Sexual Health

Experiences of young fathers

Many young mums and young dads we spoke to said that their first child was unplanned and that the baby was conceived because of contraception problems or not using contraception. A man who doesn't like wearing condoms described how difficulties finding suitable contraception had resulted in three unplanned babies so far.   

Most men were pleased to hear they would be a father, although recognised it would be difficult and that their lives would change

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After having an unplanned child, some of the men we interviewed discussed family planning (contraception) with their partners. As one said, 'I don't want a basketful of children'. 

Many young dads have supportive friends and families. Family members can explain about child care and some offer financial support, even if they don't initially seem pleased a baby is on the way.

Men we talked to said that being a parent meant they had less money and less of a social life. They were aware of their responsibilities and that their children's needs have to come before their personal wishes

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Another said that it is important for him and his partner to go out with friends because bringing up a young family is hard. He said, 'The key is to have time for yourself because if you don't you're going to be a nervous wreck and you're going to be deeply stressed and you know things won't really run right'. 

Many men do their share of the housework and childcare. One man said that he regularly takes his children to a project run for young parents in his neighbourhood and to play in the park. Another said that he and his partner do not have a clear rota for housework but that he does whatever needs to be done.

Young fathers' advice to others is 'to wear condoms' if they don't want to be a dad and to make sure that they have enough money if they do. One said 'wait till you're definitely ready before having your first child'.

Last reviewed January 2016.

Last updated August 2012.

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