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23 Feb 2004

what should i tell my child
hi, I was 16 when I had my daughter. She's now in grade 2 and I'm 24.. My concern is what should I tell my child when she start asking questions about me and falling pregnant so young. For instance a girl at her school asked me today how old I am.What if they do their math and "snap" it? and what if they tease her about it? How shuold I explain the whole thing to her? I married her father after she was born, but we got divorced 4 years ago. I've also been telling her that you should only have a baby after you get married. If there's anyone with some advice-pls advise!!!! The whole thing about teenasge pregnancy and the whole unwanted baby thing is not what I would what her to hear. I dont want her to feel unwanted or a burden or what ever! cause I love her to bits!
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01 Jan 0001

Dear tm,
I understand your concern, but things are likely to turn out fine. As you recognize, not only is it not wise to lie to one's children, as a general principle, but in a situation like this, the truth is likely to be disclosed by events and simple logic, anyway. Wouldn't it be best to at least open up the topic with your child, as something she can talk to you about, and base your discussions on the truth ?
For a start, kids are often more matter-of-fact about such things, not necessarily worrying about the larger social implications to the extent that we adults do, and are often less bothered by these issues than we might expect. As Glynis' experiences illustrates.
She is likely to form an impression of the significance of the facts, based much on your own reaction to them. If you behave towards her as if this is some enormous digrace, it will seem to her as if this must be so. If you convey that though you regret the timing of events, but that love is important though not always predictable, and that no-one has any right to criticize her about this, she is likely to absorb that attitude, too.
Secondly, the main parts of your message to your daughter are, surely, that you are her mother, and love her very much, and that you have been caring for her, as you will continue to do, since her birth. And your own experience could be used to warn her gently that teenage pregnancy is not a great idea, and is worth avoiding, but that it doesn't mean anything bad about the mother, or father, and especially, it means nothing bad about the resulting child.
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