Fatherhood programs must decide whether they will work with young fathers separate from older fathers or as part of mixed-age groups. Some practitioners believe that dads aged 20–25 can benefit from the experience of older fathers; others believe younger fathers, particularly those under the age of 20, benefit from programs or activities designed specifically for their developmental needs.
Adolescent males “tend to be idealistic in their thinking and often believe what happens to other adolescents can never happen to them,” while “they are also struggling with their own identities and figuring out the course of their adult lives.”15 Teen fathers need special support and practitioners should expect gradual progress. Helping young fathers understand their inherent strengths, encouraging them to overcome barriers to involvement with their children, and providing support as they develop plans for growth are key program components.
What advice would you give a young dad raising a newborn?
Sample responses to question posted on Fatherhoodgov Facebook page, March 4, 2014.
Of 78 responses, 18 percent emphasized patience.
- Presence over presents
- Hold them. Hold them. Hold them. Let them melt into your chest, let them squirm into the hollow under your neck. Feel their breath and let them hear your great big heart. Stare at them while they sleep. Whisper your hopes and dreams to them. Wonder at the tiny fingernails and little toes ... Fall deeply in love.
- Take lots of photos … make a memory box … let the baby choose when to start potty training.
- Read to your child 30 minutes a day. By the time he reaches kindergarten [he will have] learned 500 words or more.
- Love that child to the fullest and be in their life as much as possible!
- Be gentle - be patient - be loving - always be there.
- Mucha muchisima paciencia.
- It don't take a genius, just love and patience!
- Cherish the magic moments ... every single nanosecond.
- Give all the love you can. They aren’t little but one time.
- It is the most mind-altering and gratifying experience in life. To watch your kids grow and mature before your eyes is the greatest experience in life and too many men miss it!
- Best thing u can do that can change your life when u put ur love into it.
- Do everything you can for that child and enjoy every minute of it.
- Diapers and wipes, u can never have enough of those two items.
- Expect to be utterly exhausted. Expect baby vomit and dirty diapers ... Sleep and nap together. That rest and bonding is far more important than a clean house or unfinished project.
- Turn T.V. off and spend time with your baby, as much as you can, they grow fast … set a good example to be a man and gentleman.
- Be the person you want your child to be!!
- Love their mother, turn off your cell phone … save money, and, remember, they watch EVERYTHING YOU DO ... EVERYTHING.
- Do a college investment plan, it’s called 529 college investment. It only costs $100 to start it and you can do it at any federal credit union.