Being a Parent
For lots of people, particularly teenagers, becoming a parent was not a real choice; it was just something that “happened”.
But a lot of young parents say that although they really love their child, if they’d known how difficult it can be to bring a child up, they would have waited until they were older. The cost of it all, both emotionally and financially, is something they hadn’t really expected.
One young parent who had her first child at 17 said “don’t think about getting pregnant and think it is an easy way to get out of life, just think about what you want, get a job and have your life before you have kids…for boys I would say – treat women like you expect someone to treat your sister.”
The Financial Cost of Having a Baby
Just a Quick Calculation
Nappies one week
Baby Food one week
One year’s worth of:
Nursery furniture e.g. cot, home safety e.g. stair gate/baby monitor/fire guard
(All costs are approximate, based on information at www.babycentre.co.uk) A survey by Mothercare found that the average cost of having a baby is up to £3000 for the first three months.
Add that to other costs such as childminder, rent, council tax, bills, etc. That doesn’t leave much money for your food or clothes, never mind going out or holidays.
There are very good reasons to wait until you’re older: you’re more independent, more able to cope financially, less likely to need massive amounts of support from your own family.
If you are young parent, there is a lot of help available. You are entitled to a personal or careers adviser, who will help you with choices about your future. Contact your nearest Connexions service (See Page 117, 125, 129.) Also, an interview at the local Benefits Agency will explain which entitlements apply to you. It’s important to get advice about individual circumstances. Most people don’t want a future on benefits – but once someone’s in that position it can be very difficult to get out. If you return to education once your baby’s born you can get advice on choosing quality child care, dealing with child care contracts and help with child care fees. Going back to education could help you provide you and your child with a good future, without relying on benefits.
0800 234 6346
Information on childcare, help with benefits, pre-school playground etc.
Lone parent helpline
0808 802 0925
The Lone Parent Helpline is the UK's free, independent helpline for lone parents and anyone affected by the issues surrounding one parent families
0808 802 0924
Single parent hotline and information online such as Young Mums guide and benefits information for teenage parents.