As part of a process of identifying attitudes and opinions, Fathers, Inc. held three focus groups of adolescents involved in a dropout prevention program to assist in understanding the attitudes of teenagers with regards to fatherhood. This report discusses findings from the focus groups and offers programmatic suggestions drawn from the findings. Focus group 1 consisted of males, ages 15-20 years, of African heritage and multiracial. Although the majority was being raised in single parent households, some were living with a mother and stepfather, and one was living with an aunt. A little less than half have either a father or a father figure that is a part of their life. This focus group revealed and confirmed that today's young men are dealing with the increased reality of absentee fatherhood. Even in those households where the biological father had been "replaced" by a stepfather, the negative feelings about the biological father still dominated the discussion about fathers and fatherhood. The second focus group comprised 25 females that were of Asian, African, Latino, and European heritage. More than one half of the young women live in a two- parent household, however, negative feelings about biological fathers still dominated the discussion about fathers and fatherhood. The final focus group in this series comprised both males and females and included participants from the past two focus groups, with some additions. Findings from this focus group indicated all the participants felt it was crucial to the successful development of children to have parents cooperating and participating in the raising of their children. The impact of hip-hop culture relationships is discussed and it is concluded that for the most part, young people are still looking to their own families for direction regarding relationships. Additional findings from the focus groups are discussed. 5 references.
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