Dear Sue Ellen,
My son is a senior in high school. He was going to college when he graduates, but now his girlfriend says she is pregnant. I am sick about this and don’t know what to do.
Dear Trouble Parent,
Most likely, the first thing I would do is throw a hissy fit. Maybe not around my son and his girlfriend because they would need for me to stay calm, but inside….I would be devastated. I could remind you that we all make mistakes along the way; some bigger than others; but I would probably roll my eyes if I were in your shoes, and somebody said that to me.
You are about to have a grandchild. This baby didn’t ask to be born under these circumstances. Don’t let this new life become a “throw-away” child. Find a way to support your son and his girlfriend through this. Put your personal hurt and pain aside….now is not the time. Step in and help these young parents, when they allow it; and bow out when you need to. Empower them to surround their baby with love, nurturing and protection…no matter what that looks like. Research shows that a child growing up in a dysfunctional home setting has a significantly better likelihood of growing up a healthy, responsible person in spite of their circumstances if there is at least one person in their life that loves them and mentors them. Find a way to celebrate this addition to your family. Don’t judge.
My Daddy once told me a story about the mighty Oak Tree and the Palm Tree. A big storm came, with very strong winds. The Oak Tree stood his ground, determined not to bend under the force of the winds and sneered at the Palm Tree as he danced and swayed in the wind. The winds grew even stronger and finally broke the magnificent Oak Tree. It fell down, defeated and broken while the Palm Tree stood.
If I were in your shoes, I would be the Palm Tree. I hope you like to dance and sway.
Please email your parenting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.