to a regular campus is doable too.

    Most high schools have well trained staff to assistant students and have many resources available to help the new mom outside of school too.

  2. Excellent post. Social pressure and let me just add religious hypocrisy are two crucial, very important factors affecting people who are in this situation. Instead of getting back to ones feet after a fall which happens to EVERYONE, people tend fall deeper into the abyss of depression and desperation. Which should not be the case.
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  3. Everyone makes mistakes, whether on purpose or not. I am going to stand behind my child always and ensure that they get a good education whether its the normal route or not!

  4. Both my teens have friends who have gotten pregnant in high school. Thankfully some of them have very supportive families who have encouraged them to stay in school and help with child care. I know I would want that for my daughter.

  5. This is an excellent post. We all know that accidents happen and some girls chose to get pregnant. Either way the mom to be has to take responsibility for her actions. If she chooses to keep her baby, hopefully her parents are supportive and will help her as much as possible. I don’t believe that shunning a child for wrong decisions is the way to go. I realize that a parent has a right to be upset but kicking their daughter out for having a baby is not going to help her financially, her self esteem, let alone the chances of her finishing school are significantly reduced.

    There are agencies out there that are willing to help teen moms to be successful.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I completely agree with you. My thoughts are that we can’t change the past. A teen girl can’t go back and undo her choices. Giving her the resources she needs to ensure that she and her baby still have a good future helps everyone in the long run. Not just the mom or the child, but society as a whole.

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