How Are Teenage Fathers Affected by Pregnancy?
With nearly 42 births per 1,000 teens in 2006, according to the 2006 Demographics Yearbook released by the United Nations Statistics Division, the United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates among developed nations 13. Much of the focus is on teen mothers, but teen fathers are also affected.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, teen fathers are less likely to finish high school than their childless peers. Amy Williams, executive director of the Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Project in San Francisco, says in a 2005 Time magazine articles that teen fathers frequently feel they have to get a job and drop out of school to work 12.
Teen fathers earn less over time than men who have children at an older age. Over time, teen fathers earn 10 to 15 percent less annually than male teens who wait to have children. according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 1.
Teen fathers are more likely to get involved with criminal behavior, including alcohol and drug abuse, and drug dealing. Depending on their age, teen fathers can also face charges of statutory rape.
Besides earning less than men who wait to father children, teen fathers are required to pay child support until the child is 18. Despite this requirement, only one in five teen mothers receives child support according the report “Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing in California.” 1
Lack of Programs
Teen fathers face a lack of teen parent programs aimed at helping them. A project coordinated by New York City’s Bank Street College of Education and appearing in Time magazine showed a high success rate in improving the father’s relationship with the child and mother at the end of the two-year program offered to teen fathers 2.
- New Mexico Department of Health: 10 Teen Pregnancy Facts
- California Department of Education: Teen Pregnancy and Parenting in California
- National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Teen Pregnancy and Responsible Fatherhood
- California State Library: Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing in California
- baby image by Diane Stamatelatos from Fotolia.com