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My best friend Carly was pregnant at sixteen.

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Introduction

My best friend Carly was pregnant at sixteen, had a baby at seventeen and at eighteen, is supporting her daughter Nicole by herself as Jimmy, the father of her baby, denies all claims of being the dad. It is the lack of accountability of fathers, the absence of programs for teen dads and the general view of society as a whole on the responsibilities of fathers versus mothers that allows men like Jimmy to get away with being a so called "dead-beat dad". The big question that arises from all of this is what makes teen fathers any different from teen mothers? For one, the fact that fathers in general do not actually go through the birthing process allows them to stay un-attached and uninvolved much more easily than women. They, in essence, can impregnate a woman and completely walk away from her the next day, not having to go through the decision-making process as whether or not to keep the baby, to put it up for adoption or to abort it. ...read more.

Middle

Another problem which we encounter is the unfair double standard when it comes to the expectations of teen mothers as compared to fathers.. For instance when a young man gets a young woman pregnant no expectations of him change; he is still expected to go to finish high school and then either get a job or go onto postsecondary. When a girl becomes pregnant all expectations of her change, as was the case with Carly. She was expected to drop out of high school to care for Nicole and get a job to support her needs. If a teen girl decides that she is going to finish high school and, god forbid, attend postsecondary there is a judgment passed on her that she is a bad mom. This is because her child will most likely have to attend day care in order for her to complete her schooling and will result in her being perceived as absent. ...read more.

Conclusion

"[Dead-beat fathers] are hurting their children, and [ their children ] have done nothing to deserve that." It runs deeper than just a feeling of neglect, "fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school, often exhibit aggressive, acting out behavior, are twice as likely to need psychological help, are far more at risk to engage in criminal activities and make up for 63% of youth suicides" as opposed to children who grow up with a constant father figure in their lives. It has been a year since Nicole was born and she still has not received financial or emotional support from Jimmy nor his family. She has now realized that the only way she is going to be able to get anything from him is by spending her much needed money to take him to court; she has no other choice. In spite of all this, it makes me feel better to know that Nicole is growing up as Carly's daughter and no as Jimmy's burden and I no matter what, will always be there to support her. ...read more.

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