‘That Is Why We Raise Children’: African American Fathers' Race-Related Concerns for Their Adolescents and Parenting Strategies

Journal Name
Journal of Adolescence
Journal Volume
82
Page Count
14
Year Published
2020
Author (Individual)
Cooper, S., Burnett, M., Johnson, M., Brooks, J., Shaheed, J. & McBride, M.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
PDF
Resource Language
English

The current study highlights the voices and perspectives of African American fathers, with specific emphasis on their race-related concerns for their adolescents as well as how these concerns guide their parenting strategies. Twenty-four African American fathers participated in 1.5–3-hour long focus group interviews. All fathers resided in a mid-sized city in the Southeastern United States. All participants were either biological fathers or non-biological fathers. Fathers were residential and non-residential, with at least one adolescent child. Fifty-eight percent of fathers had both male and female children, 29% had only female children and 13% had only male children. After codebook development and refinement, key themes were explored using a theoretical thematic analysis. In response to race-related and other social risks for African American adolescents, fathers articulated a number of parenting motivations and intentions: 1) fathers' own racial experiences; 2) negative media images of Black youth and families (e.g. media influences, negative stereotypes, and portrayals of Black fathers); 3) preserving families through community support; 4) developing awareness of discrimination and coping strategies; 5) cultivating positive personal and cultural identities; and 6) achievement as necessity. Also, gender emerged as a critical lens for African American fathers’ concerns and parenting strategies. Overall, our investigation highlights African American fathers’ own meaning-making around concerns for their adolescents as well as how they shape parenting processes.

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