My boyfriend wants to have a baby, i could easily support and raise a child but im only 19 and im worried i might be to young. How do i know im old enough to have children?
Choosing when to become a parent is one of the most important decisions a person can make. Sometimes, especially for teenagers, the desire to have a child is an indication of some other need that may not be simple to understand – for example, the need to become independent, the need to escape from an unpleasant family situation, or the need to keep a relationship. These are usually not good reasons to have a child.
There are many things to think about before deciding to have and raise a child. Once a person becomes a parent, she or he is responsible for another person for at least the next 18 years. Raising a child involves a major commitment in time and money. And in general, teenage parents have lower family incomes, and their children may also have a harder time growing up.
Here are some things to think about and discus with your boyfriend before you become parents:
- Am I ready to help a child feel wanted and loved 24 hours a day for the next 18 years and beyond?
- Can I talk about my feelings and other important things with my boyfriend, my family, and friends? Will I have their support?
- Am I ready to accept full responsibility for parenting and go it alone, if it becomes necessary? Will I have enough money to support myself and a child?
- Am I mature enough to keep from harming the child physically or emotionally? (I won’t ridicule, humiliate, slap, hit, or threaten my child no matter what happens, no matter how frustrated I get.)
- Am I ready to seek whatever counseling I need to become a better parent?
- Am I ready to give up my social life with my friends to take care of my baby?
- Am I ready to put my school or career plans on hold?
Even with the help of your family and friends, being a parent isn’t easy. It’s often complicated and frustrating. Remember that your child’s needs will constantly change, and so will your ability to meet those needs. Talking with your boyfriend might not be enough. Talking with a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, religious adviser, or trained counselor, may help you figure out whether or not you are ready and willing to become a parent.