Role of teenage fathers
Teenage fathers are often blamed for causing the teenage pregnancy and disappearing after that. Research however has shown that many teenage young men are often willing to play an active role in the pregnancy and life of the baby.
Of course, just like teenage moms, the age of a teenage father makes a huge difference. The decision making process for a young teen who is 12-14 years old is quite different from that of a teen who is 15 or 16 years of age, and different again for 17 to 19 year old teenage fathers.
Considerations for teenage fathers
Some questions which the teenage father must think about:
- is he the father of the baby?
- Paternity testing can determine the father of a baby. A paternity test is a way to determine the biological father of a child. The test compares many different genetic factors in the father’s sample with similar genetic factors in the samples of the baby and the mother. Home paternity testing may be ordered from companies and organizations that conduct paternity testing.
- if he is the father, what is the role he will play in the pregnancy and the child’s life?
- If he is the father, the next question is whether he and the teenage mother should get married. If not, what is the role he will play in the child’s life?
- If the teenage parents are not married, the teenage mother automatically has custody of the baby. The teenage father can still ask for visitation rights and custody rights of the baby.
- In most cases, the teenage father also has legal rights e.g. right to make medical decisions, right to receive medical and other private information on the child and so on.
- will he support the decision of the teenage mother to either keep the baby or give the baby up for adoption or foster care or have an abortion?
- The teenage father may not have the right to make any decisions against the teenage mother’s wishes.
- what financial support can or must he provide to the teenage mother?
- The teenage father may be required to pay child support.
- what about school or college?
- Completing education is important for any teenage parent even though the teenage father may need to start working or earning money to support the baby.
- should he tell his parents or carer?
- Home support is equally as important to a teenage father as it is to a teenage mother. If your teen tells you that he is to become a teenage father, you can support him through the ways explained in our Teen Pregnancy Support for Teenage Mothers section.
Click on the links to the right for further sections of this Teen Pregnancy Guide.
For further readings and articles on teen pregnancy, see Teen Pregnancy Further Readings section.