Teen pregnancies affect futures’ of young fathers

Teen pregnancies affect futures’ of young fathers

When teen pregnancy is brought up, the immediate image that comes to mind is of a young woman that will have the child. The person who often steps aside, or is pushed aside, is the father. It takes two to tango, so where is the father? Teenage fathers are rarely in perpetual spotlight of teen pregnancies. Some choose not to become involved, some are pushed aside by family members of the pregnant girl/woman, and then there are those who truly attempt to become a part of the child’s life. More and more young fathers have made the decision to see their children’s life play out year by year. Soon-to-be fathers often help their partner with any needs she may have either financially, or psychologically. It’s difficult on both sides; the female will become a mother, and the male teen will become a father-but for the male the change may seem overnight. Francisco Morales attended SCCC/ATS and took courses on truck driving to obtain his CDL this year. He is a Liberal High School graduate, and is now 21 years old. He found out he was going to be a father while a junior in high school. This did not disrupt him from attaining his diploma, and he knew he wanted to be a part of the baby’s life. The pregnancy was not planned, but regardless he decided to be responsible and undertook his role as a father and continues to believe he is equally responsible for his child’s upbringing. It’s more than an obligation; its what he felt he had to do in order to become a care giver and loving parent. Many of his friends and relatives were shocked at the news of him becoming a father. His cousin, Nakita Martinez, said “No one would have ever expected it since he was into his music, had gigs going on, and was just a good kid.” Morales’ daughter, Aaliyah Marie, is now three years old, and will soon be four. He says she is his “life and determination.” He enjoys spending time with her whenever possible and says that being a part of her life is a great motivator to be successful and provide for her as she grows older. Becoming a young parent has been somewhat of a challenge to Morales, though. Much like the two young women in the previous issue, he too has had difficulties. Working, attaining an education, being a part of a band and helping raise his child was, and continues to be, strenuous at times. Despite it all, he looks back and says that she (Aaliyah) will never be considered an error in his life. He wants to have a better future for her. Morales feels it is necessary to be successful for his daughter. Morales took on his role as a father for his child, but there are some young men who do not. Oftentimes there are many obstacles to the involvement and incorporation of younger fathers in their children’s’ lives. Sometimes the relationship with the mother, or mother’s family creates a barrier. Often the mother pushes the dad out of the picture, secluding the baby from the father. On the other hand, the situation can be reversed, and the father’s family, or father himself, may not want anything to do with the child. When the young parent or parents decide to keep the child, instead of opting for adoption or abortion, certain rights are given to either party. The rights of a father include: establishment of paternity, parenting, guardianship, and adoption. A dad, being a teen or not, does have the right to have some kind of custody of the child. Also child support is an issue, as financial support is neccesary for the child’s welfare. For some fathers, the decision of becoming part of their childrens’ lives was taken too rashly, and later on in their lives regretted it. The choice may seem like a heavy weight on their shoulders, but being a part of the childrens’ lives is ultimately up to them. Not only their future is affected by their decision, but the future of the child as well.