If you’re a young father around the age of 20, you may have a lot more work to do, and you’ll have to grow as both a person and a parent, stick to a stricter budget, and understand that raising your child will likely come with some unavoidable battles.
However, you will grow to see yourself in your child and reap the rewards. You need to build your confidence more, especially if you find yourself unexpectedly being a young father.
Being a young father may come with challenges, but the challenges could be rewarding, too. Are you becoming a father at 20? Keep reading with us to read the pros and cons and how you can build your resilience towards judgment.
Related Reading: How to Handle “Expectant Father Anxiety”
The Good Things About Becoming a Father At 20
Although there will be some disadvantages to being a young father, there are many more benefits, and raising your child will become your most fulfilling job.
Below are the best things about being a young father, which will make everything so much more than worth it:
Watching Your Child Grow Up Is Rewarding
Knowing that you played such a crucial role in the person your child is becoming will likely get emotional.
Additionally, you get to see your massive influence on them, such as supporting their challenges, hobbies, interests, and school, to help them evolve into the adults they are meant to be.
Motivation to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Becoming a father at a younger age like 20 can certainly be stressul, but it also offer a good source of motivation to live a “healthier” lifestyle.
If young fathers are taking their responsibility seriously, they’ll likely refrain from drinking in excess, eating unhealthy foods, or engaging in risky behavior. This isn’t a guarantee, of course, as young fathers are still developing themselves.
However, having the responsibility of a child can seem like all the “fun” in your younger years is over when the opposite is often more true. Activities with children and the family as a whole can be far more fulfilling and rewarding than a weekend bender, for example.
You Learn Patience Much Earlier in Your Life
Having a child at an early age in your life will teach you patience like never before! All parents need to be patient when raising their children, but it will be even more critical for you as a young father.
You need to control your temper and emotions and practice patience while your child is teething, learning to sleep through the night, needs to complete their homework, learn how to tie their shoes, and learn from their mistakes.
You Develop Empathy Much Earlier Than Others
When you become a father, you will also naturally become more empathetic. You will become more aware of others, including other parents and your parents.
You will develop a remarkably different perspective of what it’s like being in the shoes of others.
Your Child Is a Smaller Version of You
One of the best things about being a young father, especially at the age of 20, will allow you to see yourself in your child.
It can be bittersweet to see how genetics can pass down features and qualities of yourself, your parents, or your grandparents.
You Will Receive Help as a Young Father
Just because you are one of the first in your friend group to become a father doesn’t mean you are all by yourself!
You can find helpers, such as your spouse, parents, and friends, who will support you wherever possible. However, in some cases, a young father may lack support from their friends and/or loved ones.
Luckily, there are fatherhood programs for young fathers, and due to young adults’ usage of social media, this could become a crucial part of fathers receiving support.
These programs may share some helpful information through social networks, text messages, and program apps to spread the word about events in which young fathers can participate!
The Cons of Being a Father At 20
Of course, being a young father can also come with disadvantages. However, although it is crucial for you to keep these in mind if you are still deciding whether to have a child, if you are already set to become a father, the positives will outweigh the negatives on this one.
Parenting a child at a younger age comes with its challenges, which could become overwhelming for any young father, creating anxiety and stress:
You May Have to Work Much Harder
When you become a father at a young age, your priorities need to be in line. You need to work much harder to provide for your child, as there are more “mouths to feed” now.
You also need to consider the cost of raising a child, from diapers & formula, to school fees and clothes, to setting up a college fund to give your child the shot at life you possibly can.
Young fathers may not be at the education or career level they want to be, and continuing to reach these goals will take a considerable amount of time and planning.
House Chores Are a Never-Ending Story
You will now have double the chores to do, depending on how much help you have available.
Things such as dirty dishes, dirty laundry, and cleaning the house have become much more intense, and it could become challenging to keep up!
You Need to Budget and Save Your Money Wherever You Can
Every drop of money you earn must be carefully budgeted and saved to provide for your child’s needs. Your child should be your priority in life; sometimes, you must sacrifice things to get them the things they need for school and extracurricular activities.
Many new parents, especially young fathers, tend to underestimate the expenses of a child.
Raising a baby through to their teen years costs in the US can cost roughly $233,610 or more, with housing being the most significant expense, making up 29% of the overall cost of raising a child.
In the USDA report, the cost of food is the second-largest expense and accounts for 18% of the overall cost.
With the third and fourth-largest expenses being around 16% and 15% for education and transportation, they could increase as the child ages.
These numbers exclude college, ranging from $18,550 to $54,880 alone.
You Will Have Less Time for Yourself
For the first few years of their life, children will require your full attention at nearly all times. You may be young, but you will soon appreciate the small stuff, such as having a trip to the supermarket alone or a relaxing shower or bath.
Until your children start school, you and your co-parent will be responsible for their well-being during their waking hours, which can be overwhelming at first.
Every Stage of Your Child’s Life Comes with Battles
From dirty diapers and too much laundry to hormonal teenagers, each stage of your child’s life will have its battles.
It is up to you as a young father to figure out how to grow up yourself while considering your child and the impact it will have on them.
Related Reading: Feeling Trapped by Fatherhood?
The Judgment That Comes Along with Being a Young Father & How to Handle It
Younger fathers can often face stereotypes where other people may assume that they are “unfit” to be a good parent, have less money due to being a young father, or that their child is a “mistake”.
Luckily, there are many positive ways to resolve the inner conflict that is caused by the constant judgment and maybe even resentment, as it will not only benefit you but help you to cope with being a father at the age of 20:
Know That Relationships Will Be More Difficult to Maintain
When successfully navigating relationships with the mother of your child, ex-girlfriend, or grandparents, you need to remember that the child is the most important. Sometimes, you need to bite your tongue, stay calm, and let go of things.
This becomes especially important if you’re going through a breakup while still becoming a new father and trying to get the hang of things.
As a father, you need to try your best to understand how difficult it is to be a mother and that this woman is the mother of your child, so you need to treat them with respect, even if it’s easier said than done.
Never Stop Educating Yourself
Being a father at the age of 20 means you probably don’t know everything you should, and it could be difficult if you don’t have enough support available.
Try to read all the books, whether they’re written for dads, mothers, parents, or even teachers. Try to get your hands on any information, including your friends or the internet. As a father, you will never stop learning!
Never Hesitate to Ask for Help
Many young men initially react with confusion and shock upon learning that they will become a father, especially if the pregnancy was unplanned or they are no longer in a relationship with the mother. The chaos and shock could quickly turn into stress and even depression, especially if their relationship with the mother is unhealthy.
Many young fathers worry about a child’s impact on their time and freedom, school, and having to find a job, potentially while still in school themselves.
Being a father will be the most challenging job ever and, unfortunately, men often don’t have the same support networks as women.
Start your own network of support, or seek out networks. Always reach out for help, and if help does come your way, receive it with open arms.
Continue Reading: How to Prepare for Becoming a Father At 40
Being a father at the age of 20 will have challenges, and there will be good times and bad. However, the most important takeaway is that being a parent is the most beautiful experience life can give, and you should never give up on yourself.
Remember, you have to be in good condition to be a good father, so taking care of your well-being is crucial!