Q:

How do I become a teenage father?

A:

Having unprotected sex is the surest way to become a teenage father. A sexually active teen who does not use birth control has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Besides the obvious answer, becoming a teenage father involves actually parenting the resulting child.

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To be an active father to a child, the teen must have legal parental rights; that means the father's name must appear on the birth certificate or paternity must be established through blood tests that are submitted to the court, according to About.com. Once this is established, a teen is legally entitled to visitation and custody.

Of course, with these rights comes the responsibility of child support. The best way to be a teen father is to work closely as a co-parent with the baby's mother, whether or not there is still a relationship, to help ensure the child's emotional, physical and financial well being.

Being a parent is a lifelong commitment that long exceeds the teen years, and with it the repercussions on the father. Teen fathers are less likely to finish high school and more likely to be poor and rely on government assistance than older fathers. In addition, the children of teen fathers are less likely to do well in school and more likely to have negative health and behavioral issues than children born to older parents.

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