Explaining teen pregnancy

Psychologist Linda Bream offers advice on how to explain teen pregnancy to your child

Q: My 16-year-old niece is pregnant and is going to put the baby up for adoption. How do I explain this to my nine-year-old daughter?

A: Honesty is almost always the best policy when it comes to these complex and highly emotional situations. When you talk to your daughter, try not to be judgmental about your niece, but explain that she made some choices that had very significant consequences and now she is doing what she feels is best for the baby.

Follow your daughter’s lead and give her only the information she asks for. She will have a lot of emotions, and it will likely take her a while to process this situation. She may be angry with her cousin or she may want to defend her. Let your daughter have her feelings and her disappointment and sadness. Reassure her that everyone in the family still loves and supports her cousin.

If your niece is up to talking about her situation, you might consider letting her explain it to your daughter in her own words.

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