Their Father: Research & Reflections on Single Fatherhood (by Justin Smith)

Please read Justin’s blog (Their Father) and support and comment on his first post titled “Fathers in Need of Support.”  Congratulations, Justin, on starting this important blog once you noticed a gap in the literature on single fatherhood!


Research Conducted Considering the Following Question: Do Fathers Make Successful Single-Parents?

Leininger, Lindsey Jeanne, and Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest. “Reexamining the Effects of Family Structure on Children’s Access to Care: The Single-Father Family.” Health Services Research 0.0 (2007): 070723134635002 Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

Summary: This Scholarly Journal article covers previous research conducted which evaluated information regarding child access to healthcare and the variance with differing family structures. This article specifically included single-father families which had been left out of previous research.

Commentary: This article is filled with research that is useful when understanding a single-father family in comparison to single-mother and two-parent families. It’s important to note the low number of single-fathers used in this research in comparison to single-mother and two-parent families. While the research shows examples where single-fathers families don’t compare as strongly as others it is noted that these lower numbers do have connections to popular beliefs. Single-fathers are often less likely to seek public assistance and also less likely to see medical attention as frequently for what might be considered non-issue medical conditions. The parentage in difference is minuet when compared to the lack of single-fathers used for these studies.

Haire, Amanda R., and Christi R. McGeorge. “Negative Perceptions of Never-Married Custodial Single Mothers and Fathers: Applications of a Gender Analysis for Family Therapists.” Journal of Feminist Family Therapy 24.1 (2012): 24-51. Print.

Summary: This article in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy focused on the perceptions of different family structures. The main focus was a comparison between never married single-mothers and never married single-fathers. This article sheds light on perception as well as statistics in regards to the differences between single-mothers and single-fathers.

Commentary: Overall this information gained from this article does a great job of showing the different perception of families based off parenting structure. The focus on never married single-mothers and single-fathers was informative. The information not only focused on external perceptions, but also internal perception. This information helps shed need light on the difficulties faced by single-parents based solely on perception. These parents are often judged by the public without proper information. The information helps direct my writing while helping me understand the perceptions and how to focus on those perception when engaging readers

Livingston, Gretchen, and Kim Parker. “A Tale of Two Fathers.” Pew Social Demographic Trends RSS. Pew Research Center, 15 June 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Summary: This research conducted by Pew Research Center focus on fathers living with their children and fathers who are absent from their children. This research sheds light on statics regarding both father types and also those fathers’ self-perceptions. Livingston and Parker bring an abundance of pertinent information to the reader regarding fathers in general and use supportive information regarding mothers which help support the topics covered.

Commentary: The research completed by Pew Research Center is compelling at minimum. When considering the overall question of where or not father make good single-parents this information becomes very useful. The research shows an interesting comparison of father living with, and away, from their children. The direct consequence of the father is clearly shown throughout the report overall supporting the need for the father. When considering if a single-father can be successful it becomes easier to answer considering the research. Fathers have great effect on their children, that’s not to say that mothers don’t. If having a father in the home with his children is considered positive then it’s fair to say that this positivity would be the same when it’s a single-father situation. That’s not to say that no negatives exist from an absent mother, they do. This research only helps provide solid information supporting fathers, and with that single-fathers.

Dell’Antonia, KJ. “The Census Bureau Counts Fathers as ‘Child Care’.” Motherlode. The New York Times, 8 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Nov. 2012.

Summary: This article covers a Census Bureau report that considers stay at home fathers a “child care arrangement” and classifies mothers as “designated parent.” This article attempts to break the lines of the stereotypical roles designated for men and women. While shedding light on the Census Bureau’s concepts of parenting Dell’Antonia intervenes with attempts to change opinions to match changing times.

Commentary: This article is an interesting read. For fathers the concepts of the Census Bureau might be insulting. Stereotypes of old still seem to be the norm when considering childcare and data similar to childcare. When questioning if a single-father can be successful it’s hard not to consider that in the eyes of the Census Bureau they may have failed before they began. In a time when equal consideration is need for both mothers and fathers alike it’s disturbing to see such one-sided mindsets. This article is a great confirmation tool as it matched thoughts echoed in many articles and reports. Father, and with that single-fathers, are not being given an even playing ground. Fathers attempting to do right by their children are in some ways being shunned and unsupported.



  1. Troy

    One thing I liked in your piece of writing is that you were very emotional throughout the piece. Your introduction is strong, having a good thesis and setting the theme and style for the rest of it. Your conclusion also is strong, going back over your thoughts and opinions again, and reminding the reader that they may have had too strong a judgment on how well fathers can do single-parenting.
    But one thing your piece lacks is a solid, focused objective point. In half of it, your goal is to convince the reader to judge and think of single-fathers better, and in the other half, you are proving that fathers can be just as good of a parent as a mother. I think that if you really wanted to hit your reader over the head, you will want to choice either one of those, and then tailor the rest of your essay to match it.

  2. Hannah Niebel

    I think you came up with an excellent and relevant research question. You did a lot of great research and did a good job summarizing all the articles. In the last summary you said, “When questioning if a single-father can be successful it’s hard not to consider that in the eyes of the Census Bureau they may have failed before they began.” This is so unfair! I think it should all depend on which parent is the most stable and able to take care of their kids. You make a convincing case that single fathers are not as well looked upon as single mothers, but that they should be. I think it is wonderful that you started a blog and I am sure it will be a huge encouragement to all the single fathers out there and hopefully will get people to respect single fathers.

    Your blog posting is very impacting and well written. I feel you have a great grasp on your subject, since you are a single father yourself. You very smoothly weave in some researched facts. You make a great case that communities should be just as supportive of single fathers as they are of single mothers. The only areas for improvement that I saw were just a few minor edits, but overall it was very well done. I think since you are a single dad yourself your blog posting is much more hard hitting and has a great balance between emotion and facts! Excellent job!

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