What about the "shoulds" and "oughts?"

While all parents of children in child care need to understand their responsibilities, you need to be reasonable about what the "shoulds" and "oughts" are. Teen parents are often bombarded with reminders, reprimands and criticisms.

Teen parents will respond best if you show them respect, listen to them, and then calmly tell them what their responsibilities are.

Be sure to set aside time to listen to the teen parent. Every parent needs this, but teen parents need for you to listen to what is going on in their lives.

It's hard, but don't give advice – the teen parent gets more advice than the average parent – and most of the time more than he or she can handle.

The teen parent often needs time, understanding, and for you to listen to their story. Sometimes just telling the story is all the teen parents want to do. Once they have shared their problems and concerns, let them suggest ideas on how to solve the problems. Teenagers are amazingly creative and can come up with ideas you would never think of.

Then it's your turn to be supportive and give practical information. Make it fun and enjoyable – share the joys of caring for the child together.

A common problem teen parents have is struggling to prioritize their child's needs and their own needs. Help them see what the struggle is by reflecting on what is going on.

Teen parents may have difficulty managing their own emotions. If this is the case, connect with mental health agencies that might provide support and help.