chapter  27
Adolescent parents
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 7

Adolescence is a time of maturational turmoil when the young person is physiologically mature but as yet psychologically poised between childhood and adulthood. While some female adolescents are sufficiently mature to cope with the responsibility and emotional demands of rearing a child, others will have precociously become pregnant in an attempt to try and resolve problems of feminine identity and ambivalent feelings towards their mothers. The difficulties in coping with mothering a baby while still in need of mothering herself necessitate extra professional attention for the adolescent mother. Psychotherapy can provide the adolescent mother with psychological nurturance to sustain her in her difficult task and to heal some injuries from the past. Although most research has focused on the easily detectable and readily interviewable housebound teenage mothers, many girls have male partners who have also become parents while very young.