Involved Fathering and Men's Adult Development: Provisional Balances

Involved Fathering and Men's Adult Development: Provisional Balances

Involved Fathering and Men's Adult Development: Provisional Balances

Involved Fathering and Men's Adult Development: Provisional Balances

Synopsis

Involved Fathering and Men's Adult Development is an interdisciplinary book that synthesizes theoretical, empirical, and anecdotal writings from different fields and provides an analysis of extensive interviews with 40 fathers. Along with the exploration of the distinct contribution that fathers make to their children's development, the author pursues the parallel theme of the effect this involvement has on the fathers' own development in adulthood.

This book will provide its readers with a realistic and useful beginning point to bring a synthesis of developmental theories, family studies perspectives, and men's insights about fathering that will enhance our academic understanding of fathering and adult development. This book can also spark reflective and practical application for fathers and families, whether readers are academicians, practitioners, policymakers, or fathers in the trenches.

Excerpt

All the parents I know say that their lives are different because they have children. If you carefully listen to them, you realize that they are not just talking about their schedules, energy levels, or the need to navigate a sea of toys and clutter as they walk through the house. Parents who have invested in caring for their children feel have become different people as a result of involvement with their children. Involvement in the ongoing care of their growing and changing children fosters development in parents. Involvement in parenting provides a powerful and pervasive context for adults' development as they continually adapt to the new needs, challenges, and abilities of their children.

Researchers have extensively studied the effects of parenting styles and parent involvement on child development, and the professional literature speaks as though some relatively firm conclusions can be drawn. It is known that authoritative parenting styles, warmth, and moderate parental control are beneficial to children's development. Researchers have elaborated on the types of environments and interactions that enhance children's lives. in short, they know that particular patterns of parenting enhance child development while other patterns present challenges or defecits that children must overcome if they are going to reach their developmental potential.

There is no comparable knowledge of the effects of parenting on adult development. Professional literature on this topic is limited to a handful of theoretical statements, and a more extensive sprinkling of anecdotal accounts. There are surprisingly few data-based research studies, most of which were designed to focus on something else (i.e., a specific variable) and consider parenting as a tangential issue. Although every parent will tell you that having children has caused them to develop differently than they would have had they never had children, contemporary texts on life-span or adult development and family studies are nearly silent with regard to the relations between active engagement in parenting roles and adult development outcomes.

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