Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Help Dr. Joyce Brothers

Last updated November 17, 2008 9:53 a.m. PT
Steer pregnant daughter toward adoption, but don't demand it


DEAR DR. BROTHERS: We are sick with worry about our 17-year-old daughter, who last month told us she is pregnant. She has seen a couple of classmates raising babies with a lot of help from their families. We are not willing to do this. We want to help her give up the baby for adoption (abortion is out of the question). She is getting more and more upset because she wants to keep it, and doesn't realize that this will ruin her life. The father is not known. What do we say to her? -- P.T.

DEAR P.T.: I'm sorry your family is facing this crisis, but as long as you are all working on this together, you have a good chance of weathering the storm. I am glad to hear that your daughter was able to confide in you about her unplanned pregnancy; you must now be very careful to not make her wish she hadn't told you. And by that, I don't mean give in to her demands to keep the baby. It is her life, and of course she can keep the baby and struggle along, or she can give in and give it up. But the fact that you can't be helpful grandparents right now ultimately may turn your daughter against you. If she sees that there is no other choice than to give up the baby to a family more able to care for a child, she may never forgive you. Or she may thank you. Right now, there's no way of knowing.

The fact that your daughter does not know who the father is should trouble you greatly. She sounds like a girl who has been looking for love in all the wrong places -- and thinks she will now have someone to love and be loved by in return. That's admirable, but also sad. So, your job now is to give her all the information and help you can with a view toward adoption, [???] and let her know that afterward [how about being there NOW!] you will be there for her with the love she wants and needs. If she ignores your advice, you will have to look into your hearts and see just how unconditional that love is.

Write to Dr. Joyce Brothers via King Features, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.

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