Understanding nonresidential fathers’ involvement in their children’s education : a qualitative approach
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Grounded theory methodology was used to study the involvement of eleven nonresidential fathers in their school-aged children’s education. Semi-structured interviews were utilized to gain information about nonresidential fathers’ involvement in their children’s education. The results of this study present a detailed picture of nonresidential fathers’ process of being involved in their children’s education. Data suggests fathers’ process of being involved is shaped by the contextual factors of cultural norms on fathers, laws on custody, and the specifics of each father’s divorce/custody agreement. Important factors influencing fathers’ involvement include their beliefs about themselves as fathers, beliefs about the co-parenting relationship, the distribution of power in the co-parenting relationship, and fathers’ beliefs about themselves in the co-parenting relationship. Based on the aforementioned factors, nonresidential fathers engage in targeted actions (“battling”, “leveling”, and “parenting”) to improve their involvement with their children. Fathers’ educational involvement behaviors revealed to be multifaceted, as fathers address their children’s school and overall development through direct actions and activities with their children, and through indirect interactions with the school and the co-parent. Results suggest implications for future research, child and family policy, schools, and health-practitioners.