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 The Role of Teen Fathers in Teen Pregnancy

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Join date : 2008-03-07

PostSubject: The Role of Teen Fathers in Teen Pregnancy   Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:58 pm


Reducing teen pregnancy is closely connected to the
goal of promoting responsible fatherhood. Research
shows that involved and committed fathers are important to
the well-being of their children. Unfortunately, children
born to teen parents are often denied a close connection
with their father because the relationship between their parents
frequently dissolves over time.
• Children who live apart from their fathers are five
times more likely to be poor than children with both
parents at home.1
• Boys and girls without involved fathers are twice as
likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to abuse
alcohol or drugs, twice as likely to end up in jail, and
two to three times more likely to need help for emotional
or behavioral problems.1,2
• Teen girls who don’t have a father in their life are two
times more likely to initiate sexual activity early and
are seven times more likely to get pregnant compared
to girls with fathers present.3
• Also, teen girls who have a higher quality relationship
with their fathers are less likely to initiate sexual activity
compared to those who report a lower quality relationship
with their fathers.4
• Teen boys who live with both parents initiate sex at an
older age compared to teen boys in other family situations.
• Over two decades of research confirms that parents –
both fathers and mothers – are an important influence
on whether their teenagers become pregnant or cause a
There is growing attention to the responsibilities of boys
and young men in preventing teen pregnancy. At last
count, 40 states had strategies to prevent unwanted or tooearly
fatherhood. This emphasis on primary prevention for
boys and men is a welcome trend. Still, too many young
men are not waiting until they are ready – emotionally and
financially – to become fathers:
• The good news is that sexual activity among teenage
boys is declining; in fact, less than half of all teen boys
report that they have ever had sex.7
• More teen boys are also using condoms when they have
sex, and almost one in four sexually active teen boys
report that they used dual methods the last time they
had sex (they used a condom and their partner used a
hormonal method).7
• When it comes to marriage, divorce, and non-marital
childbearing, teen boys tend to have slightly more traditional
attitudes compared to teen girls—only about
half of teen boys approve of non-marital childbearing
compared to almost two-thirds of girls; close to threequarters
of teen boys think that getting married is better
than staying single compared to about half of teen girls;
about 4 in 10 teen boys approve of divorce as an solution
to marriage problems while close to half of girls
Teen Pregnancy and Responsible Fatherhood
Eight of ten teen fathers do not marry
the mothers of their first children.
These absent fathers pay less than
$800 annually for child support, often
because they are quite poor themselves.
• The best available data show that after increasing 32
percent between 1986 and 1991, the teen birth rate for
fathers aged 15 - 19 decreased 31 percent between
1991 and 2004.10,11
• Eight of ten teen fathers do not marry the mothers of
their first children.12
• These absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for
child support, often because they are quite poor themselves.
• Some research suggest that teen fathers have lower
education levels and suffer earning loses of 10-15 percent
Clearly, there is more that could be done to send a strong
message to teen boys and young men that they should wait
to become a father until they are ready to have a lasting —
ideally married — relationship with the mother of their
children and are able meet their financial and emotional
responsibilities to their children. In addition, there is more
that could be done to build on efforts within the teen pregnancy
prevention field to reach out to boys and young men
through what are sometimes called “male involvement programs.”
It is also important to recognize and support the
important role that fathers can play in helping their own
sons and daughters avoid becoming teen parents.
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