Question: "How should Christian parents handle a teen daughter who has become pregnant?"
Answer: It seems that one of the hardest things for Christians to remember is that it is not a sin to be pregnant. It’s not a sin to be pregnant out of wedlock. And it’s not a sin to be born to unmarried parents. It is a sin to have sex outside the marriage relationship—and it is just as much a sin for the man as for the woman. But an unbiblical intimate relationship is a much easier thing to hide from critical eyes than a pregnancy and, sadly, less damaging to a family’s reputation in the Christian community.
As disappointing and overwhelming as it may be to learn a teenage daughter is pregnant, it’s crucial to keep a kingdom perspective. The sin is done. Whatever influences the teens have been under to lead them to sin can’t be avoided now. This new situation is not about the morality of out-of-wedlock sex or the reputation of a family. It’s about the development of a child. All children are blessings from God, and He has a plan for each one (Psalm 139:13-18). Even if the circumstances in which the baby comes may be less than ideal, that child is as precious and loved by God as any other.
The pregnant daughter is also precious to God. The role of parents is to teach and guide their children to live godly lives in whatever they face. This is a prime opportunity to do just that. The girl may be scared, ashamed, and emotional, and it is her parents’ responsibility to help her push past emotion and turn to her Heavenly Father.
Some parents fear that giving their daughter the love and support she needs will encourage the behavior that led to the pregnancy. But, again, being pregnant and giving birth to a child is not a sin, and there are so many other benefits to actively and publicly standing with a pregnant teen. It fosters an environment in which the child is valued as a blessing. It encourages the father to take responsibility without fear. And it makes abortion look like a much less desirable option.
If a family abandons their pregnant teen—even emotionally—she will be much more likely to make harmful decisions. She may think marrying the baby’s father is the only option. She may not know how to take care of her health and that of the baby. Other pregnant teens may see the volatile relationship and keep their own condition secret.
Conversely, the girl will be able to make much wiser decisions about her and her baby’s future if she can rest in her parents’ acceptance and loving guidance. Making this journey more emotionally difficult for her will not encourage clear thinking. Wise parents will help their daughter walk through the options of keeping the child or adoption. It may also be beneficial to involve the father and his family; he needs to take as much ownership as the mother. After careful prayer, parents should be clear about the level of support they can give in raising the child. Make use of Christian crisis pregnancy centers.
Our God is a powerful God who can bring joy and blessing even out of our sin. There may be incredibly tough times ahead for the pregnant teen and her family, but our God is the God who redeems.
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