UNITED STATES—Being a parent is no easy task. When you become a parent your entire life changes; you are no longer priority one, your child is the top priority. His or her needs take precedence over what you may want or need in life.

Why is it that so many people are rushing to become parents, but when the reality hits them, they are responsible for the wellbeing of someone who depends on them, they are flustered? This is a situation I’m currently battling with my younger brother who has 3 kids and is a total deadbeat unfortunately.

He doesn’t seem to get, it is HIS RESPONSIBILITY to care for the children he created and not someone else. This seems to be the trend with more youngsters that I have encountered in the recent 5-6 years. People have kids and then pass them off to someone else to maintain the reigns.

It has now become the responsibility of my father, my stepmom and myself to care for my nephew, my parent’s grandson. My nephew’s mother is a lost cause, and my brother is a lost cause, but I refuse to allow their screw-ups to impact my nephew’s potential at having a good life.

Do I want to step into the role of being responsible for someone else’s child? No, to be honest I really don’t, but sometimes in life curveballs are thrown your way and you have to adapt to those surprises the best that you can. I mean you can see it on my nephew’s face; he’s always looking and yearning for the affection of his parents, who are so concerned with getting high, drinking and doing all things irrelevant he suffers as a result.

I mean I can’t tell you how many times in the past, I’ve felt obligated to go above and beyond for Christmas out of the fear that he’d wake up in the morning and have nothing under the Christmas tree because his parents are not making the proper moves to ensure he wakes up smiling. He needs guidance when it comes to understanding the importance of looking presentable in public, speaking clearly and concisely to adults and the importance of a strong education.

If you mold a child with the appropriate characteristics at an early age, the child will utilize those characteristics as he or she gets older. That is something so many young parents fail to grasp; if you inflict bad habits onto a child at an early age, the child will continue to utilize those bad habits as they age. We all know that once a bad habit is formalized, it is nearly impossible to reverse that bad habit. Once the mind has programmed that habit as normalcy, any attempt to fracture that habit is met with aversion. I say this time and time again, and I will continue to say this: if you are NOT ready to become a parent, it is wise to practice safe sex.

More importantly abstain from sex completely, because even with protection a pregnancy can still happen. And there might be questions of safe sex in pregnancy, that some aim to achieve while others place it on the backburner. It takes a mature person to understand that when you become a parent, your life as you know it ends. Even once your child reaches an age where they are considered an adult, you’ll still worry about your child’s wellbeing until the day that you are no longer on this Earth.