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“Mom, Dad, I’m Pregnant…”

FOR TEENS

How can I tell my parents?

Telling your parents, “I’m pregnant,” probably seems like the hardest conversation you will ever have. Most

young people fear their parents’ reactions and may try to keep the pregnancy a secret. If you are pregnant,

you probably need your parents’ love, assistance, and maybe even their advice. Also, keeping secrets is not

generally good for your emotional health and may affect your ability to take care of yourself. Here are some

ways to start the conversation:

Set up the conversation. Start the conversation with your hopes and fears about how they will receive the

news. “I need to talk to you, but I am afraid that you will start screaming or be upset.” “I really need your

support and help. Please don’t be angry.”

Just say it. It’s best to get right to the point. There is no good time to tell big news, although you probably

should wait for some privacy with them. If that is difficult, ask if you can speak with them in private. Just say it:

“I just took a pregnancy test and I am pregnant.” Or, “I think I am pregnant” (if you don’t really know).

Give them a chance to react. Remember when you found out that you were pregnant? You were

probably upset and needed time to deal with the news. Give your parents some time to have a reaction too. “I

know you are freaked out. Don’t say anything. We can talk later.” Or, write a note and then talk. If they do go

on and on, try hard to ignore words said in anger or fear. Come back to them the next day and, say, “I’m sorry

I upset you, but I need your help and support.”

“They would be so disappointed in me.” This is a common fear among teens, but it is not what parents

most often say. Parents sometimes set high standards for their children but it doesn’t mean that they expect

their kids to be “perfect.” Most parents want to protect their children and give them the best possible future

they can. Don’t assume you know what they would really feel.

“What was it like when…?” Ask about their experiences of any abortions, or unintentional pregnancies,

or when they first had their kids. Knowing how they felt about this is helpful to understanding them and

learning what it was like for them. It may help you figure out what you want to do.

Be safe. Plan ahead. If you really feel it would not be safe for you when your parents find out, consider

having someone else that you trust there, like an aunt or cousin, or an older brother or sister. Pick a good

time, especially when they are not drinking alcohol, if that’s something they do. If you are really envisioning

the worst, make a plan where you could go to be safe. Find out what your rules your state has about young

people getting reproductive healthcare without their parents’ knowledge (see Resources below). Know your

options if you leave or are thrown out of the house. Be sure you carry your ID, your insurance card, and

whatever money or bank account info you have.

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