How Fathers Care for The Next Generation: A Four-Decade Study
by John Snarey
ISBN 067440940X (0-674-40940-X)
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Hardcover, Harvard University Press, 1993
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Book summary: Even in this age of working mothers, the role of fathering is often overlooked. This book illuminates the realities of fathering by presenting the results of an empirical study conducted over four decades and covering four generations of fathers and children. Through case studies and data analysis, Snarey demonstrates that men's care for their families reaps immense and long-lasting benefits - for themselves, for their offspring and for future generations. In striking contrast to research that considers fathers to be obscure or peripheral figures, Snarey reveals their position as central caregivers and characterizes their most effective nurturing behaviours. He examines fathers' involvement in three vital realms of their children's development: social-emotional, intellectual-academic, and physical-athletic. Looking specifically at fathers' relationships with their oldest children during the first two decades of their lives, Snarey addresses issues of fathering in both childhood and adolescence. He presents portraits of individual father-son and father-daughter relationships, and measures and defines the ways in which "good" fathers are constructively engaged in and supportive of children's growth. Snarey also focuses on the fathers themselves. He explores how men's boyhood experiences with their own fathers affect their subsequent parenting styles. Then, Snarey observes how various fathering experiences affect men at mid-life, in their marriages, and throughout their careers. His study also considers how the threat of infertility affects fathers' ability to care for the next generation. Within the current wave of scholarly interest in fathering, this study is grounded in Erik H. Erikson's model of psycho-social generativity, aiming to add a significant dimension to Erikson's theory by applying it to empirical research. Snarey makes a contribution to male, child, family, and developmental psychology, and addresses issues of ongoing concern in the fields of sociology and education.
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