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Lost and Found Young Fathers in the Age of Unwed Parenthood

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2020-02-03
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Over the past six decades, there have been dramatic changes in the dynamics of family life in the United States. Today, about half of all babies born to mothers under the age of 25 will not live with their fathers for much of their childhood. From the perspective of many social scientists and politicians, this change has wreaked havoc on society by trapping women and children in poverty and loosening the civilizing bond between men and their families. But what is causing the phenomenon? Some place blame at the feet of the young men themselves, together with eroding cultural and family values. Others point to systemic failures in our economy or social support programs. Rather than assign blame, the first goal of Lost and Found is to tell the stories of young men as they struggle (with varying degrees of success) to become fathers. The second goal is to outline a strategy for helping young fathers remain constructively involved with their partners and children.

Drawing from their research with over 1,000 young parents in Chicago and Salt Lake City, Paul Florsheim and David Moore focus on a group of about 20 young fathers, whose stories-conveyed in their own words-help the reader make sense of what is happening to fatherhood in America. Having interviewed young fathers and their partners before and after their children were born, these accounts provide a dynamic perspective on the development of young men and their relationships. Young mothers-the partners of these young men-both corroborate and sometimes offer alternative or contradictory perspectives. Oriented to undo stereotypes, the authors introduce the notion of "good-enough" fathering, tempering the tendency to think simply in terms of good or bad fathers. They go on to provide concrete recommendations for strengthening fathers' roles and helping young fathers and mothers create stable home environments for their children, whether the parents are together or not.

Author Biography

Paul Florsheim, PhD, is a Professor in the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he continues to work with young fathers and their families. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Florsheim's primary research interests include the interpersonal developmental processes across the transition to parenthood and the prevention and treatment of mental illness in adolescents. His research on young families has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Population Affairs, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

David Moore, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Puget Sound. Dr. Moore has authored multiple publications in the areas of teen parenting, adolescent and adult development, and romantic relationships. In addition to teaching and conducting research, Dr. Moore maintains a private clinical practice specializing in psychotherapy with individuals as well as both married and unmarried couples.

Table of Contents


Part 1. Fatherhood Begins
Ch. 1. A Tale of Two Fathers
Ch. 2. The Problem with Young Fatherhood
Ch. 3. Dads and Cads: The Sociobiological Roots of Fatherhood
Ch. 4. Fathers at the Crossroads

Part 2. Fathers in the Age of Unwed Parenthood
Ch. 5. Is This Love?
Ch. 6. Birth Control Anyone?
Ch. 7. Are Fathers Necessary?
Ch. 8. Are Fathers Disappearing?

Part 3. Fathers Lost
Ch. 9. What Goes Wrong?
Ch. 10. Love and Injury
Ch. 11. Drowning Sorrows
Ch. 12. Bad Seeds or Bad Soil?
Ch. 13. Broken Hearts
Ch. 14. The Epidemiology of Heartbreak

Part 4. The Good Enough Father
Ch. 15. What is a "Good" Father?
Ch. 16. The Next Top Model (of Fatherhood)
Ch. 17. The Impact of Fathers on Children
Ch. 18. Good-Enough Fathers

Part 5. Fathers Found: The Development of Good-Enough Fathers
Ch. 19. The Father-Child Bond
Ch. 20. You Got to Really Want It (or at Least Convince Yourself that You Do)
Ch. 21. On Becoming a Dad: Hormonal Changes and Good Enough Fathers
Ch. 22. Fathers are Found in Relationships

Part 6. Finding Fatherhood
Ch. 23. Fatherhood Programs: A Short History of Trial and Failure
Ch. 24. Co-Parenting Support: Prenatal Care and the Window of Opportunity
Ch. 25. A Compass and a Map: Helping Young Fathers and Their Families

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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