Posted on June 29, 2016 by Iosis
17-year-old Tawhiri was excited at becoming a dad. He left school and started working a week after his son was born, to provide for his new family.
However he hadn’t counted on the demands a new-born makes on its parents’ sleep patterns and relationships.
A teacher at the local teen parent unit recommended Tawhiri attend Iosis’s Young Fathers programme. Initially Tawhiri found opening up one-on-one with the Young Fathers youth worker was difficult.
“Back then, I really kept to myself. I didn’t want to let everyone know how I felt. I was defensive about a lot of things.”
But after a while he found his weekly chats with Allan, the youth worker, became easier. Allan offered support and advice, not just on relationships and family matters, but also on practical issues, like getting a driver’s licence.
“Allan really helped to open myself up to everybody, and open myself up to all these different possibilities.”
His message for other teen dads is now, “You’re never alone. There are always people who have come through this….Don’t be shy to talk to anybody.”