Should this teen mom keep her baby

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Despite Sexual Education: Why Do Underage Women Get Pregnant?

It happens again and again that, despite sexual education and the knowledge of how and when a pregnancy can occur, underage women become pregnant.
Contraceptives are used incorrectly or fail. Sometimes a spontaneous passion led to rash and unprotected intercourse. Often, young people just let it come down to getting pregnant because they hope to get away from their parents' home or want to show the outside world that they can take on adult life and can now shape their lives on their own. Young women get pregnant unplanned, if not necessarily unintentionally.
Parents who become grandparents far too early see themselves planned in a new upbringing without being asked. The first reaction is usually a lack of understanding and anger about the pregnant daughter or the son who will become a father too early. In addition, there is concern about the future of one's own child, who, even a teenager, suddenly has to take on a mother or father role. Life plans that you had for yourself and your child are thrown overboard.

How can we as parents help when our underage child has a child of their own?

If your child, who is still in puberty and is in the middle of a school career or vocational training, suddenly has a child himself, this does not only mean a major turning point in your child's life. Your life will also change massively with the grandchild of an underage child.

Most of the time, parents see their underage daughter's pregnancy as a disaster at first. They believe that they can no longer take certain age-appropriate developmental steps. Suddenly the daughter finds herself in a situation that demands a way of life that is not at all appropriate for her age. As a parent, you may wonder whether such a young person can even handle the stress of being through puberty and having a child at the same time? They fear that the child's father (often still a minor himself) may leave the daughter to her fate. This is a difficult situation for the parents concerned.
It is nice if you can still stand behind your child, because underage mothers often feel overwhelmed with their new life situation. As parents, you can be an invaluable relief for your daughter, especially if she still lives with you.

Show understanding for underage parents

Understanding and helpful parents enable a young mother not to see herself as a victim of the circumstances, but to shape life with the child as possible according to her own ideas and to accept the new life situation positively. Standing behind your daughter is not only about giving moral support, it can also mean spending time and money. You may be thinking about expanding your role as grandparents to such an extent that you enable the young mother to finish her school-leaving qualification or vocational training in peace, or even begin, by at least partially caring for the child. Do not forget that a completed education is the most important basis for your child to stand on their own two feet and thus to be able to take care of themselves and their own child later.

Clarify practical and financial help for underage parents

Take time to think with your partner and then also with your child to what extent you are willing to limit your life for raising a grandchild and what financial support you can and would like to give your daughter. In any case, seek contact with the child's father and his / her family together with your daughter and discuss with them the extent to which they can take on responsibility.

Then take the advice of the welfare associations and the youth welfare office with your daughter, if possible during pregnancy, to find out which financial assistance and support offers are available to your child from the state or local authorities. With the help of the counselors, you will certainly be able to find a solution that is satisfactory for your situation and that ensures the well-being of the grandchild, but also the needs of your minor child and your own.

On the Pregnancy in Bavaria website you can find help in the event of an unwanted pregnancy.

There are pregnancy advice centers everywhere: at the health department in your city or municipality, at Caritas associations, at Pro Familia and church associations.

How does the youth welfare office help underage mothers?

The youth welfare office is an important point of contact for underage pregnant women, mothers or fathers. Advice from employees is free of charge. First of all, the entire life situation of the minor mother and father is examined in a personal conversation. Who is still going to school and for how much longer? Is an apprenticeship pending? What is the relationship of the pregnant minor or mother to her own family and to the father's family? What is the living situation like? Where can the young parents use support?

The youth welfare office provides extensive advice and support

The employees of the youth welfare office give social care and support, and provide information about possible financial assistance. This kind of counseling should therefore be used during pregnancy in order to have all important questions about possible support clarified in good time.
The youth welfare office can help you find your own apartment. If it is impossible for spatial or family reasons for your daughter and child to stay in the parents' house, there is the possibility of supervised accommodation in a house for mother and child. There, the young mother is relieved of the burden of looking after her child to such an extent that she can continue to attend school or pursue vocational training. In such a case, the youth welfare office takes care of the financing.

The youth welfare office also provides advice on questions of custody and maintenance for the child. If the young parents do not live together, i.e. the child is cared for by the minor mother alone, the father usually has to pay maintenance for the child, the amount of which depends on the father's income and the child's age. However, if the father is still a student himself or is in the middle of an apprenticeship, i.e. does not have a regular income, the youth welfare office can pay a so-called maintenance advance.

Last but not least, youth welfare offices help when it comes to finding daycare places for a child.

Who has custody of the child of a minor, unmarried mother?

If both parents are minors, the youth welfare office becomes the child's legal guardian. This means that the youth welfare office takes on all the formalities. In case of doubt, it clarifies the acknowledgment of paternity, maintenance claims, etc. The minor mother takes care of her child herself. If the minor mother would like to have someone else as a guardian for her child, an application can be made to the family court. The official guardianship of the youth welfare office expires on the mother's 18th birthday. The custody of the child is then automatically transferred to the mother, unless the parents have married each other or the family court has transferred joint custody.

If only the mother is a minor, her custody is suspended until her 18th birthday. If the minor mother is solely responsible for (dormant) care, the youth welfare office becomes the child's legal guardian. If the parents are married to each other or have made effective declarations of custody, the parents are entitled to joint custody. In this case, the adult father exercises parental responsibility alone until the mother's 18th birthday. The family court can appoint a supplementary carer if it has doubts about the suitability of the adult parent and the best interests of the child do not appear to be assured.

In principle, the minor parent has the right to give their child a first name, to look after it, to supervise it, to bring it up, to determine its whereabouts, and to have a say in medical treatment and religious upbringing.

As the parent of a minor, unmarried mother, you continue to have custody of your daughter, but not of your grandchild.
You can obtain further information from the youth welfare office responsible for you.

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Parents letters

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