The fatherhood literature has expanded over the past several decades, yet the role that fathers may play in their relationships with their problematic adolescents has not been fully examined. Furthermore, because previous findings have suggested that fathers of court-involved daughters may be experiencing intrapsychic and interpersonal difficulties of their own, the present study examined a range of issues that fathers might be facing in their attempts to parent a daughter engaged in problematic behaviors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 14 fathers who had been referred to a family-based diversion program for at-risk adolescents. Several gender-specific themes emerged from the interviews. Fathers of female adolescents, in particular, expressed feelings of uncertainty in their parental role in four main areas: (a) a deficient understanding of their daughter's "female" issues; (b) communication barriers involving topics and style of communication; (c) limited involvement due to a lack of shared interests; and (d) indecision regarding how to effectively address their daughter's problematic behaviors. Future research is discussed that would further explore the impact that fathers' parenting concerns have on their own view of their parental role, their mental health, and their adolescent's well-being as well as how familial and community-based supports could aid in improving the father-daughter relationship in families with court-involved adolescents. (Author abstract).
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