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How to Be a Great Young Father

How to Be a Great Young Father

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. In the US, a man usually doesn't become a father until the age of 30, but I became a father ten years earlier than that. I was only 20 years old when my daughter was born, although I had been with the mother for over five years. We were living together and financially stable.

Of course, becoming a father early is not necessarily a bad thing. Thousands of children are conceived by accident each year, and every one of those surprised parents has the choice to either grow up and face the responsibilities of parenthood or not.

Whether you are a father by choice or by accident, you are now a dad, 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 challenges for young fathers, such as unstable relationships, work, and living conditions, plus how to make a family budget. Hopefully, you’ll find information here to help you move out of your parent's house (if you haven’t already, if necessary) and provide a stable life for your little one.

Now, onto the good stuff!

I became a young dad at 20 years old. Here's how to do it well.

I became a young dad at 20 years old. Here's how to do it well.

How to Be a Great Young Dad

The main difficulty of being a young father is finding yourself in the position of taking care of others when you may not yet have established the means of taking care of yourself. It takes time to get started in the right direction, but this short list will help you stay on track.

  1. Find a steady paycheck and deal with income problems or career instability.
  2. Create a stable home environment.
  3. Work on your relationship and manage relationship difficulties (whether you're still together or not).
  4. Spend time with your kid (last but not least; this is the most important thing of all).

Each of these steps is described fully below.

A Regular Income

This may sound very daunting (and believe me, it is possibly the hardest part of becoming an adult), but it's 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 neighbors' lawns.

The fact is that work is out there if you go after it. Look at all the houses in your area; I can promise you that at least 10% of them are looking for a worker 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! I’ve done 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 is a job that you excel at—go above and beyond to impress your bosses and keep applying for full-time positions.

A Stable Home

A stable home is a different matter entirely, and unfortunately, we can’t always have what we want. Due to recessions and many other things (politicians driving around in Teslas), most of us young families will never afford to buy our own homes. Yes, this is sad, but it is life. If you cannot save at least 20% of the total house price as 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.

There is also nothing stopping you from putting your name down on the affordable housing list. There is no shame in admitting that you just cannot afford it; grown men have tried and failed.

It may be that you and your little family need to stay with a parent until you get other things off the ground. There is no shame in that. Sometimes, the most stable living arrangement is with relatives who are happy to help.


A Solid Relationship

If You Are Still a Couple

Sometimes, you can manage to cross the barrier into parenthood and still remain 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.

It is important to make time to be one-on-one together. While your baby is really young, you may not be able to get much time alone together (and I know firsthand that it is very nerve-racking to leave your baby, even with family), but once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you got by without it.

When my daughter had must been born, every Wednesday night, my parents looked after our little Lily, and we had a date night. We talked about our week while we ate dinner, watched a movie, and generally just shared each other’s company.

We didn't leave her overnight, but we went to pick her up at around 10 p.m. Lily was happy because she had a little adventure, we were happy because we spent some time together, and we were all around much better off when we picked her up and smothered her in cuddles!


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 or 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, if not eliminated entirely.

Communicating in a calm, productive manner is far more beneficial for both you as an individual 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 you're shouting and throwing your weight around? That this behavior is acceptable?

If You and the Mother Break Up

I feel it necessary to cover this very real possibility because we are young. Sometimes, things happen that seem right at the time. . . but then, as time passes, you realize that you are not really right for each other. This does not in any way mean that your child was a mistake. Despite the snorts and sideways 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! Either way, you are both adults, and it’s now time to prove it. Civility is not some ancient Chinese secret; it is an inherent part of becoming a grown-up. If you remain civil and remember what you liked about one another, you can have a really great setup.

It Doesn't Have to Be Just Weekends

Typically, fathers only get weekends with their children, but that will not necessarily be 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 one, 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 other's throats and trying to hurt each other, you needn’t go through the courts.

Oftentimes, fathers will fly off the handle and go on some uncalled-for rampage. The only result is distancing yourself from the chance at a pleasant life for both you and your children. Do not be a victim of your own anger.

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 job and home are necessities for all parents wanting to give their children the best start in life.

If you're always tired, chances are you're doing it right!

If you're always tired, chances are you're doing it right!

Spending Time With Your Little One

And finally, it is very important that your child gets a few things in these early years:

  • Quality time with the mother
  • Quality time with the father
  • Quality time with both parents

This should probably go without saying, but if your child never spends time with just you on your own, you'll likely never have a one-on-one relationship. 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. In all honesty, it's great to be able to play with your child for more than five minutes before she reaches out for mommy cuddles!

Whatever you do—whether or not you have a job, a home, or a relationship with the mother—make time to be with your kid. Make it a regular thing, a thing you both can count on and look forward to. That's how you make a relationship.

Becoming a Better Father

All in all, being a dad is not that difficult. What can be hard is the dramatic and unexpected transition from carefree youngster to responsible adult. 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—they might stop inviting you at all!—but you can rest assured in the fact that you have something to be proud of, not to mention you have better things to spend your money on: Your little baby.

The young will stay young until they allow themselves not to be. That's what I say. You can add that quote to any of the wise sayings websites you come across while surfing the net.

Thank you very much for reading, and good luck in your future endeavors!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Gary Holdaway


Tony 21 on April 06, 2019:

Thank you, man this article really helped me calm down, and realize everything will work out. Im 21 and becoming a dad scares me. I know I will be a good one either way.

Portuguese 20yo father on March 25, 2019:

Loved the article.. thanks dude for the good advices!

Lalli ICE on November 18, 2018:

Hello I'm new here can you give me some more tips or something

Daniel on October 08, 2018:

Now i'm not even sure if i'm going to be a dad but thanks to this article, I feel a bit more at ease but i'm still terrified.

Solomon on July 06, 2018:

Nice article, you made me took another good steps forward as a dad...thank you!

Emmnauel Oliveros on June 21, 2018:

Thanks for the article, Really is gonna help out allot, Good advice from a young father like yourself . I still have a couple months to prepare myself and honestly , i cant wait , haha, Feels good being a Dad. Again , thank you

Nancy on April 22, 2018:

"Wow!" You nailed it with your article in black and white, straight out. Happy to know great "Daddy's" still exist!

JustSimple Info from Puget Sound on August 17, 2014:

Great Hub,

Very Very helpful!

I am a father of two! My kids keep me on my toes!

Fernando on August 15, 2014:

Nice article bro, very helpful advice.

Mike on December 04, 2012:

Very interesting hub of the day. Very sweet and helpful advise!

Denise Handlon from Michigan on December 04, 2012:

Very cool hub, Gary. Congratulations on your Hub of the Day Award. :)

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 04, 2012:

How sweet! And very helpful advice for new parents. Congratulations on the HOTD honor too!

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on December 04, 2012:

What a wonderful Hub of the Day. I've been missing more writing from the heart on HP lately. Thanks for being honest even in a difficult situation. As a grandmother, I can tell you that you covered all the bases, at least with a newborn/toddler. It's important for your child to hear you speak well of her mother. This goes for how Mom talks about you too. Best of luck and enjoy the ride.

Lucy Jones from Scandinavia on December 04, 2012:

Wonderful hub and yes, you do sound like a good father. Congratulations on Hub of the Day. Voted up.

Gary Holdaway (author) from Sleaford, UK on December 04, 2012:

Thank you very much :) this is one i had written a while back so I'm very surprised to get hub of the day... After getting it the first time I never thought it would happen again, at least not in such a small timespan.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on December 04, 2012:

You seem like a great young father and you have some very practical advice for other young families. What a beautiful family you have. Congrats on Hub of the Day.

Keith Greene on December 04, 2012:

You cannot buy your children's love with money in the future so, why stress about not having any now? I love your line about letting yourself become a dad; it's beautiful and so true. If you are young and have children, what are your friends doing anyway? Playing Black Ops or drinking in a bar? Spend time with your children, be legos or have tea parties. If you just let yourself go, it will be the best time you've had in awhile

Gary Holdaway (author) from Sleaford, UK on December 04, 2012:

Parenthood certainly is an amazing thing. Your whole life changes in an instant and its definitely for the better. A level of maturity is hit that you just can't hit until you have a child.

Veronica Roberts from Ohio, USA on December 04, 2012:

"Whether you are a father by choice or not, you are now a father, and it’s time to step up!" - AWESOME words. I applaud you for facing fatherhood head-on & doing what was best for your family - not just yourself, the mother, or the baby, but everyone.

Your daughter is beautiful! Congrats & best wishes.

Isn't parenthood breathtaking (in a multitude of ways)? :)

Congrats on the HOD.

QudsiaP1 on December 04, 2012:

I think you have done a wonderful job portraying the message with the title keeping both stability and instability in view. This is absolutely wonderful.

rmcleve on December 04, 2012:

I can see here that you care, live for your family, and really embody the role of father. It's a wonderful thing to see, especially when I find young fathers who are not so attentive and caring in my own family. It's a blessing! Wonderful hub, too. :)

JustSimple Info from Puget Sound on December 04, 2012:

Great Hub. I love being a father to my two girls.... they are my life, and yes I have a 3 and a newly 12 year old... Welcome to the club fellow father! :-)

Gary Holdaway (author) from Sleaford, UK on December 04, 2012:

What the hell!! I really didn't expect hub of the day again. I'm so pleased :)

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on December 04, 2012:

Congrats on hub of the day. Beautiful daughter. I can tell you're a proud father, hang in there, you've got about 18 more years. You did a good job on your hub!

Klavdija Frahm on December 04, 2012:

Great hub! You're great father, keep up the good work. xoxo to your little one :)

Kalpana Iyer from India on December 04, 2012:

Such a 'mature' young father, and trust me you don't find that trait in guys who became fathers at an older age. Hats off to you for that! And congrats on 'Hub of the Day'. Well deserved.

Gary Holdaway (author) from Sleaford, UK on December 04, 2012:

Haha thank you :)

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on December 04, 2012:

I would never have guessed you were so youthful Gary - which is a compliment by the way!

Gary Holdaway (author) from Sleaford, UK on November 08, 2012:

Thankyou very much for your comment and kind words :)

kathleenkat from Bellingham, WA on November 08, 2012:

Hey! Go to Bank of the Pacific...they approved me at as little as 3% down! The trick to that is keeping your credit score above 700 :)

This is very interesting to read...I am 22, and childless. It seems that so much changes with a child! This article makes me look forward to children days, and though I don't posess the parts to be a dad, I think moms and future moms can learn a lot from this, too! Voted up.

Gary Holdaway (author) from Sleaford, UK on October 26, 2012:

Thank you, Jesse.

Jesse Mugnier from Jersey on October 26, 2012:

Being a young mother, I can completely relate to this piece (well, the being a young parent part and family life and such). I think you hit the nail on the head. Having children is the best thing I ever have and ever will do in my lifetime. That's not to say it's not difficult, but I will try my hardest to support them and make sure they know how much I love them. I truly am grateful to know that not all young fathers bail on their girlfriends when a pregnancy happens. So many young men will just walk away and not care, even a little bit, about the bundle of joy they created.

You sound like you have a wonderful family life over there with a beautiful little girl. I wish the best of luck to all of you.