Parenting experiences of teenage fathers in child rearing in Mukono District
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This study explored the parenting experiences of teenage fathers in child rearing in Mukono District. The study was guided by three objectives which included; to examine the perceptions and attitudes of teenage fathers in Mukono district to their becoming fathers; to establish the special needs and challenges of teenage fathers in rearing their children in Mukono district and to find out how teenage fathers cope up with the challenges of in rearing their children in Mukono district. The study applied a descriptive research design using qualitative approach and data was collected through an in-depth Interviews gathered by the snow ball sampling method. Qualitative data followed the thematic analysis method. First, the study found out that most of the respondents had a positive perception towards teenage parenting and these were mainly buttressed by the socio-cultural attitudes of patriarchy. This was mainly enabled by the belief that men are superior and heads of the family; hence, the respect that comes with parenting enables for the positive attitudes. Secondly, it found out that teenage fathers are generally faced with challenges and special needs. These challenges mainly depend on the fact that adolescence is characterized by role development and confusion where teens are not even having access to employment and means of production such as land. This disposes teenage fathers to psychological challenges, economic as well as social challenges. Finally, it can be concluded that some teenagers who become fathers tend to mourn their adolescent phase after realizing that they are going to father a child at a young age. Transformation from adolescence to fatherhood bares a burden on the shoulders of teen fathers thus leading to confusion. However, teen fathers do cope with the transition particularly through their individual metamorphosis to adulthood with its roles, family support, role occupancy and symbolic adulthood. It was however found out that there is a general tolerance of teenage fatherhood as opposed to teenage motherhood within the community due to the socio-cultural attitudes but also the government and CSO’s have not invested in programs that address teenage fatherhood.