Parenthood and Gender in Diverse Family Structures
Megan Carroll, Sharon Powell, Jenifer McGuire, Ellie McCann, Autumn Bermea, Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, Marilyn Preston, Marquitta Dorsey, Graham McCaulley, Marilyn Coleman
Facilitator: Maureen Perry-Jenkins
- Feminism & Family Studies
About the Session
- 335-01 - Managing Without Moms: Gay Fathers, Incidental Activism, and the Politics of Parental Gender
By Megan Carroll
- 335-02 - Intersectionality and Identity Salience in Support-Seeking Strategies of Sexual Gender Minority (SGM) Parents Following DivorceBy Sharon Powell, Jenifer McGuire, Ellie McCann
- 335-03 - Queer Stepfamilies and Diverse Pathways in Former Partner Interactions By Autumn Bermea, Brad van Eeden-Moorefield
- 335-04 - Reclaiming Motherhood: Noncustodial Mothers’ Narrative StrategiesBy Marilyn Preston
- 335-05 - Does Satisfactory Nonresident Father Involvement During Childhood Act as a Primary Antecedent of Maternal Gatekeeping by Black Mothers?By Marquitta Dorsey
- 335-06 - Gay Fathers' Coparenting Experiences With Ex-WivesBy Graham McCaulley, Marilyn Coleman
Managing Without Moms: Gay Fathers, Incidental Activism, and the Politics of Parental Gender
The idea that “every child needs both a mother and a father” continues to marginalize diverse family forms, despite empirical evidence to the contrary. Yet the contexts in which normative expectations of parental gender manifest, and the strategies diverse families use to navigate such situations, have received limited attention. This study uses participant observation and interviews to examine how structures of gender and family impact gay fathers’ everyday lives. Results show that community support and norms of outness help gay fathers navigate heteronormative ideologies. The concept of incidental activism is introduced to theorize gay fathers’ relationship to resistance and respectability.
To identify contexts in which mother-absent gay families confront heteronormativity.To identify how gay parenting groups mediate gay fathers’ responses to heteronormativity.To connect gay fathers’ response strategies to larger discourses of LGBTQ activism.
Intersectionality and Identity Salience in Support-Seeking Strategies of Sexual Gender Minority (SGM) Parents Following Divorce
Coparenting resources have not yet incorporated the developing knowledge base about sexual and gender minority families facing divorce, separation, or other parenting transitions. The goal of this qualitative research study was to understand the experience of SGM families experiences going through separation or divorce in order to ensure that resource materials promote inclusion of SGM families and provide links to any additional resources that may be beneficial for SGM families and communities. Eleven separated or divorced SGM parents were interviewed. Thematic content analysis explored legal and family interactions, and social support. An identity based model of resource seeking was developed. Based on themes that emerged, authors recommend a three pronged programmatic approach to improved inclusion for SGM families in coparent education.
1. To understand the experiences of Sexual Gender Minority families experiencing divorce, separation, and coparenting.2. To modify existing resources to include topics and issues pertinent to SGM families.3. To develop resources specifically addressing issues for SGM families and for members of SGM family support systems.
Queer Stepfamilies and Diverse Pathways in Former Partner Interactions
Despite the dearth of queer stepfamily research, what does exist indicates there are strengths in the relationships within these families, including positive stepparent-stepchild and stepsibling relationships as well as high couple satisfaction within the step-couple. Although stepfamilies are vulnerable to conflict with former partners, same-sex stepfamilies are also specifically vulnerable to negative interactions based on unique factors rooted in homophobia. Therefore, it is important to investigate how queer stepfamilies interact with former partners. The present study is a grounded theoretical analysis examining interaction patterns between members of six same-sex stepfamilies (N = 22) with their former partners. Findings indicate four broad paths, general apathy, neutrality, positive relationships, and negative relationships. Each of the paths have implications for practitioners working specifically with queer stepfamilies.
1) To be able to differentiate between different forms of interactions between stepfamilies and former partners.2) To be able to recognize manifestations of homophobia in same-sex stepfamily co-parenting experiences3) To be able to evaluate if current clinical (e.g., social work, counseling) practices are affirmative and effective for queer stepfamilies.
Reclaiming Motherhood: Noncustodial Mothers’ Narrative Strategies
This paper explores how nonresidential/noncustodial mothers conceptualize the role of “mother” and practice mothering within the constraints of cultural expectations around mothering and the realities of nonresidential parenting. Mothers who do not have primary custody of their children often face stigma in both claiming and enacting their mothering identities. One difficulty they face is the reconciliation of their ability to practice mothering and their identity as a mother. This qualitative study uses narrative analysis to examine how noncustidial mothers conceptualize their mothering identity in relation to their definition of a “good mother”.
To utilize narrative analysis to examine how nonresidential/noncustodial mothers conceptualize the idea of a “good mother” and how they engage in practices that enact those conceptualizations.To expand the field’s understanding of nonresidential parenthood to incorporate the role of mothers and women who face significant stigma in enacting their parental role.To begin to theorize practical implications of incorporating women’s experience in policy and intervention work for nonresidential/noncustodial parents.
Does Satisfactory Nonresident Father Involvement During Childhood Act as a Primary Antecedent of Maternal Gatekeeping by Black Mothers?
Factors that hinder father involvement often include maternal gatekeeping, usually from the father’s perspective. Maternal gatekeeping has been widely discussed in the context of father involvement, yet the rationale for why mothers make such decisions is often overlooked, without considering the mother’s childhood experiences with her father. Retrospective data collected from single mothers using regression analysis suggest a mother’s early father contact predicts partner/father contact with her child. When mothers hinder or support paternal involvement, it is important to consider the mother’s early paternal experiences as a factor. Such consideration may offer important implications for father involvement programs.
Understand the connections between father involvement and maternal gatekeepingUnderstand the maternal childhood experiences and how they contribute to the gatekeeping behaviorUnderstand program needs and framework for effective family engagement, including both maternal and paternal involvement
Gay Fathers' Coparenting Experiences With Ex-Wives
Despite the increasing focus on fathers and post-divorce coparenting, little is known about the experiences of gay fathers and virtually nothing is known about their experiences coparenting with ex-wives. This grounded theory study examines post-divorce coparenting for fathers who had children in the context of a heterosexual marriage and later identified as gay. Fathers generally described their coparenting experiences as either mostly cooperative or mostly uncooperative. The most salient distinction between the two types of coparenting was father’s perceptions of their ex-wives’ acceptance of their sexuality. When ex-wives accepted them as gay men and good fathers, coparenting was described as cooperative. When ex-wives expressed religiously-based homonegativity, fathers described uncooperative coparenting and reported more adversarial divorce proceedings, more intense anger, and less post-divorce resolution by ex-wives.
To learn more about a marginalized population (divorced gay fathers) in their own words.To widen what is known about post-divorce coparenting processes that may affect a variety of familiy types.To examine what hurts and what helps regarding gay men's coming out processes.