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14/03/2019 - My 16 year old friend wants to have a baby

14/03/19 - Female, 16 :

Hi Ali, my friend who will remain anonymous wants to have a baby, she is the same age as me and i think the idea of her having a child is ridiculous. how can i give her advice without being nasty and voicing my opinion in a a mean way.

Ali says -

Hi there

Firstly youre clearly a very good friend for taking the time to think about how you might discuss this with your friend and for considering her feelings. If you stay focused on the facts you will be able to help her think about her situation and come to a decision. In any friendship, when discussing something that is important to someone its important to feel listened to and respected, however you can still highlight the negatives, challenges and difficulties she may face in a positive caring way.

Having a baby is a complete lifestyle change. You have to be prepared to give all of your time to your baby and to provide them with everything that they need. This can be hard at 16 for many reasons. Your friend might struggle with giving up her social life, housing is incredibly hard to access and for a while it will be difficult to access education which will be free for her until shes 18. Babies can be expensive and its very important to have a lot of support around you to help you cope with their constant needs.

Encourage her to think about what else she might want to achieve in life and what order they could be achieved in:

Relationships is she in one, would this person make the best parent?

Friendships and Social Life how might this be affected

What job might she like?

Where would she like to live?

Would she be happy to give up everything for her baby if she needed to?

Could she manage with very little income? Would it be better to wait, start a career, gain qualifications and have an income?

What are her reasons for wanting a baby? Are these the right reasons?

What might be the positive difference if she waited til 18? 20?

Has she consider the pain, discomfort and examinations etc you have to go through when pregnant/giving birth?

As you can see there are so many questions you can gently use to support her to think all around the subject of having a baby without voicing your own opinion. Its important that whatever decision young people make they can explore a subject, gather facts and make an informed decision.

Your friend might find it valuable to talk this through with a trusted adult and perhaps you could even go with her. Centre 33 is a Cambridgeshire Youth Support and Counselling charity that operate a drop in service in Peterborough. Click here for more information on how to access that service.

Good luck and well done for caring about your friend

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