Progress : family systems research and therapy
Six fathers and four spouses were interviewed for this qualitative study to determine whether contemporary fathers are more involved with their children than previous generations. The questions addressed role expectations, role attitudes, role involvement, and role satisfaction. The men reported positive changes in their personalities resulting from their fatherhood status and indicated their intention to be more involved and emotionally available than their own fathers. However, rates of caregiving were inconsistent with their reported levels of engagement. Three of the fathers noted that they were less strict than their wives. Two fathers believed that there were no differences between the roles of the mother and the father. One father suggested that fathers provide direction for the family, while another father perceived a balance between the assertiveness of men and the nurturing approach of women. Fathers whose wives were employed were more involved in the lives of their children than the father whose wife was not employed. Barriers to involvement were related to employment. Research suggests other challenges to father engagement, such as emotional isolation within the family and a reluctance to ask for support. Treatment with a male therapist can help to resolve feelings of isolation. 22 references.
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