Team Parenting

When you decide to have sex without protection or birth control of any sort, you most likely will end up pregnant and/or with a venereal disease/STD.  Obviously the woman bares the most difficult decision of all, since it is her body and she must decide what to do.  This article is geared toward the woman who makes a choice to stay pregnant and give birth.  What do the father and mother do then?

A child is not at fault for the decisions of their parents.  Therefore, if a woman chooses to give birth, it is both she and the father’s responsibility to take care of the baby.  Forever.  Whether or not you like the father of your baby or even if it was a one night stand is not relevant here.  Whether you wanted the woman to abort or adopt is not relevant either. The child is the number one priority now.  There is a term called TEAM PARENTING which includes both parents working together on behalf of the child they created.  Here is a little sample of how it works.

1. Get together with the mother prior to birth of the child to discuss delivery and providing emotional and financial support before, during and after the birth.  You can’t blame anyone but each other in this process because it takes two to have sex.  It is too late for blame now especially when a child is on the way.  You have to get the ego out of the picture and focus on your priority.  Don’t get married, don’t try to have a relationship, other than child centered.  A child does not need his parents making decisions about their relationship, they need two parents who will be there for them no matter what.  This does not require you to live under the same roof.

2. Once you are able to have a mature discussion about the matter, create a budget and split this in half.  Make arrangements for a direct deposit so that you can assure the mother that the money will be there.  Begin to focus on your careers, learn about 401k’s, start investing.  If you don’t have a job that provides you with insurance, start looking for one.  Medical bills are not cheap.  You can have your child on your insurance if the mother can’t.

3. a.Have a paternity test as soon as the child is born.  This proves fatherhood for legal reasons should you ever need to prove your status in the future.  Birth certificates are not proof, nor is standing in the delivery room.  You or the mother may end up finding a partner to spend your life with and then things might change.  You want to secure your investment in your child’s life.

b. Keep records/receipts of all money given to the mother/father and all the dates that you spent with the child.  This is for the non-custodial parent to protect themselves if the matter should change in the future.

4. After birth, make a schedule for visitation, how to deal with emergencies, but also discuss the raising of the child.  You want to be involved in all aspects of your child’s life.  This means attending open house, PTA meetings, volunteering for after-school events.  It also means taking the child to the doctor, dentist appointments.  Decide who will do what, when and how.

5. Talk with each other about your own medical and psychological backgrounds.  These are things to take into consideration for a healthy development of the child.  If mother was on drugs during pregnancy there will be consequences.  The child will have special needs throughout their growth process.  If the father (or mother) is an addict then this increases the child’s chances that they will become an addict as well.  If there was mental illness on either side of the family, this will increase the child’s chances.  Both addictions and mental illness symptoms will begin to present themselves around pre-pubescent years.  Addictions might take a little longer but could even be sooner.

These are simple ingredients for two people to work together, as if you are employees for the same company.  It is also insurance that your child will grow up healthy and hopefully will make better decisions in the future. For both parents, you are taking responsibility for what you created.

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