How to be a Great Young Father
What Is A Young Father?
The first question I had to ask myself when sitting down to write this article was, ‘what constitutes a young father?’ I know I am one, because that is what everybody calls me. Eventually I came to the conclusion that a young father is based on the people that surround you, and is usually a man under 24. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and while thousands of children are conceived by accident each year, we all have the choice whether to grow up or not and face the responsibilities of parenthood. Whether you are a father by choice or not, you are now a father, and it’s time to step up! This article will detail the highs, lows, and important parts of being a father, although I can tell you right now there really aren’t any lows.
I will be covering common events such as breaking up with the mother, having unstable work and living conditions, and linking you to another article of mine about budgeting your family money. Hopefully with these two articles combined, you’ll be able to move out if you haven’t already, and provide a stable environment for your little beauty.
Now onto the good stuff! I myself was only 20 years old when my daughter was born, although granted I have been with the mother for over five years, we were living together and financially stable. By rights, I have been an adult since I was 16, decided to go out to work and get my own house.
Are you still with the mother of your child?
In The Event Of A Breakup
I feel it necessary to cover this very real possibility because we are young, and sometimes things happen that seem right at the time, and then as time passes you realize that you are not 100% right for each other. This does not in anyway mean that your child was a mistake, and despite the snorts and downwards looks you will get from the ‘oldies,’ it could happen to anyone of any age. I don’t personally believe in ‘staying together for the kids,’ as it almost always results in a hostile environment, a place that incidentally is not nice for your child to be raised.
You’re young, breakups happen. Yes it is very sad that you now have to see your child only on certain days, but it is important to remember that it is not the fault of the mother entirely. It may not be her fault at all! I don’t know, I’m just trying to lay it all out there. Either way, you are both adults, and it’s now time to prove it. Civility is not some ancient Chinese secret that is only handed down through generations, it is an inherent part of becoming a grown up. And the fact is, if you remain civil, and remember the parts of the relationship that made the two of you tolerate each other, you can have a really great set up.
Often fathers only get weekends with the children, but that is not necessarily the case for you. If you have a job with a regular income, a roof over your head and the means to feed your little daughter or son, the mother should be more than happy for you to take your child off her hands midweek every now and then. Remember that if you two aren’t down each others throats and trying to hurt one and other, you needn’t go through courts and the usual processes. Oftentimes, fathers will fly off the handle and go on some uncalled for rampage, only resulting in distancing themselves from the chance at a normal livelihood for you and your children. Do not be a victim to your own anger.
With that said and covered, I’m going to continue the article as if you are with the mother of your child, and can now be read by any father, young or not. Please bear in mind that if you and the mother are not together anymore, the rest of the details in this article will remain important to you. A steady home and a regular income are necessities for all parents wanting to give their children the best start in life.
A Regular Income & A Stable Home
Now this may sound very daunting to you, and believe me it is possibly the hardest part of becoming an adult, but its something we all go through, whether we are 16 or 36. The importance of a job is paramount. You need to support your family the best way you can, even if that means going out and mowing your neighbor’s lawns. What I intend to bring to you now, is the fact that work is out there if you go after it. Out of thousands of houses in your area, I can promise you that at least 10% of them are looking for workers to do one thing or another. It’s time to take responsibility and get out there knocking on doors, offering all you can. You can clean, you can cut grass, you can pick up dog droppings for all I care! I’ve done it! Literally all of the above, along with decorating jobs, digging flowerbeds out and a whole array of other services.
The fact is that you have to put yourself out there to get anything back. Jobs don’t fall into your lap out of nowhere. Get yourself down to temp agencies and let them help you with a CV, and don’t stop selling yourself until you have something stable. Make sure every job you get put into is a job that you excel in, go above and beyond to impress your superiors and keep applying for full time positions. The world is your oyster.
A stable home is a different matter entirely, and unfortunately we can’t always have what we want. Due to the recession, and many other things (government enforcers driving around in Bentleys and Mercedes) most of us ‘young families’ will never afford to buy our own home. Yes, this is sad, but it is life. If you cannot save at least 20% of your house price for a deposit, it is highly unlikely you’ll get a mortgage. But renting is a viable option, and in most cases the only option. Shop around, trawl through hundreds of brochures and webpages until you find the most sensible, practical home for your budget.
Of course, there is nothing stopping you putting your name down on the affordable housing list. There is no shame in admitting that you just can not afford it, grown men have tried and failed. That is not to say that you don’t still apply all of the above advice!
This is where I link you to my budget article, Managing-the-family-money. This really is an in depth article involving your family budget and contains a few easy tips to save as much money as possible.
Oh, hell no. Your happy, sensitive little child does not want to wake up with Weetabix and a banging headache because you and your girlfriend/ wife are screaming at each other over who left the bathroom light on. Any arguments, any arguments, should be left until your child is out of earshot, and really should be eliminated entirely.
Communicating in a calm, productive manner is far more beneficial to both you as a person, and the two of you as a couple, aside from the huge benefits to the entire family. And just think, what are you teaching your child when your shouting and throwing your weight around? That that behavior is acceptable?
You Are Still A Couple
You have crossed the barrier and become parents, but you are still a couple. Remember what you did to create that little miracle cuddling you all day? That doesn’t have to stop now, It just slows down a little. Granted, we can’t walk around randy as two goats anymore, and of course we can't just get at it whenever we feel like it, but believe me, from experience, it helps to have a bit of together time without your little one.
While your baby is really young, you may not be able to get much time together alone, and I know first hand that it is very nerve racking to leave them even with family, but once you allow time you’ll not remember how you got by with out it. Every Wednesday night my parents look after our little Lily, and we have a date night. We talk about our weeks while we eat dinner, sit down and watch a movie and generally just share each other’s company. We’ve not yet left her overnight, and I think that is a long way off, but we go and pick her up at around 10PM. Lily’s happy because she’s had a little adventure, we’re happy because we’ve spent some time together, and we’re all around much better off when we get to pick her up and smother her in cuddles!
Spending Time With Your Little One
And finally, It is very important that your child gets a few things in his/ her early years:
- Quality time with the mother.
- Quality time with both parents.
- Quality time with the father.
This sort of goes without saying, but if your child never spends time with just you on your own, it'll create every time it has to be. I take my little one for regular walks, and play with her while mommy has a bath. She doesn’t ask for much, she just wants to know who to call Daddy. And in all honesty its great to be able to play with your child for more than five minutes before she reaches out for mommy cuddles!
All in all being a Dad is not that difficult, and its just the transition between carefree one minute and full of responsibility the next that can throw us off guard. My biggest advice to you is just to let it happen, and become a dad. Your friends may mock you when you say no to the pub, or you may sometimes not get invited at all, but you can be comfortable in the fact that you have something to be proud of. Not only that, but you have better things than alcohol to spend your money on. Your little baby.
'The young will stay young until they allow themselves not to be.'
Gary Holdaway, 2012
You can add that quote to any of the 'wise sayings' websites you come across while surfing the net, and use me as a reference. (Because I really want to be famous one way or another!)
Thank you very much for reading, and good luck in your future endeavours!