Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — My 15 year old honor roll daughter is pregnant, which is shocking enough in our household, but I believe to avoid getting in more trouble she swears to me she’s a virgin. How do I deal with this? — Like a Verifier
Happy Passover. Happy Easter, Bunnies.
Dear Like a Verifier,
Responsibility is the verb to empowerment.
After the initial shock, I assume you want to help and support your daughter to make the best decision(s) for baby and herself. You’re probably right that she is trying to stay out of more trouble, but her denial and seeming refusal to face facts are partially what led her into these circumstances. Messages of authority and morality can be magnified to a developing child’s eyes more or differently than we may intend these elements to positively impact our families or other hierarchies. Additionally and personally, I’d like to suggest you don’t reduce or coddle her as your “little princess” or other diminutivization of her development into an empowered young woman. Help her take more and more responsibility for herself, her choices…her life’s reality she creates. Insist on and encourage an environment of open dialog and –mindedness in all things in your household. If this is a departure for your tribe (even if it’s not!), practice, practice, exemplify, then practice some more.
Tell her outright (and repeat as necessary; this message can never be redundant to a child or adolescent of any culture) in plain and clear language, “I want you to know that whatever you do or think, you can tell me/us. I may not always agree, and you may even get in trouble, but you will never lose my/our love for being truthful and yourself.”
At her age, further the action-consequence lessons by connecting the dots that are obvious to you as an adult (including impact on education, time, future and earnings), then ask her to contemplate and journal it out so she additionally has somewhere private to put all these confusing and likely conflicting feelings she’s experiencing. Let her know she’s not alone in the many meanings of that phrase. Assuming good household health and welfare, your role in her life is one of the influential shapers of her character, and sooner than she realizes, that torch will be solely in her hands. Challenge yourself and family to see if you can assist her to work out what she will need practically as well as emotionally in the next months and years to become the best woman she can be.
Knowledge is power,
Dear Like a Verifier,
There are a couple of issues here. The first is your daughter’s inability to take responsibility for her actions. Virgin?! So, did you get the whole story of the Angel Gabriel stealing into her room to tell her the good news? Any previous sightings of Jesus in her toast?
How do you deal with this? Lower the boom—hard and fast. Let her know that no one is crazy enough to believe the virgin angle. She’s pregnant. We all know how that happens. It’s scientifically document able. Maybe it was her first time, but she’s no virgin now if she’s pregnant. Lying should come with its own penalties—and these should be severe. Be sure to let her know she is being punished for lying. Let her know that lying on the witness stand brings jail time. So does lying to her parents. Also let her know you are punishing her so she can grow and learn from it. Taking responsibility for your actions is a sign of maturity.
The next issue is her need to understand the gravity of what she’s taken on. I suggest giving her sex ed homework through her lying punishment confinement. Videos on AIDS, as well as teen sex education videos. Have her write up essays on everything she sees. Ask specific questions about the possible consequences of unprotected sex and the alternative solutions. This is just another step in having your child take responsibility for where she is.
Now, the one thing I haven’t mentioned, but is a distinct possibility is that your child may have been a victim of date rape. If she was passed out dunk or whatever and taken advantage of and really have no memory of losing her virginity. Whether she is lying, delusional or victimized, you should have her see a counselor to discuss what is going on with her emotionally. You would also be well advised to talk to someone yourself, so you can approach this situation with as many tools in your mama bag as possible.
All I can say is, mistakes happen. Yes, this is a big one, but it is what it is. Start from where you are and make the best decisions you can to move forward. I’m also going to suggest you check out stillsitting.net because knowing how to de-stress on the spot will never be more important for you. This is going to be a bumpy ride. Give yourself some good shocks to handle the bumps in the road—for your health and sanity, as well as the good of your family.
Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
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