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"You Gotta Have a Good Help Mate:" African American Fathers' Co-Parenting Experiences.

Publication Year: 
2013
Personal Author: 
Doyle, Otima.
Goldston, David B.
Dzirasa, Erikka.
Fontes, Monique.
Estroff, Sue.
Burriss, Antoinette.
Journal Article
Page Count: 
10

Current descriptions of coparenting (i.e., shared decision making between parents and the coordination of parenting activities; Feinberg, 2002; McHale & Kuersten-Hogan, 2004) often are not informed by diverse cultural or family contexts, or by the perspectives of fathers. One group that has been notably absent in the coparenting literature is African American fathers. We conducted semistructured, qualitative interviews with 30 African American fathers (28-60 years of age) of a preadolescent, biological son at-risk for depression, aggression, or both. Informed by grounded theory, we systematically identified emergent themes in the data (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Fathers provided descriptions of both positive and negative coparenting experiences, which were nuanced at times by their residential and marital status. The findings highlight the importance of gender-based parenting differences, fathers' belief in the importance of the father-son relationship, and the significance of discipline and communication as key coparenting domains for this sample of fathers. The framework presented here represents a critical step toward the advancement of coparenting conceptualizations that incorporate diverse cultures, nontraditional family types, and fathers. This framework is a starting point from which theoretical conceptualizations can be further developed. The findings challenge negative perceptions of African American fathers and highlight modifiable factors (e.g., communication) relevant for interventions that support African American fathers, youth, and families. (Author abstract)

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