Advice for Teenage Dads
The following information has been published with kind permission from Barnardos (taken from Information Sheet No. 37).
One of a teenage males biggest fears can be getting a girl pregnant. What do I tell my friends and family? How will they react? Do I want to continue to be involved with the mother? What’s the story on child support? How can I afford it? What about sport, further study, future career, my mates and all that stuff?
Being a father means there are a lot of issues to sort through and many conflicting demands to balance. You may be unsure if you are the father. Or you may be thinking seriously about what your responsibilities actually are, whether you want involvement in your Childs life, whether or not you want to commit yourself to a long term relationship with the mother and so on.
This is a very good time to call on friends and family for support, assistance or simply a listening ear. IT is also sensible to seek the support and guidance of other new or experienced dads or get in touch with a counsellor or organisation that can help.
Practical Help is vital for young inexperienced parents so don’t hesitate to seek it. If your family is unable to help then other organisations can help with things like baby clothes, nursery equipment and help at home. Help from Salvation Army, Baptist Care, Church Social services, Plunket.
Legal Issues – make sure you get independent legal advice from a community law centre or lawyer, Day to day care and contact are clearly set out in a written document.
Guardianship means making sure a child is properly cared for and having a say in the important decisions as the child grows up.
Paternity – if you decline to be named on the Childs birth certificate, the mother may decide to prove legally that you are the father. Alternatively the mother may not wish you to be named on the birth certificate.
Adoption can cut all legal links between the child and the natural parents. It requires the consent of both natural parents and usually involves an assessment by Child, Youth & family.
Education Issues – If you want to continue at school, the correspondence school maybe the best option. Or a tertiary institution now have crèches or child care centres.
Money Issues – Check with government departments for allowances and benefits.
If you’re a teenage dad or a teenage dad to be please make sure you know there is support out there, so make sure you do use it.
Tips for new dads
* Be involved with your Childs life
* Feel proud of your baby and tell people about it
* Ask for help – there are many people out there who can offer support and advice
* Take time to talk to your baby about anything and everything
* Pick up your baby, bath them, or change their nappy – ask someone like a family member, nurse or midwife to show you some ways of holding your baby
* Watch what others do, ask questions, ask for suggestions, and discover what works best for you.