Understanding Fathering and Fatherhood of African American Adult Fathers Who Were Young Adult Fathers: A Retrospective Study
As a young African American male forms an intimate relationship, has unprotected sex and creates a family, society decides then that he is a man. As a man and a father, he is then obligated to become the financial breadwinner for his family. However, this young man is under 18 years old and he is uneducated or undereducated. He may not have a job or employment opportunities. More than likely, he still lives at home with his parents or is experiencing housing instability. This father may be immature or not emotionally ready for involving fathering but he is determined to “be there” for his children. Being There is defined as an array of attitudes and behaviors directed at securing and maintaining an emotionally rich relationship with a child. The elements composed include the father’s psychological engagement and availability, emotional commitment and support, patience, capacity to listen and willingness to talk and actively build a relationship (Ray and Hans 1996). In order to not become the “invisible parent”, what resources does a young father need? This hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative research begins with the understanding that resilience and collective efficacy are supportive factors for young fathers who have children before or at the age of 18 years old. Resilience is a positive adaptation despite negative environmental influences (Miller and MacIntosh 1999). Collective Efficacy is a normative belief that reflects the social support for African American young adult fathers from their peers, colleagues, and community. As this study illustrates from the preunderstanding to co-construction then to the “fathering stories”, resilience and collective efficacy are supportive factors in keeping young African American fathers in their children’s lives. The findings of this study highlight how African American adult fathers who became fathers under the age of 18 used collective efficacy to stay in their children’s lives and young fathers who became fathers at 18 years old used their resilience to “be there” in their children’s lives. The findings also suggested that the use of both resilience and collective efficacy are needed at different points of a father’s life. These findings also assist the practitioner who is working with young African American fathers in supporting them in their fatherhood roles. Additionally, policymakers are given examples of African American adult fathers who were young fathers and have actively worked to not become the “invisible parent” but an involved father.
Social work|Social structure|African American Studies
Pinder, Makeba L, "Understanding Fathering and Fatherhood of African American Adult Fathers Who Were Young Adult Fathers: A Retrospective Study" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29065011.