Main Article Content
Fathers play a unique and important role in children’s lives. However, gendered attitudes and practices with families have precluded their full engagement in children’s education and development. Based on the collective effort of a local fatherhood coalition, the purpose of this community-based study was to explore how fathers view themselves as involved in children’s lives and their perceived barriers to involvement in order to initiate change in local schools and community. Twenty-three fathers from ethnically and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds participated in interviews and focus groups to describe their definitions of father involvement, strengths as fathers, and needs. A collaborative, qualitative analysis of data led to the identification of four themes that framed the experiences of fathers and their needs. Mothers played a powerful role in promoting and prohibiting fathers’ involvement; technology provided opportunities to connect but also interfered with attachment efforts; fathers in more privileged positions were able to focus on attachment rather than merely providing; and school engagement was rarely mentioned with a focus on extra-curricular involvement. We discuss the influence of paternal characteristics and situational factors in how these themes inform the lives of fathers and the complex nature of fatherhood. Implications for schools and communities are offered in hopes to disrupt current practices and design more inclusive and equitable approaches to including fathers in family engagement efforts.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work one year after publication simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).