General Question

cak's avatar

You find out a teen is pregnant after another teen confides in you. What would you do?

Asked by cak (15826points) December 29th, 2010

The teenager that is pregnant is a friend of my daughter’s. The other teenager involved is my best friend’s son. My daughter was very conflicted and did something she rarely does, broke a promise not to tell and told me. Now I’m faced with a dilemma. My best friend and I have always agreed to allow our children to come us when they feel they can’t talk to their parents. We also agreed that if it is something detrimental to their health or emotional well-being, we would tell each other what was going on. I know he didn’t come to me, neither did the girl, but the fact is I know what is going on. Ignoring it seems wrong.

Now I’m faced with that issue and am struggling. I am hoping that he will do the right thing and tell his parents what is going on; because if he doesn’t, I will feel the need to step in – not a conversation I am ready to handle.

I’ve known this family for years, many years. We are more like family than friends. All of the children have confided in me about things, along the way, and I know that if I step in they will stop trusting me.

Help me Fluther. I’m torn.

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55 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I wouldn’t have a choice, by law my job would require me to notify CPS. I would also notify my best friend so they don’t get blindsided.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Would you be comfortable talking to him about it and trying to encourage him to talk to his mom? Perhaps you could say you overheard something (as to not let it out that your daughter directly told you). Give him the chance to tell his mom, but let him know that if he doesn’t, you will by a certain point in time.

If you aren’t comfortable with doing that, just tell your friend and let her know that it was suppose to be a secret. I’m sure she can come up with a way of talking to him about it without telling how she found out. If it were my son or daughter, I would want to know.

MissAnthrope's avatar

If you feel bound to the confidences of the kids, perhaps give the kids involved an ultimatum.. they tell their parents by X date, or you’ll be forced to do it yourself. That way, they’re offered some control and have the opportunity to do the right thing, while knowing that it’s no longer secret and that the music has to be faced.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Obviously, a teen getting pregnant doesn’t scream “responsibility”, but sometimes shit happens. In general, do you feel that they’re typically responsible? Adults need to keep in mind that they have to give young ones a proper chance to do the right thing. It’s inevitable that the information is going to come out eventually (unless the girl plans on an abortion), so it will either show literally, or they’ll fess up.

So before you say anything, make sure you give them a chance to tell the parents. You could also encourage your daughter to encourage them.

Not_the_CIA's avatar

I would tell that you will tell. Let them frame it. Just let them know that in a few weeks the parents will find out and it is a lot easier if they do it. You will look like a dick but sometimes you have to for what is right. The parents need to know. You can only hide pregnancy for so long. Unless they plan to abort.

JLeslie's avatar

I want to make sure I have this right. You know who the father is but not who the pregnant girl is?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I would definitely talk to the kids about it before the parents. I agree with the posts above to encourage them to tell their parents, otherwise they are obligating you to be the one to tell them.
Who knows, maybe if you have a close relationship with these kids (which it sounds like you do,) they may ask you to mediate or even be involved in telling their parents. You could even offer to do that if it would make them more comfortable.

chyna's avatar

In this age of facebook, texting, etc., kids tell everything. I think it’s likely to come out on its own. Give it a little time while encouraging your daughter to get them to tell their parents. If it doesn’t come out soon, you’ll need to step in and tell. Prenatal care and all that should be started as soon as possible.

cak's avatar

@WestRiverrat: I think that is what I keep going back to, I would never want to be blindsided by this kind of news. Thank you for your answer.
@Seaofclouds: I’m thinking a combination of your answer and @WestRiverrat are the direction I should go. It sucks being responsible.
@MissAnthrope: Thanks, that makes sense.
@DrasticDreamer: I think I really want to see him do the right thing, but it’s getting to the point where hiding it isn’t going to work, anymore. Generally, both of these teens are responsible teens, but this is one of those times where responsibility went out the window.
@JLeslie: I know both of the kids, sorry if I wasn’t clear. My daughter is friends with both.
@TheOnlyNeffie: Thanks, I knew Fluther would clear my mind!
@chyna: That’s another thing that worries me about this, the girl is so tiny and the family isn’t in a position to get good medical care. She needs to be in a program that will help her.

nikipedia's avatar

I second @TheOnlyNeffie‘s answer—I think that’s perfect. I imagine the son might be really relieved to learn that you know, and you aren’t angry, you just want to help.

bkcunningham's avatar

@cak how would you want it handled if it was your daughter and your best friend knew she was pregnant? Or if you have a son, how would you feel if your best friend knew he had gotten a girl pregnant?

Your daughter told you for a reason and obviously somehow feels some of the impact of something this serious. Talk to your daughter and tell her how torn you feel. She may have been waiting on you to intervene and be the adult and step up to help.

cak's avatar

@nikipedia: I agree. I really do want both of them to understand that I’m not judging them and I’m not angry. I’m worried about them, but I care about them and their future. These are teens I’ve known since kindergarten. I really do care about their well-being.

@bkcunningham: I think that is ultimately where my struggle lies. What would I want. I think I would be angry if she didn’t tell me, but I also think I would be hurt if she didn’t approach my daughter. or son, but luckily, he’s only 7!

@Not_the_CIA: excellent name Thanks, I agree.

bkcunningham's avatar

@cak is your daughter friends with him too? Is it a relationship where you get your daughter to ask him to come over and just lay it all out and talk to him? (I’m hoping he’s already told his mother by the time we all get through pondering this question.)

Wow, what a happy New Year, huh? I’d sure use this to my advantage with discussions with my daughter about what a situation like this does to everyone involved and even people not directly involved.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@cak About how long, exactly, has he gone without telling his mother? A couple of months, or are we talking like… 6 months? If it’s the latter, I think you should talk to him and ask him what he wants you to do. Give him two options. He tells his mom, or you do. If she’s pretty far into the pregnancy, he should have told her by now.

cak's avatar

@bkcunningham: It’s opened the door for the conversation, again. We’re very open about these things in our house, anyway. I never wanted my children to fear talking to me about sex or relationships. I remember being so scared to have any talks with my mother. Right now my daughter is away for two days. When she gets back, I think I’ll propose that idea. I do think I need to talk to him first.

@DrasticDreamer: She’s close to 5 months. She’s also tiny. I’m talking somewhere around 95lbs. The only way she’s hiding it right now, according to my daughter, is by wearing big sweatshirts.

JLeslie's avatar

@cak This is what I am thinking right now. If the girl is over the boys house all of the time, you can tell the mom, and she can on her own say the girl looks pregnant to the girl or to her son or to the girls parent. Because I think all the parents will want the children to continue to trust the adults. So, it will not seem like it is coming from you hopefully. Of course, you could go directly to the girls parents also, and her parent can confront the daughter. I guess all the time girls/women are pregnant when they are just two months. you can see it in the breasts if you are very familiar with the person. I would wait a little bit to give the child some time to do it herself, unless you think she is already about 3 months along and options are diminishing.

JLeslie's avatar

I just read close to 5 months. So this is the final countdown to be able to abort, and if not aborting she is not getting proper medical care for the pregnancy. I think you have to tell. And, again, I think the parent can easily cover for you about breaking the confidence.

JLeslie's avatar

@cak Is there any reason to think the parent will be abusive in any way to the girl who is pregnant?

janbb's avatar

I would talk to the boy first since he is the one you are closest to. Perhaps with your daughter there. Encourage him to talk to his Mom; tell him that you are honor bound to tell if he doesn’t. If you are freindly with boht kids, maybe you should talk to them both – with or without your daughter there.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Hm… @JLeslie brings up a couple of good points. Before anything is said, it’s important to know what kind of parents the pregnant girl has. However… The baby needs proper medical attention (if she doesn’t plan on having an abortion), which I’m guessing hasn’t been happening up to this point. The mother also needs to be aware that her health risks have also increased. Has she been smoking? Drinking? Is she taking prenatal vitamins?

bkcunningham's avatar

@cak obviously it is your decision to make and everyone has given really good food for thought. If it were me, I’d let my daughter know when she gets home how I feel and I would talk to my best friend’s son before I told her. Since we set examples for our children, I’d want to try (as hard as I possibly could without losing it) to set the example of honesty and making the best choices in an already bad situation and not covering up and ignoring a situation that involves young lives and people’s health and futures. I hope that doesn’t sound uppity, it isn’t meant to. God bless you whatever happens. Just makes me glad my stepchildren are all grown and happy and healthy adults and I’m past that stage of life. It is really tough sometimes.

janbb's avatar

@cak Knowing you, I know that you will handle it with honesty, grace and compassion. You have my sympathy in a tough situation.

JLeslie's avatar

@cak One more thought. About being blind sided, the parents will be blind sided period. So, I don’t think that is a reason to tell. The reason to tell is for the health of the teen and baby, and the possibility to abort if that is an option. I think you mentioned above health reasons are reason to tell.

At minimum maybe get permission from your daughter to go to the pregnant girl and get her medical help for the pregnancy.

cak's avatar

I know the girl doesn’t spend a lot of time at my best friend’s house; however, she is at his biological mother’s house, a lot. (divorced parents, even stickier situation) The girl is being raised by her grandmother and her parents are not in the picture. Her grandmother is very kind, but money is tight for them. I doubt she’s even taking prenatal vitamins and as far as I know, she doesn’t smoke. Neither drink, the boy can’t stand to be around others that drink and she just doesn’t.

I think the best option is for me to talk to him first, and give a final date, sooner, rather than later. I know they are probably scared, but health wise, they have to get past this and look at the bigger picture.

@JLeslie: You are right, no matter what, they will be blindsided.

Thank you, everyone. I needed to be able to think this through and was not wanting to lose another night’s sleep over this. This is why Fluther is great. Compassionate answers and sensible answers.

mcbealer's avatar

I think you should go with your gut. You’ve known him and his family a long time.

One question I have is, how old are the kids? Speaking to the parents first is what I would do if the kids are 14 years old or younger.

Otherwise, talk to the boy first. I would suggest you follow up with the parents after talking to the boy within 48 hrs because of the aforementioned lack of prenatal care.

JLeslie's avatar

@cak Do you think there is a risk the girl will abondon the baby in an irresponsible way after its’ birth? Or, have the baby in secret, possibly jeopardizing her life and the baby’s life?

cak's avatar

@mcbealer: they are both over 14, I think the 48 hour timing is best. especially due to the medical care.

@JLeslie: You know, I don’t think she would do that, but then again, I don’t know. His family is financially set. My husband even said we could suggest an open adoption. We can’t adopt through traditional means, due to my medical history. There are just so many unknowns to this, that is why I know I have to intervene. It’s just the awful feeling that you know what you have to do, but you know the fallout may be bad.

JLeslie's avatar

Sneakier route could be to anonymously let the school counselor or nurse know. They will have to report it.

bkcunningham's avatar

@cak the one thing I’ve learned in life is things always work out for the good. It may not be exactly as we planned or prepared or how we thought it would go; but it always works out for the good.This situation will work out for the best too. I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that at the moment, but it will be okay. One good thing you and your friend both have as an advantage in this is each other. A true, good friend is hard to find. She’s going to need you.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I wish that were true. Bad shit happens all of the time.

cak's avatar

@bkcunningham: I’ll be there for her. I could never abandon her.

@JLeslie: True. I guess it’s what we make of the bad shit that shapes us. Not that I play with poo. You know what I mean.

wundayatta's avatar

One thought I had is that you might have been told sort of accidentally on purpose. These kids are probably scared and at a loss and unable to figure out what they should do. They probably want help but are afraid of the shit they think they will get when it does come out. They are guilty and ashamed and don’t know what to do. So maybe they are hoping you will help them in an impartial way, and that’s why they told your daughter.

I think it will be a relief for them to have this known and to get help. Someone should counsel them to do that—be it your daughter or you. Perhaps your daughter can let them know it will be ok. Their parents won’t kick them out—assuming this is true. Or the girl can be assured that if her parents are really bad about this, then she will be taken in by his parents until such time as things cool down.

I think that whatever plan you decide on, it is not going to betray the trust they have in you. In any case, it was your daughter who told you, and once you knew, you wanted to do what you thought was best for them. But really, I don’t think anyone is going to be thinking about that. They have their child to think about. I think they will be relieved to finally be open about this, even if they do catch shit from someone. At least some parents will protect them.

I’d be comfortable if you talk to the boys mother now, or if you have your daughter urge them to open up to their parents and you wait a few days before you contact your friend about this. But really, what would your friend want? What would you want? Your loyalty is to your friend and the kids and the health of the fetus. I think that’s the principle that guides you.

Also, don’t sell yourself short. You have a reputation, I believe, with those kids. They will not let the fact that you told their parents about this get in the way of coming to you when they need to. Even if it is indirectly. I would not be at all surprised if it turns out they wanted you to know so that they could be protected as it came out.

Supacase's avatar

I agree that you should talk to the boy. From what you have described, you are close to him as well as his mother. Would you feel comfortable offering to go with him to talk to his mom?

mcbealer's avatar

great idea, @Supacase! I agree helping to mediate the conversation if his parents don’t already know would be a wonderful way to support the boy through this.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The others above had good answers. I just want to add that before telling parents, I’d make sure the girl’s household was such that they wouldn’t abandon her if she chose to abort – If I had no way of making sure, I’d hesitate a lot more.

Julietxx3's avatar

@cak , an extremely good idea is to talk to the boy and encourage him to tell his parents. If he feels he can’t do it alone, offer to be there when he tells his parents for support. But you DO NOT want to be the one breaking it to the parents… trust me ! good luck ( :

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’m just curious @cak, how things are going with this. Did you talk to anyone involved yet?

cak's avatar

@Seaofclouds: We are having lunch with him on Saturday. My husband is going to help. Hopefully, he will understand that we really care about him enough to have the conversation.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@cak Good luck! I hope it goes well.

cak's avatar

Thanks, so do I!

mcbealer's avatar

Thinking positive thoughts and sending good vibes yer way… this hat isn’t orAnge for just anybody ya know…

wundayatta's avatar

My daughter, age 14, said she would advise her friends to talk to their parents. But she would not break their confidence.

After reflection, I decided that as soon as I heard about it, I would tell the parents involved. My instinct would be to want to stay out of it, but if my daughter were ever in such a situation, I would hope someone would clue me in.

It was funny. We had a conversation about this in which I first asked whether she would tell us if she got pregnant. She kept on saying that it would never happen. She refused to even consider the idea as a what-if scenario. So I switched it to a friend being pregnant, and she asked, “Who?” So I provided a name of a friend, and she laughed that that would never happen.

So it was hard to get the conversation started.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I have a feeling that even though is seems the conversation did not go anywhere with your daughter, that if it does happen, which will probably never happen, she is more likely to tell you now that you did have that conversation.

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie One can only hope. Both that it never happens, but if it does, she will come to us.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta if I try to put myself in the teenage place, I knew my mom would have dragged me to the abortion line, so maybe if I had wanted to keep it, I would not have told her right away? I am not sure. I told her when I started having sex so I could get birth control. Pretty much I always felt I could ask her anything, but that is not the same as feeling you can tell your mom everything. I think that distinction is rarely made or understood.

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie I was a little weirded out when my daughter said she would have an abortion if she got pregnant so young. I would certainly support her choice, but I wouldn’t be happy about it. She wants to have a child, but when she’s in her late twenties, not at 15.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta That is interesting to me. Were you weirded out because of she were pregnant you want the grandchild? Or, because it makes you think about her having to go throught it? Or, because you were shocked she had thought about it that much, that she knew what she would do?

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie Actually there’s another reason, but it’s something I don’t really feel like talking about now.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I understand. No problem.

cak's avatar

We talked and it’s all out in the open, wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@cak I’m glad it’s all out in the open now. I hope things go well for the people involved from here on out.

janbb's avatar

Thanks for the update.

JLeslie's avatar

@cak Was there any mention from any of the people involved being dissappointed or angry that you broke the confidence, or that your daughter did?

cak's avatar

@JLeslie: there seemed to be more of a sense of relief.

wundayatta's avatar

Relief, eh? Check out my original answer, second paragraph, first line.

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