How To Tell Your Folks
How To Tell Your Parents You're Pregnant
As a teenager telling your parents/carers/family, “I’m pregnant,” might seem like the hardest conversation you will ever have. Most teens fear their parents/carers/families reactions and may try to keep the pregnancy a secret. Most of the girls we spoke to said their parents didn’t react as badly as they thought! Phew!
Set up the conversation
Start the conversation with your hopes and fears about how they will receive the news.
“I need to talk to you, but I am afraid that you will start screaming/ be upset.”
“I really need your support/help. Please don’t be angry.”
Pick a good time when you feel they really will listen to what you are saying. Maybe that is after dinner or on the weekend when they aren’t rushing around so much. Try and give yourself and them some privacy for the conversation.
Some examples of questions you may like to ask yourself beforehand are:
- Do you want help with decision making and exploring your options?
- Do you just want them to listen and support you?
- Have you made your decisions and want their support?
Just say it
It’s best to get right to the point.
“I just took a pregnancy test and I am pregnant.”
“I think I am pregnant" (if you don’t really know).
Give them a chance to freak out
Give your parents/carers/family some time to have a reaction. Remember they too might be in shock.
“I know you are upset. Don’t say anything now. We can talk later.”
Or, write a note and then talk. If they do go on and on, try hard to ignore words said in anger or fear. Come back to them the next day and, say,
“I know you were freaked out." Or, "I’m sorry I upset you, but I need your help/support.”
It is important to be prepared for the possibility of them reacting in an upset or angry way - they may need some time to think before they are able to provide the support and help that you need. However, their reaction could be supportive and understanding from the outset. Every situation and relationship is different so try to be prepared for whatever response you receive but keep in mind that this is difficult for them too.
Expectations and experience
It can be hard when you feel you will disappoint your parents/carers/family. Sometimes they just want the best for you but that doesn’t mean they expect you to be perfect.
Ask them about their experiences of parenting, or unplanned pregnancies, or how old they were when they first had kids. Asking them for their experience (not opinion) can help you see their point of view and can give them a chance to feel heard. It might help you figure out what to do next.
You’re both doing your jobs
As a teenager, one of your jobs is to figure out who you are. As a parents/carers/family member, they are trying to protect you and your future. That’s their job. Try and remember that their concern is probably coming from a good place, just a different place than yours. It can feel like a collision course but you’re both doing what you are supposed to do. Conversations like these are hard work and you should give yourself credit for taking charge.
Be safe. Plan ahead
How have your parents/carers/families reacted to you in the past when you came to them with a problem or were ever in trouble? How do you really think they will react to your news? If you really feel it would not be safe for you when your parents/carers/family find out, consider having someone else that you can trust, perhaps an aunt or cousin, or an older brother or sister. Choose someone who is older than you and whom both you and your parents/carers/family respect. Remember, pick a good time when you feel they will really listen to what you are saying.
If you think it might be really bad
If your parents/carers/family abuse alcohol or drugs, or your experience tells you that you might be unsafe by telling them, don’t just yet. Tell someone else, preferably another adult who can help you tell your parents/carers/family and keep you safe. Your safety is very important. Call Children by Choice 1800 177 725if you would like to talk this through or want an opportunity to tell you parents/carers/family with another worker present.
What happens next?
The big step now is to make a decision about the pregnancy. If you need some info about how to make a decision click here. If you have already made a decision, what steps are you taking towards enacting your plan? Click here for “whats next”.
A big thanks to the Abortion Care Network for this great resource.
Last edited on: