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When Boys Become Parents

When Boys Become Parents: Adolescent Fatherhood in America

Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    When Boys Become Parents
    Book Description:

    After school specials about teenage pregnancy abound. Whether in television or in society, the focus tends toward young girls coping with all of the emotional and physical burdens of pregnancy but rarely is the perspective of the teenage fathers portrayed.

    In this informative book, Mark S. Kiselica draws on his many years of counseling teenage fathers to offer a compassionate look at the difficult life circumstances and the complicated hardships these young men experience. He dispels many of the myths surrounding teenage fatherhood and shows that, contrary to popular belief, these young men are often emotionally and physically involved in relationships with their partner and their child. But without support and guidance from adults, these relationships often deteriorate in the first year of the child-'s life. Kiselica offers advice for how professionals and policy makers can assist these young men and improve services for them.

    When Boys Become Parents provides a moving portrait of teenage fathers to any reader who wants to understand and help these young men to become more competent and loving parents during their journey to adulthood.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4579-0
    Subjects: Psychology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    Mark Kiselica
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 The Looming Crisis America Must Confront
    (pp. 1-11)

    For the past twenty-eight years I have been on a quest to help, study, and understand boys who become fathers during their teenage years. The seeds of this venture were sown many years ago, back in 1980 when I was a twenty-two-year-old young man, fresh out of college. At the time, I was employed as a mental health worker in the inpatient adolescent unit of Fair Oaks Hospital, a private psychiatric facility located in Summit, New Jersey. I had taken a job at Fair Oaks to gain experience working with emotionally disturbed teenagers.

    One summer night while I was assigned...

  6. 2 The Sexual Worlds of American Teenagers from Different Eras and Their Impact on Boys Who Become Fathers
    (pp. 12-30)

    When I left Fair Oaks in 1981, I was deeply affected by my memories of Steve and the other young fathers I had met during my two years working at the hospital. Their moving stories inspired me to reach out to other boys and men who had become parents while they were adolescents. The varied experiences of these fathers taught me that the likelihood of becoming a father and a young man’s response to an unplanned, premarital pregnancy are greatly influenced by the era during which he was a teenager. One of the principal teachers of this lesson was a...

  7. 3 The Characteristics and Parenting Behaviors of Adolescent Fathers: Stereotypical versus Accurate Portraits
    (pp. 31-54)

    One evening during a heated community meeting regarding the problems of teenagers from an urban area of New Jersey, Sam, an influential local leader, stood up to lament the moral decline of today’s youth, which, he charged, was especially evident in the sexual behavior of adolescent boys. Passionate and angry, the gentleman condemned America’s teenage boys for the large number of adolescent girls who were getting pregnant and having children prior to marriage. Stirred by Sam’s persuasive manner, the audience broke into a spirited round of applause, affirming everything Sam had to say, supporting his contention that we could solve...

  8. 4 The Service Needs of Adolescent Fathers: Addressing Hardships and Societal Neglect
    (pp. 55-85)

    Life was never easy for William. He was the youngest of three children raised by a single mom in a rough inner-city neighborhood. She did her best to provide for her two sons and her daughter, working as a custodian for the local school district. Like most good parents, she had positive dreams for her children, hoping they would complete high school, go on to college, and get a decent job so they could have a better life than she had had. But things didn’t work out that way for any of her children, including William.

    William’s older brother got...

  9. 5 Helping Teenage Fathers: The Process of Engaging Young Fathers and Assisting Them with the Transition to Parenthood
    (pp. 86-122)

    Before Ralph became a father at age eighteen, his life was in fairly good shape. He was about to graduate from high school, he had been accepted for admission to a state college, and he was very much in love with his girlfriend, Angela, who was also about to graduate and head off to nursing school. Although the couple was young, they were committed to each other, had engagement plans, and dreamed of sharing a life together once they completed college. Their families shared similar values and had forged close ties. So when Angela became pregnant, although the two families...

  10. 6 Model Programs and Useful Resources: Comprehensive Service Projects, Organizations, Web Sites, Movies, and Young-Adult Books Pertaining to Teenage Fathers
    (pp. 123-159)

    During the 1970s and through the early 1980s, it became clear that adolescent childbearing was a major social problem. Each year during that time period, about a million teenage girls got pregnant, and roughly half of those young women gave birth to a baby. The health, social service, educational, and legal systems of our country began to recognize that these young mothers and their children were at risk for a variety of social, economic, and health-related difficulties. In response to these problems, numerous multifaceted service programs for teen mothers were established to improve the life circumstances of these teenagers and...

  11. 7 Policy Considerations: What America Must Do to Prevent Early Fatherhood and Help Teenage Boys Who Are Fathers
    (pp. 160-196)

    Institutional and public policies play a large role in determining the types of services that are offered and who is going to receive them. A surprisingly high number of adolescent fathers grasp this reality in spite of their seemingly unsophisticated ways, and they have many strong opinions about how their lives are affected by the policies and practices pertaining to service provision that have been established in our nation. On the whole, boys who become fathers at an early age are skeptical that the people who are in positions of power and set policy really care about or understand what...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 197-258)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 259-264)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-265)