Young Parents

Getting the support they need

“It has taken a while for me to accept my teenager is a parent herself, but I’m helping her be the best mum she can.”

Warning signs

Your teenager may be finding it hard to cope if she seems very tearful, finds looking after the baby hard, shows little interest in the baby or seems too protective and is not eating or sleeping well.

Action

Your teenager needs to learn to look after the baby, but help when you can and ensure your teenager is eating well and sleeping while the baby sleeps. Local organisations can offer support and advice to teenage parents. Advice can also be given on returning to education, training or work.

What to say

Offer support and encouragement when you can and let your teenager know that you will give advice when asked. Avoid telling them that they are doing things wrong, but try to suggest different ways of doing things if you need to. Your teenager may be happier to get advice from friends rather than you. The majority of young parents stay at home with their own parents after the birth of their child. If your daughter is living at home with you, she will need your support but may also want to look after her child in her own way. This means being there for her, but knowing when to let her make her own decisions. Even if you do not agree with them, (unless they are putting the baby’s life at risk), it’s important she tries things out for herself. Give the baby’s father the opportunity to get involved too.

If your son has become a father, encourage him to see his child as much as possible and to be a part of the child’s life. Even if the parents are no longer a couple, help them to make decisions together about their baby.

It may be some time before your teenager returns to school or college. They will be missing their friends, going out and even their schoolwork. Offer to look after the baby while they see their friends or find out about returning to school. Think about taking some childminding or parenting courses, as things have probably changed since your child was a baby.

Getting support

There are organisations that help support teenage parents. They can advise on parenting skills, eating well (and feeding your baby well), benefit assistance, and returning to education, training or work. There is also advice and help with childcare and travel costs for young parents going back to education. You may want to look after your grandchild when your teenager returns to school, college or work. If you want to be paid for this you may need to be registered as a childminder. Supporting your child as a teenage parent will help them to become good parents themselves.

Prevention

The more support your teenager has during pregnancy, the more likely they are to be able to cope once the baby is born. Ask about local support groups and encourage meeting other teenage parents.

  • Help your teen to be a good parent
  • Find out what benefits your teenager may be entitled to
  • Give support - but let your teen try things their way
  • Involve teenage dads as much as possible

You may still be getting used to the idea that your child is now a parent, but encourage them to care well for their baby and give him or her good future.

Useful Contacts

www.direct.gov.uk

Ask Brook

0808 802 1234
www.brook.org.uk

Parentline Plus

0808 800 2222
www.parentlineplus.org.uk

Health Clinic

0161 304 5300

Wrigglers and Gigglers - Young Parents Group

0161 368 7722

Family Nurse Partnership Tameside

0161 342 7830