The vast majority of impoverished parents involved with their children

Vast majority of impoverished fathers involved with their children

Credit: University of Buffalo

Many policies and elected officials, including President Barack Obama, have publicly criticized poor and African Americans for not being involved in the lives of their children. But a new study published in the journal families in society suggests that criticism is largely unfounded and that, even in cases of imprisonment, most low-income parents are connected to their children.

“Regardless of what these parents faced, tried to stay involved with their children,” says Robert Keefe, PhD, associate professor at the University of Buffalo School of Social Work professor and author main article.

In his first inaugural address, President Obama said, “Too many parents are also missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.”

“This is annoying to listen – especially when it comes to the top, as in the case of President Obama,” says Keefe. “Our research suggests that parents up their sleeves and get involved with their children.”

The results of the data collected between 1996 and 2011 indicate that 94 percent of mothers interviewed the parents say their children were somewhat difficult or very involved with their families.

Public criticism stems from a narrow definition of “participation.”

How do you look at the involvement of fathers in this country is all financial, according to Keefe, who says that “all sorts of factors are considered when it comes to what makes a good mother, but with parents , financial support is the important criterion. ”

Keefe also aims to disproportionate incarceration rates for African Americans, compound misperception of low participation. Parents are involved in prison still as possible through visits and phone calls -. Both mean additional financial strain on families already struggling with finances

“Many low-income parents who are not in prison also face challenges remain involved in their children’s lives,” Keefe said. “By working three or four jobs, being called away for military or volunteer service jobs with the hope that work will become a full-time job that pays are all parents ways they try to keep their children, but also pose limitations on the amount of time they can spend with their children. “

“It is not fair to limit the definition of participation of fatherhood to the economy when many of these parents are trying to be good parents,” says Keefe. “Since all parents in the study were low-income, their economic contribution might not be so large and because they are thought automatically as any number of things we have heard, of deadbeat dads just being outside. ”

However, Keefe conversations with mothers and fathers show concrete examples of participation.

Those talks were held between 1996 and 2011 in Syracuse, New York. In the course of five different studies looking at the mother-child relationship Keefe and colleagues also interviewed parents, all of whom had been imprisoned or were currently on probation or parole. Both mothers and fathers spoke independently of each other about how parents were involved with their children.

“It could be something as simple as writing letters to keep in touch so that at the time of downloading parents feel that there is an established relationship,” says Keefe. “So despite imprisonment, parents continue to move their relationship with their children forward.”

There are services designed to make this process even easier, but Keefe says there are deficiencies.

“In some jails and prisons services are reentrant, but there is a stigma associated with incarceration. Policies can change, but attitudes do not always change accordingly,” says Keefe. “So we’re finding that parents who are in prison, after release, they are actively trying to get work, they are actively trying to be economic support, still face barriers.”

The result is that some of the policies are not as useful as we would expect them to be, he says.

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