Voices of African-American Teen Fathers: "I'm Doing What I Got to Do"

Voices of African-American Teen Fathers: "I'm Doing What I Got to Do"

Voices of African-American Teen Fathers: "I'm Doing What I Got to Do"

Voices of African-American Teen Fathers: "I'm Doing What I Got to Do"

Synopsis

Voices of African-American Teen Fathers is an insightful look at adolescent pregnancy and parenthood through the eyes of fathers aged 14 to 19. This unique book features candid interviews with thirty teens who talk about doing what I got to do - handling their responsibilities as best they can given their perceptions, limitations, and life experiences. Teens talk about how and why they became fathers, how they handle being a parent, their perceptions of fatherhood, the relationships they have with their parents and the mothers of their children, and how they deal with the everyday struggles, demands, and concerns they face. Nearly one million girls, between the ages of 15 and 19, become pregnant each year in the United States and most of the available research on adolescent parenthood is focused on them.

Excerpt

Despite the proliferation of literature on adolescent pregnancy and parenthood, most research has focused on teen mothers. Information gathered on teen mothers is not necessarily applicable to adolescent fathers because of the different factors that influence their parental behavior and experiences. The purpose of this study is to provide insight into and understanding of the experiences of African-American teen fathers. Because the voices of young African-American male parents are not adequately represented in the discourse of social science literature and social policy, this book provides an account of their experiences and examines the social context in which their experiences occurred. First, the factors that influenced their fatherhood status were examined. Second, how fatherhood was conceptualized and practiced by the adolescent fathers was explored. Third, how the fathers’ relationships with significant others, including parents, the mothers of their children, and their friends, impacted their fathering beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors were studied. Finally, the concerns and challenges the fathers faced were determined. Although the study confirmed some of the literature on this subpopulation, many interesting and surprising results occurred. Using social ecology and gender theory, understanding and insight into the young mens’ fatherhood experiences is provided. The final chapter provides policy implications and practical steps in dealing with these findings.

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