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Don't Let Your Son Be Levi Johnston

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Your teenage son just got someone pregnant. There are steps you can take to help make sure he makes the right decisions.

First there was Jamie Lynn Spears, and now the saga of Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin. For mothers with teenage boys, the story is the ultimate cautionary tale: Levi, only 18 years old, will have to trade in his early adulthood for fatherhood. But Levi and Bristol have a lot of company:

  • Each year, almost 750,000 women ages 15 to 19 become pregnant. More than half of the fetuses are brought to term. 
  • Eighty-two percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned.  
What can be shocking news for the parents of girls can be equally as devastating for the parents of young boys. What can you do if your young son comes home with the news he's going to be a dad?

Dr. Michael Resnick, Ph.D., sociologist and director of the University of Minnesota Prevention Research Center gives us his top three tips:

  • Make sure he knows you love him: The most important step a parent can take when they are told of an unplanned pregnancy is to express love and a desire for clear, open and honest communication. "Although boys might not be showing it," Dr. Resnick says, "they are in deep need of nurturing and guidance -- as they are when they face any major decision." 
  • Go for counseling: The next step is to make sure both adolescents get pregnancy counseling from an organization like Planned Parenthood so they feel free to explore all options. "Allowing outside counseling is crucial," says Dr. Resnick. "The biggest mistake parents can make is to force a decision on their kids." 
  • Don't push it: Forcing your kid to abort the baby or give it up for adoption could lead to a lifetime of grief, sadness and mistrust--while making your child keep the baby could create a lifetime of poor bonding, neglect and child abuse for the baby. "Decades of research have made one thing clear," warns Dr. Resnick. "Whether a child will feel good about whatever decision they make ultimately relies on whether they themselves owned the decision--whether they choose to adopt, abort or keep the baby. This decision cannot be made for them."

  • Thrust into the spotlight, Levi probably isn't making too many of his own decisions right now--unless you count picking out a tux for his possible shotgun wedding. 

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley September 13, 2008, 8:54 AM

You are absolutely right about making sure the teenager makes the decision. I became pregnant when I was 18. It was my first semester of college and the boy and I had broken up and there was no way I wanted a baby. My parents said abortion but ultimately it was my decision. I thought about it and ended up having an abortion. And I have never regretted it. Not once. I got pregnant again when I was 20. (obviously I don’t learn from my mistakes!) Again they said, abortion. This time I decided against. And I have never regretted it. Not once. I have a beautiful 6 year old boy and now a 15 month old girl and I got married to their father when our son was 6 weeks old. I have never regretted any of it. I made my own choices about all of it, I didn’t let my parents or his push me into anything and I am happier than I ever imagined.

mary September 13, 2008, 11:22 AM

But Ashley, why do you think it is that you did not learn from your mistake? Conceiving a child once, I could say yes, an accidental pregnancy…conceiving a child again 2 years later… not quite accidental, wouldn’t you say so?
I mean, with something as big at stake as a human life, don’t you think teens should figure out what to do before the ‘mistake’ is made the first time, and certainly should figure out what to do to prevent another ‘mistake’ from happening again? I guess that is what always has me puzzled… those who continue to have ‘accidental’ pregnancies again and again… that’s the part that needs to be changed.

valerie September 13, 2008, 4:25 PM

I think taking The Pill once a day, would be alot easier than going through an abortion.

Ashley, I hope you were able to finish that college degree.

Christy September 13, 2008, 9:25 PM

Mary said: “…don’t you think teens should figure out what to do before the ‘mistake’ is made the first time…”

Would help to have access to sex ed and contraception, right?

klcdcw September 14, 2008, 1:05 AM


Natalie September 14, 2008, 7:11 AM

I got pregnant at 19, and here I am 4 years later with an almost 3 year old girl, and a 14 month old boy, and married to their father. I think teenagers are just stupid, and they don’t think about the consequences of their actions. I think that if more emphasis was put on family education, not just sex education, teens would be a bit less likely to have unprotected sex.

Morning September 14, 2008, 1:03 PM

When parents rescue their kids from their problems…they will just make it again. I guarantee you baby number two isn’t far off for Bristol. But, it will be easy because the whole family will be raising them. Bristol and Levi are just puppets right now…eventually they will make their own decisions and it will probably be divorce : (

Faye September 14, 2008, 2:44 PM

I feel sorry for Levi, he’s obviously being railroaded

AK Mom September 15, 2008, 4:27 PM

Wow! “Don’t Let Your Son Be Levi Johnson”
What a horrible thing to say! This young couple made a mistake and they are dealing with their mistake in a very responsible way.
Personally I would rather my son be like Levi Johnson (a young man who is being responsible in a difficult situation) than have him be like Barak Obama a man who lies about his connections to terrorists and plans to disarm the US.

AK Dad September 18, 2008, 4:56 PM

AK Mom. You are a real patriot. Obama could be President and has served our country honorably. You may not want to vote for him, hate black people, etc. but even in jest your comments are a terrible reflection of yourself and many in our great state.

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