Do ''teen dads'' have a right to see the child?

Book Guides Teen-age Dads Towards Responsible, Joyful Fatherhood
By Lee Stratton. Source: The _Columbus Dispatch_, July 28, 1993

*The daughter wanted a formal wedding. So her dad painted the
shotgun white....*

It's an old joke. Old enough to go over the heads of many young
people today.

Shotgun weddings -- in which the pregnant bride's father marched the
groom to the altar at gunpoint -- are pretty much a thing of the past.

Many parents of pregnant teen-age girls want to do just the opposite:
they want to keep the father out of the picture. Their attitude is:
"He got her pregnant. He doesn't have a job. He's irresponsible. I
don't want him hanging around my daughter or the baby."

Jeanne Warren Lindsay, an author and longtime teacher of teen parents
in the Los Angeles area, has a different view.

68 percent of teen-age mothers are not married. But that doesn't mean
that 68 percent of the fathers of their babies choose to be

Given the chance, many young men can be good fathers, even if they
don't marry or can't provide immediate financial support.

Lindsay has written 14 books for and about teens who are pregnant or
are parents. Some of her books are used in Ohio public school classes
for pregnant teens and teenage mothers. In 1972 she helped establish
an Orange County school program to help young mothers finish their
education. She taught in the program for about 15 years.

Lindsay says that if the father, at 15 or 16, is involved with the
baby, he's much more likely to stay around after he has completed
school and can financially support the baby.

That's why Lindsay has written _Teen Dads_ ($15.95, Morning Glory
Press), a how-to-be-a-good-parent guide for young men. It spells out
the rights, responsibilities and joys of fatherhood.

"A lot of young fathers don't know they have rights," she said.
"unless the court says otherwise, he has a right to see the child,
whether or not he's providing financial support." [See my rant]

_Teen Dads_ gives straightforward advice on everything from how to be
supportive of the expectant mother to dealing with the tantrums of

In preparing her book, Lindsay interviewed 41 teen-age fathers
nationwide, from inner-city neighborhoods and from rural areas. Some
were high achievers who held jobs while they finished school. Others
were in jail.

The latter group included nine youths at the Buckeye Youth Center on
W. Broad St. in Columbus. Many had taken a parenting course for teens.

The lessons in Lindsay's book are backed up with quotations from those
teen fathers.

In the introduction, Darrance, 17, the father of a year-old boy, tells
readers: "Having a baby changed my life a lot. I had to stop doing
about everything, going to parties, hanging out. I had to focus on
Jaysay, meeting his needs. I have to be mature and stand up for
whatever he needs, be a man because I've got responsibilities now."

Lindsay strongly advocates that father and mother finish school.

"Being a good father doesn't necessarily mean living with the mother
and the baby," she said. "Marriage is often not the solution. But
pushing father out of the picture doesn't help anyone.

"With family support and community support, she and he are likely to
be good parents."

To order _Teen Dads_ or a catalog of teen parenting books, write
Morning Glory Press, 6595 San Haroldo Way, Buena Park, Calif.

[My Rant:]

"... he has a right to see the child, whether or not he's providing
financial support." What utter and complete bull-crap! How does a
few minutes out behind the barn with a girl or woman magically give
a kid the right to "see" the child they may have concieved?!

She bore the child, and the 18+ years of raising the child is for her
to be burdened / blessed with. What the bloody hell does the doner of
a few cells got to do with the "right to see" the child? It *might* be
argued that he would have limited rights if he supported the child
financially, but surely not when he does not, as this article claims.

If he won't marry her, FINE; all parental privilages EXCEPT financial
support he thereby should surrender. Marriage or not, he still has the
DUTY to support the child, and arguably the girl or woman as well. If
she doesn't want him, he should not have the "right" to force himself
upon the girl or woman and the child.