Being Better Than My Dad: A Qualitative Case Study of One African American Father’s Journey with Parenthood and Intergenerational Change.

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Leath, Seanna.
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Journal Article
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Fatherhood is a turning point in the life of many men, but for men who lacked a father figure while growing up, the birth of a child may be the catalyst for a fresh start. Researchers have called for qualitative investigations into African American fathers’ parenting beliefs and practices that consider their social contexts within the broader research discourse on parenthood. Such investigations can inform the way we frame African American fathers in research, thereby improving theoretical suggestions for better supporting Black men in their roles as caretakers. The present case study details the experiences of a young African American man, Tron, who was participating in a larger church-based intervention program focused on strengthening father–child relationships among African American families. Findings highlight how Tron’s story serves as a positive counternarrative against the prevailing negative stereotype of African American men as absentee parents. Thematic coding analysis revealed several major themes, and the current article focuses on Tron’s decisions to transform his experience growing up without a father into a dedicated resolve to remain actively present in his son’s life, a process that the author refers to as “intergenerational change.” Finally, this case study helps to mitigate the dearth of positive research on African American fathers by challenging deficit-based research narratives. (Author abstract)

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