Finding out that your daughter is pregnant can be stressful. Depending on your daughter's age, you may need to step in as her parent and help her along her journey, which doesn't mean coercion or inappropriate pressure to make a specific decision. Helping her along her journey means encouraging informed decisions and supporting her needs from this experience. Remember, it's a difficult situation for her, too. You may not agree with her choices, but it's still important to love her and encourage her to make the best decision for her specific situation. The best decision she could ever make is an informed decision.
As you help your daughter explore her many options, you will come across the option of grandparent parenting. If your daughter would like to keep her child in the family but doesn't want to parent, she can allow you to adopt your grandchild or have guardianship over your grandchild. If you decide to adopt your grandchild, your daughter's parental rights are severed. However, when it comes to guardianship, some families choose to treat it more like co-parenting. Before you and your daughter decide which would be best for your family, take time to research grandparent rights.
In this section you'll also read a first-hand account from a grandparent who became the legal guardian of her grandchildren. She shares her story, her heartaches, her struggles, and her joys. Reading her account will help prepare you for your own journey as parenting grandparents.
As a parenting grandparent, it will be crucial to establish boundaries. This goes for both adopting your grandchild and becoming his/her legal guardian. You'll want to sit down with your daughter and your family and come to an agreement about what's appropriate and what's expected. How much contact should your daughter have with her child? Which types of contact are appropriate? Will your grandchild know that your daughter is his/her mother? These are all important questions to ask yourself and your daughter as she sorts through her options.
Along with establishing boundaries, it is important to establish roles. Before your daughter chooses the option of parenting grandparents, and before you agree to it, make sure everyone is aware of the role they'll play in the child's life. It's important to have clear rules and guidelines so it doesn't cause unneeded heartache or confusion down the road. Who will take on the mothering role? The father's role? What relationship will the child have with your daughter and his/her father?
If grandparent parenting is an option that your daughter and you and considering, read the following section and subpages together. It can give you a clearer understanding of what it entails, what to expect, and how to start your journey. It can answer your questions about the process and requirements. It's a fantastic place to start exploring options.
During this entire exploration of options, remember to treat your daughter with respect and love. Even if you don't respect her decision, show her decency and patience. It will encourage her to treat you in the same manner. This is an important time in your daughter's life. She has some adult decisions to make and she may need some parental and community support. If you don't feel that grandparent parenting is the right choice for your situation, that's perfectly acceptable. There are many options out there that you and your daughter can explore. Make this an experience of learning, growing, loving, and understanding.