Program Highlight: Program for Young Parents
The first time I met “Bob” he was wearing an oversized t-shirt and a backward baseball cap that attempted to cover his long, shaggy blond hair. When you passed him on the street, you would never guess that he was a 16-year-old father.
When Bob attended our Program for Young Parents (PYP) for the first time, he sauntered into the room with a large backpack on one arm and a skateboard on the other. He seemed to be in perpetual motion, playing a drum roll on the table with his fingers and simultaneously pulling crumpled papers and a cell phone out of his backpack.
Bob was a popular young man and being a father was a whole new role and adventure. Bob never met his father. A single mother, who had been a teen parent herself, raised him. He talked lovingly about his 4-month-old son and would say he wanted to give his son all he never had as a child. He felt his mom was too strict.
Bob attended PYP every week. He was enjoying his new role as a father and he looked at it with new eyes. He listened to the other young parents who invited him and his son to birthday parties and plays dates. He developed new routines. He learned how to create positive memories and strong attachments, and why skills like reading to your child were so essential. He also learned that being consistent and setting limits was a way to increase a sense of security for his son.
Towards the end of the 8-month group, Bob still dressed the same way, but the items he pulled out of his backpack were quite different – diapers, bibs, books and photos of his son. The group ended in summer, but the following fall Bob called wanting to come back for a new group. He also wanted to bring another young father that he met at the skateboarding park who he felt “needed a little guidance and nurturing.”
If you or someone you know, is interested in joining our Program for Young Parents, for pregnant and parenting youth ages 12 – 21, fill out the form at our website at: https://parentingnow.org/interested-in-a-parenting-group/