Parenting is one of the most difficult life choices that an adult can make. No matter how you twist it, raising another human being is not a very easy thing to do. But parenting is not always expected, and neither does it usually have two consenting adults in the mix.
If you find yourself in either of these scenarios, then you are more than likely a teenage parent. A teenage parent in the context of this article is not necessarily a teenager. But it is someone of child-bearing age who was not prepared for a child and therefore cannot maintain one.
As a teenager or young adult with your whole life ahead of you, the unexpected responsibility of parenthood might seem very heavy to bear. This crux increases tenfold if you are a single teenage parent.
Therefore, in this post, I will be discussing the two possible aspects of teenage parenting, which are single and partnered, and I will be pointing out some of the best tips for both.
How is Being a Teenage Parent Any Different?
Being a teenage parent is even more difficult than being a regular parent, and the reasons for this are apparent. But just for clarity, here are some extra burdens that come with being a teenage parent:
1. It Can Interfere with Your Life
This interference with your life is the most glaring issue with being a teenage parent. The fact that you are not financially, socially, or mentally prepared for the child will make it very hard on your daily routine.
Pregnancy and parenting carry along with them certain extents of commitment from either parent. And the fact that teenage pregnancy is unexpected and unplanned comes with a lot of unforeseen consequences.
2. Your Finances Have to Be Split Even More Ways
The second worst part of being a teenage parent is that you consider every form of income as less than it is. The reason is that, depending on the number of children you have, you will have more mouths to feed and hence more financial issues to take care of. Therefore, you would have to think twice before spending any cash that you receive.
3. You Feel the Stigma Everywhere You Go
Whether you’re studying at school or walking on the road, you can always feel wandering eyes staring at you. You have probably also heard people wonder about your age or what you are doing with your life. Although, those are all just opinions and should not derail you from your personal views and aspirations.
Useful Tips for Every Teenage Parent
Every teenage parent faces different variations of the same problems every day. But there are two distinct variants of teenage parenthood depending on whether your partner is in the picture or not. Below are tips on how to handle each of these issues.
Tips for the Partnered Teenage Parent
Let’s start with the easy part. Being a teenager or young adult can more than likely mean that your partner bails out once you get pregnant. Sometimes, but seldom, it’s the other way around, and your partner may give birth to your baby only to leave you hanging with it.
But let’s pretend that both of you are still together and both your families are considerably supportive. What and what are the things you should look out for while raising your child in this relatively habitable situation? Here they are:
1. Formulate a Parenting System and Stick To It
Not being able to carry your child along while maintaining healthy social and work routines can be quite frustrating, but don’t fret. By creating a system around your child’s upkeep and maintenance, you are carving out spaces such that your parenting lives and your personal lives seldom collide.
The parenting system that both teenage parents come up with should extend to all the different aspects of both your lives. What this means is that you each have a contingency for almost everything that could happen, including emergencies. The only way to achieve this is if both of you sit down and brainstorm several instances and ways to tackle each of them.
2. Use Babysitters
Babysitters are a contingency for when both the schedules of you and your partner clash. There can be times when you might have someplace to be, and your partner might also be busy.
Here, you should make sure to have someone you can call to keep and take care of your child so that you both don’t fall behind on work or school. Read this article to discover some considerations to make when hiring domestic staff.
3. Split All the Bills
It is probably the best aspect of being a partnered teenage parent. You get more support where finances are concerned, and therefore you are free to budget a considerably less amount on your child’s upkeep.
You and your teenage parent partner should both split the bill according to your financial capacities having it at the back of your minds that each party is equally responsible.
Tips for the Single Teenage Parent
No matter how you slice it, being a single parent is way more difficult than any other kind of parenting. Now, let’s say you’re not only single but broke and young. What are the things that you can do to increase your chances of survival with your child?
1. Get an Alternative Guardian for Your Child
It is necessary to know that the energy required to raise your child considerably decreases when you become single. Therefore, you need to have a backup or two because, realistically, you can’t always be there for your child. Here, siblings and parents come into play.
Alternative guardians serve as adequate substitutes for teenage parents who can’t afford babysitters. What’s more, is that they can even contribute to the upkeep of you and your child, thereby taking on the role of partner. The more experience your alternative guardian has with children, the better.
2. Make Strict Schedules
An average single parent would usually have to make compromises for their children, such as picking them up from school, making time to help them with their homework, etc. But average single parents don’t have to juggle school, side jobs, regular teenage duties, and raising children together at the same time.
Single teenage parents have all these responsibilities and are more compounded in their heads. Therefore, as a single teenage parent, you should know that you will have a lot of work on your hands and hence must act accordingly.
This means that you should make time for the more relevant things in your life first before you start considering others. By default, you ought to draft your schedule in order of decreasing urgency.
3. Take Time To Connect with Your Child Ever So Often
There have been cases where children grow up referring to their parents as siblings as their parents didn’t spend enough time with them. Not nice! Your child is still your responsibility. And no matter what happens, you are the one who should provide them with the love and support that they need growing up.