Family Is Separated, a Father Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3639 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

5 hours each and consisting of six fathers per group (N = 18), were carried out over a period of 5 weeks. The facilitator for the outreach program contacted all fathers who said they wanted to participate in the interviews. Each focus group interview was led by two experienced group facilitators and was tape recorded for future analysis. One of these facilitators was one of the authors of this manuscript, and the second facilitator was a master's level counselor in the community. The authors did several things in the current study to ensure rigor. Prior to conducting the interviews, the two facilitators met on three occasions to review the interviewing protocol and discuss issues each person may be bringing to the session. Issues identified as possible biasing factors in the interviewing process revolved around one of the authors having been a custodial single father and the second facilitator being female. Following all sessions, the two facilitators met and debriefed the interviews, noting any inconsistencies in the application of the interview questions and process, discussing how specific questions did or did not work as well as clarifying observations on issues that arose in the interviews. All attempts were made to reduce bias resulting from the facilitators' personal experiences.

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The questions used in this semi-structured interview process asked participants about their experiences of being in an outreach program for fathers and how the experience was helpful or not helpful to them. They were also asked about their experiences being in custody and their access to their children while in custody; the nature of their relationships with their ex-partners and their children; their experiences with the judicial system; their experiences with visitations with their children; and their experiences as fathers.

Term Paper on Family Is Separated, a Father Assignment

Fathers' needs and concerns, an identified theme, were subdivided into how they perceived themselves as a father, how others perceived their fathering skills and their views of their overall experience as a father. The fathers expressed a sense of pride in being fathers. It was important to them that they fulfilled what it meant to be a good father and, more importantly, that their children perceived them as good fathers. Comments like, "I was always a good father. I never once doubted myself, maybe I could have been a better husband," reflected a view held by several fathers in the group, one that drew a distinction between the roles of being a father and that of being a husband. In the latter case, one wonders how much of their perceived failure as a husband contributed to their difficulties after separation vs. that of being a bad father.

The role of fathering appeared to be taken quite seriously and there seemed to be an acceptance that one's life had to change in order to meet the responsibilities offered by that role, e.g. " I was a party animal until my son was born," and "Being a father means not being able to party as much anymore." Acceptance of their children's perception of them also seemed to contribute to their view of themselves as fathers: "Sometimes my kids say things to me that make me proud to be a father."

Contrary to their own positive views of themselves as fathers were the competing views of others in their lives. A large majority of the fathers in the focus group did not feel respected as fathers by their ex-spouses. Though some of them felt inexperienced as fathers, they also believed that the child's mother did not give them a chance to begin with, or they were told they needed to have a parenting course. They expressed the view that their ex-partners did not trust them with the children: "My ex-does not have confidence in me that I can be a good father." Other fathers suggested that their ex-partners thought that they [the fathers] would be off partying when the children were with them. On the whole, however, the fathers said they were proud to be fathers and that even though it was often a battle to be engaged with their children, the whole experience of fatherhood was quite rewarding

What seemed paramount in the fathers' reported experiences were their relationship with their ex- partners. Most of the fathers said they did not have positive relationships with their children's mother. The fathers who were in conflict were also the ones who related difficulties with visitations and with having to go back and forth to the court. Fathers who reported positive relationships with their ex-partners generally reported more positive experiences with visitations and generally had no court-related issues. The sub-themes emerging from this category revolved around continuing relationships issues, their ex-partners' expressed lack of confidence in their [the fathers'] parenting ability and interference in access to their child (ren). The intent here is to show some of the issues raised that have had an impact on their ongoing relationships.

In addition to the ex-partners' lack of confidence in their parenting abilities and the difficulties fathers encountered with visitations, fathers also expressed frustration with what they believed was a lot of interference from their ex-partners' parents. Statements like, "I think its mostly her parents running everything," "Her mom is a man hater," and "Her parents are totally supporting her and the baby," reflected the fathers' perception that the extended family of their ex-partner interfered a lot and that what they did and said influenced his relationship with his ex-partner, especially when it came to visitation rights.

Fathers often expressed the view that they contributed significantly to the family income when the father and mother were living together, but since separating, they felt the financial support had gone unacknowledged, e.g. "I was the only one that ever worked and supported my family," and "I looked after my ex-wife and she never had to pay a bill." Having contributed to the family financially, fathers expressed resentment over what they felt was ill-treatment by their ex-partner: "The one thing that really bugs me is I have to pay her alimony for her throwing me out." Despite these resentments and feelings that the ex-partner "doesn't always respect what [I] say," there was general agreement that a positive relationship with the ex-partner was a goal towards which they all strived, albeit for the sake of minimizing conflicts and problems with visitations ("You're screwed unless you have a friendship with the mother") and for the well-being of the children: "I'm trying to keep us on a talking, calm, friendly relationship for the sake of my son."

Concerns related to their children related only minimally with discipline (as in who disciplines more effectively) but more significantly related to the emotional well being of their children and wanting to have a presence in the lives of their children. Fathers expressed a need to be involved with their children: "If you want to relate well with your kids you have to be in their life," "Being a week-end dad is not enough for me." Some fathers felt they did not want their children to experience what they themselves experienced as children: "I don't want him to grow up and think that I've ever abandoned him like my dad did to me." Some expressed emotional concerns related to their children being exposed to the influences of other men ("I feel I get all my kids grief when other men are brought into their lives") and that they worried a lot about their children.

Fathers reported considerable difficulties in their attempts to have meaningful visitations with their children. Not surprisingly, the issues surrounding visitations were related to issues surrounding the fathers' views of the judicial system and their experiences with the courts and lawyers. Relationship difficulties with their ex-partners, as discussed above, also placed the visitation issue within a larger, understandable context. Statements related to visitation concerns were thematically arranged under the headings: threats and intimidation from ex-- partners, emotional toll of visitations, and limitations imposed on visitations.

Fathers said they sometimes received threats of violence when they went to take their children for a visit. One father discussed sending someone else to get his children because the relationship with his ex-partner had deteriorated too much. Typically, however, threats had more to do with losing visitation privileges and that unless they [the fathers] acted appropriately (defined by what they felt their ex-partner wanted), they would not see their children. The fathers also discussed how they were unable to talk to their children if they missed a child maintenance payment, how children would not be ready for pre-arranged visits, or that there were last-minute cancellations: "Out of the holidays that went by I should have had him once but she says no every time," "What bothers me is that she has the final say [about visitations]," "If the kid's mom wanted to be real cruel, I would never see the kids."

Not all fathers expressed problems with access, but the majority felt they did not have enough, that there were unreasonable limitations imposed on their visits, and generally felt controlled… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Family Is Separated, a Father.  (2002, February 11).  Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Family Is Separated, a Father."  11 February 2002.  Web.  18 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Family Is Separated, a Father."  February 11, 2002.  Accessed September 18, 2020.