Melanated Fathers of America caught up with Sacramento, CA father Arthur Green to talk about how he handled becoming a full-time father at 19 years old, what it was like not having his dad around & his advice to any potential teenage fathers!!
Tell us a little about how you grew up?
I was born in San Francisco, CA but we moved to Texas when I was 3 years old which is where my entire family is from. I came back to California at 8 years old. I grew up in a single parent home, my dad was in and out in my early years.
Once I was about 11 years old he was out the mix for good, even though we do talk now pretty frequently over the phone. I grew up in a house with women, my mom, and my older sister. I think that’s an important thing, as I get older and look back on living in a house with just women. I have a deep respect for women, possibly more so than other guys in that situation.
You mentioned that your dad left when you were 11 years old. How did that affect you in your teen years?
As a teenager not having that male figure in the house made me more rebellious, just dealing with my mom.I know I tested her more than I would have if my dad was in the picture. Looking back, I’m sure it would have made a difference in my life just having a father figure there.
I wanted to go back to something we spoke about before the interview. You have custody of your oldest son. Tell us how that situation came about?
My oldest son that lives with me is 18 years old now. When he was 11 months old his mom had a nervous breakdown, which was unfortunate. When she fell on hard times we thought it was better that he lived with me. That was right before he turned 1-years old and I was just turning 19 years old.
With that being so much to handle at such a young age. Tell us what was your state of mind at the time?
I was too young to process everything. I didn’t realize at that moment how hard it was going to be, or exactly what I was up against because you know, it’s hard. Raising a child is hard…period, let alone by yourself. A lot of fear as well, I didn’t know what was going to happen.
I’m sure not being able to see his mother at a young age was difficult for him. How has your son’s relationship with his mother been?
You know, not as bad as it could have been. I had sole legal custody of him until he was around 5 years old. I went to court at that point to give her joint legal custody. Later, I realized that wasn’t such a good idea. I didn’t want my son growing up not knowing who his mom was. That would have been a big blow for him.
I didn’t want him to blame me for that. His mom has two other kids so when he moved back he had a chance to bond with his siblings. He remembers it being rough living with her. A lot of things I didn’t know about was going on. He definitely had a rough start to his life.
How is your relationship with him today?
My relationship with my son is outstanding. I’m so proud we have a great relationship like that. He understands I’m his dad but we are friends too. Although being 18 years old he tries me a little, at the end of the day he is a good kid.
To wrap everything up. If you could talk to a young man thinking about having a child or expecting one at such a young age. What advice would you have for him?
If there are any young people out there thinking about having a kid at a young age. I would say think harder about it and don’t do it. I look back on my like, not regretting my kids but understanding how difficult it makes your life. So, for those out there thinking about it, just wait, you’re young and there is a lot of time to start a family.
Because once you create a child there is no going back. Even if you’re in love with your partner you guys should wait. If you’re in a situation where you have a baby already, hang in there with the mother of your child. It’s your responsibility to try and make it work. Being a parent is very rewarding. If you give it your all, you can look back and be proud of yourself.