The parenting role of African American fathers in the context of urban povertyedit
This qualitative study examines low-income African American fathers’ perceptions of their parenting role and the strategies they employ to bring up children in poor urban neighborhoods. Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with 36 fathers who had contact with their children at least twice a month. Men in the study expressed conventional views of their fathering roles as provider, nurturer, and teacher, but placed the most emphasis on “being there” for their children, as their financial circumstances limited other forms of involvement. Many fathers felt their circumstances to be exacerbated by a hostile child-support system. They desired to teach their children alternatives to the negative practices and values they saw in their urban neighborhoods and to have the skills to prosper in mainstream society. Overall, the findings suggest that many low-income urban fathers already desire to be responsible fathers but see themselves as limited by material and structural challenges. Services and policies that promote the economic stability of low-income fathers are recommended.