Working with Young Fathers
“Adolescent fathers must reconcile the contradictory roles of both adolescence and fatherhood.” 1
“Contrary to the stereotype that unwed teenage fathers disappear at the first mention of pregnancy … we now know that the fathers will become deeply involved when permitted, and that it is the exclusion from the fathering and decision-making process that causes stress among these young men.” 2
“Today’s young adults often become parents before they have finished their education, gotten a stable job, and married. As a result, many American children are born into families headed by young, unmarried, and underemployed parents who often go on to have children with other partners” 3
A central focus of fatherhood programs during the 1980s and 1990s was helping young fathers (ages 16–25) deal with the challenges of parenthood. This work, which built on efforts to assist teenage mothers, demonstrated that contrary to stereotypes, many young fathers are involved in the lives of their families and will participate in fatherhood programs if the services are designed to meet their needs. Assisting young fathers remains a key, even primary, component of many fatherhood programs.