Multidimensionality and Complexities of Fathering: A Critical Examination of Afro-Jamaican Fathers’ Perspectives
- 37 Downloads
Family socialization is integral to the development of well-adjusted children, and parenting by two parents provides important resources. For many families, children are socialized in contexts where their biological fathers are physically absent. Unfortunately, these children are regarded as fatherless in the literature and social commentary. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 24 Afro-Jamaican fathers in a context with a high prevalence of single female-headed families, the current study explored fathers’ perspectives on fathering presence/absence and their involvement. Thematic analysis from a social constructivist perspective revealed that children’s experiences of being fathered are complex, involving biological and social fathering. Also, fatherlessness was regarded as the opposite of fathering whereby there was a lack of behavioral, affective, cognitive, and spiritual involvement. From fathers’ own childhood experiences and being fathers themselves, they viewed the label as an inaccurate term. Rather, children may more likely experience levels of inadequate fathering or a lack of biological fathering. Moreover, complex factors including relationship dynamics and culture affect father involvement. The present findings highlight the need for policymakers and social activists to advocate for support programs for fathers and incentives to promote fathers’ involvement rather than reinforcing inaccurate labels. Also, professionals working with families should promote social fathering.
KeywordsEcological factors Family relations Fatherlessness Fathers Father absence Qualitative research Socialization Sociocultural factors
Compliance with Ethical Standards
We would like to first state that we have read and are following the 6th edition Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, including duplicate and piecemeal publication of data, and plagiarism and self-plagiarism. We declare our intention regarding our dataset. Specifically, our study focused on two main areas: fathering and fatherlessness (non-involvement of fathers), including biological and social fathering. Given these broad areas and the many concepts explored, it is necessary to present the findings in at least two parts. In this article, we are focusing on the complexities and multidimensionality of fathering from fathers’ perspectives, including reasons for fathers’ non-involvement with their children. We are proposing to do a second article on the roles of social and biological fathering in family socialization, focusing on the various ways in which social and biological fathers are involved as well as the influence of fathers’ life course and contextual factors on fathering.
- Aborampah, O. (2011). Extended families in Africa and the African diaspora: Commonalities, challenges, and prospects. In O. Aborampah & N. Sudarkasa (Eds.), Extended families in Africa and the African diaspora (pp. 355–375). Trent: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
- Aborampah, O., & Sudarkasa, N. (2011). Introduction: Extended family in Africa and the African Diaspora. In O. Aborampah & N. Sudarkasa (Eds.), Extended families in Africa and the African diaspora (pp. 1–18). Trent: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
- Achatz, M., MacAllum, C. A., & Corporation for Public/Private Ventures. (1994). Young unwed fathers: Report from the field. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures.Google Scholar
- Allen, W. D., & Connor, M. (1997). An African American perspective on generative fathering. In A. J. Hawkins & D. C. Dollahite (Eds.), Generative fathering: Beyond deficit perspectives (pp. 52–70). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Amato, P. R., & Gilbreth, J. G. (1999). Non-resident fathers and children’s well-being: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family, 61(3), 557–573. Retrieved from http://www.jtor.org/stable/353560.
- Boyd-Franklin, N. (2003). Black families in therapy (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1995). Developmental ecology through space and time: A future perspective. In P. Moen, G. Elder, H. Glen, & K. Lüscher (Eds.), Examining lives in context: Perspectives on the ecology of human development (pp. 619–647). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (Vol. 1, 6th ed., pp. 793–828). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Brown, J., & Chevannes, B. (2001). Redefining fatherhood: A report from the Caribbean. Early Childhood Matters: The Bulletin of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, 97, 25–37. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/Rs7EgM.
- Brown, J., Newland, A., Anderson, P., & Chevannes, B. (1995). Caribbean fatherhood: Underresearched, misunderstood. Kingston, Jamaica: Caribbean child development Centre, University of the West Indies.Google Scholar
- Bzostek, S. (2008). Social fathers and child well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(4), 950–961. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40056310.
- Cabrera, N. J., Ryan, R. M., Mitchell, S. J., Shannon, J. D., & Tamis-LeMonda, C. S. (2008). Low-income, non-resident father involvement with their toddlers: Variation by fathers' race and ethnicity. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 643–647. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3184.108.40.2063.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Clarke, E. (1957/1999). My mother who fathered me. Kingston: The Press University of the West Indies.Google Scholar
- Cooke, M., & Henry, K. (2007, November 25). No ‘jacket’ desired. Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved from http://old.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20071125/ent/ent1.html.
- Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Day, R. D., Lewis, C., O’Brien, M., & Lamb, M. E. (2005). Fatherhood and father involvement: Emerging constructs and theoretical orientations. In V. L. Bengston, A. C. Acock, K. R. Allen, P. Dillworth-Anderson, & D. M. Klein (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theory and research (pp. 341–366). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Demerson, B. A. (2011). Women, patrilateral kinship, and the family compound among the rural Gullah. In O. Aborampah & N. Sudarkasa (Eds.), Extended families in Africa and the African diaspora (pp. 251–272). Trenton: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
- Dreby, J. (2010). Divided by borders. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Dunaway, W. A. (2003). The African-American family in slavery and emancipation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- East, L., Hutchinson, M., Power, T., & Jackson, D. (2018). “Being a father”: Constructions of fatherhood by men with absent fathers. Journal of Family Studies, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2018.1459308.
- Edin, K., & Nelson, T. J. (2013). Doing the best I can: Fatherhood in the inner city. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Edin, K., Nelson, T. J., & Paranal, R. (2001). Fatherhood and incarceration as potential turning points in the criminal careers of unskilled men. Evanston: Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University.Google Scholar
- Flood, M. (2003). Fatherhood and fatherlessness. Canberra: The Australia Institute. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/AysCqE.
- Frazier, E. F. (1939). The Negro family in the United States (Rev. & Abr. ed.). New York: Dryden Press.Google Scholar
- Hays, D. G., & Singh, A. A. (Eds.). (2012). Qualitative inquiry in clinical and educational settings. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Higman, B. W. (1976). Slave population and economy in Jamaica, 1807–1834. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Hill, B. R. (1999a). The strengths of African American families: Twenty-five years later. Lanham: University Press of America.Google Scholar
- Hill, S. A. (1999b). African American children: Socialization and development in families. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Jamaica Gleaner (2007, October 7). ‘Jacket’ doesn’t fit – Paternity test requests up, fathers suspicious. Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved from http://old.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20071007/lead/lead1.html.
- Jamaica Observer (2014, August 31). Women confess: Under what circumstances would you give a man a ‘jacket’? Jamaica Observer. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/under-what-circumstances-would-you-give-a-man-a%2D%2Djacket-_17415842.
- Jemmott, J. (2015). The ties that bind: The black family in post-slavery Jamaica, 1834–1882. Kingston: The University of the West Indies Press.Google Scholar
- Joffe, H. (2012). Thematic analysis. In D. Harper & A. R. Thompson (Eds.), Qualitative research methods in mental health and psychology: A guide for students and practitioners (pp. 207–223). Chichester: West Sussex: Wiley.Google Scholar
- King, V., Harris, K. M., & Heard, H. E. (2004). Racial and ethnic diversity in nonresident father involvement. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 66(1), 1–21. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3599862.
- Krampe, E. M. (2003). The inner father. Fathering, 1(2), 131–148. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/222672684?accountid=11233.
- Kuczynski, L., & De Mol, J. (2015). Social relational theory: dialectical models of transactions in parent-child relationships and socialization. In W. F. Overton & P. C. M. Molenaar (Eds.), Theory and method, handbook of child psychology and developmental science (Vol. 1, 7th ed., pp. 323–368). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Lamb, M. E., Pleck, J. H., Charnov, E. L., & Levine, J. A. (1987). A biological perspective on paternal behavior and involvement. In J. B. Lancaster, J. Altman, A. Rossi, & L. Sherrod (Eds.), Parenting across the lifespan: Biological perspective (pp. 111–142). Hawthorne: Aldine.Google Scholar
- LaRossa, R. (1997). The modernization of fatherhood: A social and political history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Lesch, E., & Brooks, S. (2018). Man talk: Exploring sexual communication between fathers and sons in a minority South African community. Sex Roles. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-018-0988-3.
- Levitt, M. J., & Cici-Gokaltun, A. (2011). Close relationships across the lifespan. In K. L. Fingerman, C. A. Berg, J. Smith, & T. C. Antonucci (Eds.), Handbook of life-span development (pp. 457–486). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills. Sage.Google Scholar
- McCready, L., James, C., Chevannes, V., Foster, N., Tewelde, Y, Kellen, A., … Eugene, C. (2013). Gathering our voices. The lived experiences of Black fathers in the city of Toronto. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/jHCVqx.
- Nichols, M. P. (2006). Family therapy, concepts and methods. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Office for National Statistics. (2016). Statistical bulletin: Families and households - 2017. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/FeMYWT.
- Palkovitz, R. (1997). Reconstructing “involvement”: Expanding conceptualizations of men’s caring in contemporary families. In A. J. Hawkins & D. C. Dollahite (Eds.), Generative fathering: Beyond deficit perspectives (pp. 200–216). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Parke, R. D. (2013). Future families: Diverse forms, rich possibilities. In Chichester. West Sussex: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Parke, R. D., & Cookston, J. T. (2019). Fathers and families. In M. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting (3rd ed., pp. 52–124). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Patterson, O. (1967). The sociology of slavery: An analysis of the origins, development and structure of negro slave society in Jamaica. London: MacGibbon & Kee Ltd.Google Scholar
- Planning Institute of Jamaica. (2014). A review of current and emerging vulnerability in Jamaica: In the context of risks to income, poverty and food security. Kingston: Author. Retrieved from https://www.pioj.gov.jm/Portals/0/Social_Sector/FINAL_pioj_current_and_emerging_vulnerability_in_ja-pgs-Nov-4-2014.pdf.
- Popenoe, D. (1996). Life without father: Compelling new evidence that fatherhood and marriage are indispensable for the good of children and society. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
- Roopnarine, J. L., & Hossain, Z. (2013). African American and African Caribbean Fathers. In N. J. Cabrera & C. S. Tamis-LeMonda (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 223–243). Hove: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- Statistics Canada. (2017). Portrait of children’s family life in Canada in 2016. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/M1ZXBM.
- Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., & Cabrera, N. (1999). Perspectives on father involvement: Social and policy report. Society for Research in Child Development, 8(2), 1–32 Retrieved from http://srcd.org/sites/default/files/documents/spr13-2.pdf.Google Scholar
- United Nations. (2017). Household size and composition around the world. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/8PkUiZ.
- United States Census Bureau. (2017). The majority of children live with two parents, Census Bureau Reports. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/5r7J5L.
- Weinraub, M., Horvath, D. L., & Gringlas, M. B. (2002). Single parenthood. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Children and parenting (Vol. 1, 2nd ed., pp. 109–139). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Willig, C. (2013). Introducing qualitative research in psychology (3rd ed.). New York: Open University Press.Google Scholar