05-03-2021 | Original Paper
Getting into the “Dad Zone”: How Do Primary Caregiving Fathers of Young Children Experience Social Support?
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies | Uitgave 4/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
Primary caregiving fathers (PCGFs) are a growing population that experience unique struggles on a day-to-day basis. The current study aimed to explore how fathers interpret and experience their daily responsibilities and interactions with social support, as they undertake their roles as primary caregivers. Using grounded theory, 14 PCGFs defined as those providing sole care for their 1–10 year olds for at least 25 h per week, participated in semi-structured interviews regarding their experiences of fatherhood and social supports. Participants highlighted the ways in which social support, particularly adult companionship, helped them find a social balance and allowed them to re-energise and be better fathers. In particular, the men reported that interaction with people with similar experiences was important in helping them to discursively negotiate their non-traditional roles. Analysis revealed a three-stage identity transition process where the men initially took on primary responsibility, then began to embody the primary care giver role, and finally transitioned to a new normal. The PCGFs in the study provide evidence that we may be observing a shift from what may be classed as outdated notions of one-dimensional fathering to a more well-informed masculine ideal that embraces caring and nurturing qualities. However, providing further avenues of support for PCFGs is important in order to mitigate possible social isolation and to enhance their wellbeing.