Healthy Relationships and Co-Parenting
The benefits of healthy relationships for expectant and parenting young families are multifaceted. Healthy relationship skills can improve communications among teen mothers and fathers and their family members and with each other. Whether they are in a romantic relationship or co-parents who are working together to raise their child, a healthy relationship between teen parents can help promote positive education and employment outcomes for both father and mother. It can also help promote their child’s positive development.1
Intimate Partner Violence/Teen Dating Violence
Expectant and parenting young mothers experience intimate partner violence, or teen dating violence, at higher rates than do older mothers.2 This population of adolescents is also likely to have experienced domestic violence during their childhood and which may have contributed to their teen pregnancy. Research has found that about 20 percent of pregnant teens report having experienced intimate partner violence.3
Role of Young Fathers
The involvement of teen fathers in the lives of their children has been shown to have a positive effect on their child’s social and cognitive development, which in turn has a positive effect on the child’s academic achievements.4 Additionally, teen mothers who feel supported by their partner are more likely to engage in positive health behaviors during their pregnancy and after giving birth.5 Young fathers are crucial to promoting positive outcomes for their family.
Co-Parenting: Resources and Best Practices for Service Providers (PDF, 7 pages)
This resource was developed to help youth-serving professionals who support young parents. It includes a description of the importance of co-parenting and its association with child well-being, and is followed by suggestions for how best to support young fathers and other caregivers in co-parenting programming services.
Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships
This resource from the CDC provides information on a comprehensive teen dating violence prevention initiative.
Intimate Partner Violence among Expectant and Parenting Youth (PDF, 46 pages)
The main objectives of this webinar slide set includes: 1) identifying factors that can place teens, especially expectant and parenting young families, at risk for IPV; 2) learning how to communicate with youth about IPV and the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships; and 3) describing three components to develop an effective response and referral system for youth at risk for experiencing IPV.
Love Notes is a comprehensive healthy relationship education curriculum that teaches adolescents and young adults (14-24) how to build healthy romantic relationships, prevent dating violence, and improve impulse control. The program is designed to build young people's skills for cultivating healthy relationships, selves, and sexual behaviors: planning and pacing relationships and sex, self-efficacy and resilience around relationships, proven communication skills, and understanding how family formation impacts children. Love Notes consists of 13 one-hour lessons on decision-making, communication, and sexual and overall safety. The program can be delivered in multiple settings, such as community-based organizations, faith based agencies, community centers, social service agencies and resource centers in schools.
Serving and Working with Young Fathers
These resources are part of an OAH technical assistance series on working with young fathers. These resources can help professionals who serve young fathers and their families to reach and engage more young fathers; influence research, practice, and policy to better address the needs of this population; and improve the lives of young fathers and their families.
1 Office of Adolescent Health, 2017
2 Bekaert & Smithbattle, 2016
3 Mylant & Mann, 2008
4 Howard, Lefever, Borkowski, & Whitman, 2006
5 Martin, McNamara, Milot, Halle, & Hair, 2007; Kalil, Ziol Guest, & Coley, 2005