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Being a Dad while in High School


I am a teen father—two sons—19 mos. and 5 mos. old. I am a senior in high school and live at home with my parents. The boys live with their mother. It is a difficult balancing act with school, being a son myself, being a dad and being in a relationship with my sons’ mom at age 17. I don’t feel like I do any of it very well.


You may want to attend a Boot Camp for New Dads class in your area. Balancing all your roles is difficult, and you would receive some encouragement and tips from other fathers with new babies (not necessarily in the same situation, but also balancing a number of roles). There may also be some information helpful to you here: Balancing Act.

The hurdles you face in being a dad must seem overwhelming compared to older dads, but all your kids ultimately care about is whether you tried to do your best for them. While this may be a lot less than other guys at this time (in 10 years when they are 10 and 11, you will be able to do a lot more), right now the bottom line is to make them a regular part of your life. This way you get to know them, and they get to know you. That's all you need to shoot for, for now.

The best way is to get out with them alone. Start with short stroller trips around mom's house to build her confidence in you. Graduate with longer trips to see things you are interested in (cars, sports, hardware store - babies are fascinated by anything new, so show them what you like). If you want to take them surfing when they are old enough, take them to swimming lessons at six months.

What happens when you get out alone? Magic. When it is just you and them, you notice everything about each other and connect. For dad it is like a date; he is out to show his kid a good time and bring him into his world, maybe starting by showing him the Shelby Cobra 427 at the car show. When people ask about his baby, he gets to do the talking. When a problem develops, it is “dad to the rescue.” The smile on your baby’s face shows he likes it too. This is when a new dad really starts feeling like a father.

Good luck. Nothing in life is more important.

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