Single African American fathers parenting fulltime

Date

2011-05

Authors

Middleton, Edith

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Abstract

Federal governmental and private agencies have encouraged research on all aspects of fathering due to changes in the social, economic, and political climate in reference to fathers (Tamis-LeMonda & Cabrera, 1999) and a need to fill the void in research on African American fathering has developed. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of African American single fathers parenting full-time and the ecological factors affecting their ability to parent, using qualitative research methodology. Two research questions were used to gain an understanding of the perceptions of single parenthood within this family formation: (1) What are the perceptions of single African American fathers parenting full-time? (2) What are the ecological factors affecting the perceptions of single African American full-time fathers' ability to parent?

Open ended questions were used to gather information on their experiences and the interviews were transcribed, analyzed, and coded using a modified version of Moustakas' 1994 systematic method for data collection and analysis. Findings were presented based on the theoretical systems and results revealed three major themes, nurturing, internal factors, and external factors. The seven sub-themes included (a) providing guidance, (b) personal commitment, interpersonal relationships, (c) familial influence, (d) instrumental and emotional support, (e) spirituality, (f) living environment, (g) employment, and (h) social policy. The father's parenting perception included positive parenting experiences and providing nurturing through guidance, being a role model, provider, and emotional supporter for their children. These fathers were willing to give their children guidance while modifying personal behavior, responsibility, and social life to accommodate the child's needs. Internal ecological factors affecting parenting in the innermost system, family, included personal interactions with family, extended family/friends, and the provision of instrumental and emotional support. In addition, the internal ecological factor affecting parenting in the community, middle system, included spirituality. The first external ecological factor was found in the community system, neighborhood safety. Finally, external ecological factors affecting parenting in the final system, broader society, included employment and social policy.

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Keywords

Education, Social sciences, African-American men, Parenting, Single fathers

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