Problematic fathering : an analysis of fathers' conflicted relationships and their transitions post-divorce/separation

  • Sharon Graham

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Discussion of fathers’ roles, responsibilities and legal status has been well documented, but in recent years society has witnessed an increasing concern about changing family forms, diverse parenting practices and whether families need fathers. The socio-legal arenas have served as important focal points for discussions concerning post-divorce/separation fatherhood, with law in particular, playing a central role in mediating disputes, helping to facilitate contact between children and the non-resident parent, and providing an authoritative discourse on the application of paternal rights and responsibilities. This thesis explores how fathers construct, and following divorce/separation, reconstruct their fathering roles where they have, at most, minimal contact with their children. All fathers in this study are members of a branch of Families Need Fathers (FNF) in South Wales, and all experienced conflicted relationships which resulted in them having to interact with legal and state welfare agencies. Drawing upon empirical data from three years of observation at FNF, and twenty five semi-structured interviews with non-resident fathers, it analyses the experiences of fathers and the impact the divorce process had on their physical and emotional well-being, but, more importantly, on their father-child relationship. The findings revealed that, with their help and support of FNF, fathers were able to redefine their fathering roles after encountering a number of transitions. Therefore, the research may, in a small way, contribute to a better understanding, both theoretically and empirically to the study of post-divorce/separation fatherhood, and to fathers’ interpersonal as well as financial commitment to their children, whilst parenting from a distance.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAndrew Thompson (Supervisor) & Stephen Williams (Supervisor)


    • Contact
    • Support
    • Child
    • Children
    • non-resident
    • Parenting

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