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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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On teen pregnancy, what do you have to see to know that these

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On teen pregnancy, what do you have to see to know that these teens can actually handle the responsibiliyt of a baby. My 19 year old son decided to not attend university this year because his 18 yr old(this week)girlfriend is pregnant. He got a job making $28,000 a year. They are both living with us right now, and want to get university degrees and keep the baby. The two things I think about is how do I know if I should support this decision, And what are the new rules if we go ahead with this arrangement

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I'm sorry to hear about the problems that you are experiencing. An important thing to keep in mind here is that this is not your decision to make. Even though they may still seem like children themselves, technically they are adults and they get to make the decision about whether to keep the baby or not. Your decision then is whether you will support their decision whatever it is. By supporting them and giving unconditional love you are not necessarily saying that you agree or disagree with the decision, but that you are recognizing their right to decide. That being said, the behaviors that you are describing sound as if both of them are taking steps to accept responsibility for their lives and their decision. This does not mean that it will be easy for either of them. Your support should certainly be helpful to them.


There are no hard and fast rules for the new situation. However, it would be very helpful to sit down as a family to discuss what rules would make sense and work for everyone. It is important to allow them to be in the role of parents while you take on the role of grandparent/helper. You may also need to be clear about what you are willing to help with and set limits about what you will not do or offer to them. Without clear limits it is easy for resentments to build. Setting regular ongoing meetings to talk about what is working and what is not can be very helpful as well. This will be a challenge for everyone so communication is key. I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Lori, you have made a couple of valuable points. First thank you for acknowledging that are taking steps to accept responsibility for their lives and their decisions...I just didn't have the words to articulate that "feeling" that I had in a non emotional way. Also, I like your comment about having regular ongoing meetings about boundaries, before resentment builds...setting that up is just brilliant... I guess I am afraid that I will give too much, so I was looking for an actual plan....or a contract of our expectations that are realistic given the circumstances....housework, guests, financial, education...My husband and I have the financial means to do everything for this baby including a nanny, but we don't want to cross over any lines and we don't want to enable "the parents" to be irresponsible

It can be a huge shift in thinking to begin to take on the role of grandparent rather than parent. It may help with this change to begin to ask the parents to evaluate what help they may want or need. This will then allow you to decide if these are things that you are willing to offer or not. You may also let them know that it is ok for them to let you know if you are overstepping your role as grandparent. It can be a delicate balance and the idea, just like in parenting, is to be good enough, not perfect. I wish you luck with this. Please let me know if I can help further.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your response.

I find it impossible to believe that I have received so much value from your comments.

This is everything I need to continue moving in a positive direction for everyone involved

Thanks again

You are very welcome. Please press Accept if my answer has been helpful. Best wishes.
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