Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Black and White Fathers of Early Adolescents: A Cross-Cultural Approach to Curriculum Development for Parent Education

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Black and White Fathers of Early Adolescents: A Cross-Cultural Approach to Curriculum Development for Parent Education

Article excerpt

Black and white American fathers (n = 228) and 10-to-14 year-old adolescents (n = 289) were administered the Parent Success Indicator. The performance of fathers was rated for 60 items, included within six subscales, which consider Communication, Use of Time, Teaching, Frustration, Satisfaction, and Information Needs. Both generations in each ethnic group described favorable attributes of fathers and detected realms of learning wherein further growth seemed warranted. Statistically significant main effects for both generations of respondents and ethnicity of respondents were reported in four of the six subscales. Significant main effects for child gender were reported in two subscales. Significant interaction effects of two independent variables were also observed and discussed. Based on the combined perceptions of study participants, topics were identified for a common parenting curriculum that could serve fathers of both ethnic groups. Additional topics, based on ratings within each ethnicity, were recommended to meet the distinctive learning needs of black fathers and white fathers.

The population of well-educated and affluent American black families is increasing (Clayton, Mincy, & Blankenhorn, 2003). Nevertheless, ethnicity continues to be overlooked as a factor in most studies of middle class parents. The usual explanation is that scholars who monitor the progress of subpopulations believe that social class, rather than ethnicity, is the primary determinant of success in contemporary society (Rhodes, Ochoa, & Ortiz, 2005). This perspective ignores a substantial gap that exists in student achievement. No one knows the reason, but black adolescents whose parents are economically successful tend to demonstrate lower academic test scores than white classmates from families of comparable economic status (Thernstrom, 2002). Parent behavior is among the influence variables that researchers agree warrant further consideration (Thernstrom & Thernstrom, 2003).

It appears that not all black fathers encounter the same parenting obstacles experienced by low income fathers from their ethnic group. Then too, more affluent black fathers may experience certain difficulties that distinguish them from affluent parents of other ethnic groups (Weiss, Kreider, & Lopez, 2005). There could also be challenges that are common across ethnic groups that ought to be understood by every father (Sciafani, 2004). To support both father and adolescent development in black and in white families, it would be helpful to determine how they function, discover their strengths and shortcomings, and identify their most troubling concerns. Rather than seeking this kind of information from fathers alone, a more comprehensive picture can emerge by discovering how parents and adolescents perceive their relationship. This strategy was applied in the present study.

The constructive behavior of black fathers is under-represented in literature on family relations (Clayton et al., 2003). Advantaged black fathers are presented with different challenges than disadvantaged black fathers and fathers of affluence in other racial groups (Taylor, 2004). An accurate portrayal requires going beyond the identification of father deficits to also make known the tasks they perform well. In addition, it could be useful to detect obstacles they face in achieving parental success. Black men are commonly described as a homogeneous group. However, variance within this population must be acknowledged before the special challenges that confront black fathers can be understood (Farkas, Johnson, Duffett, Wilson & Vine, 2002). Toward this goal, it is appropriate to explore how black fathers are perceived by spouses, children, and themselves. Awareness of these combined positive impressions can provide a broader understanding than is available by the consideration of negative images that have been attributed to black fathers in general (Pitts, 1999). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.