A sociological analysis of the adolescent unwed father : policy implications for social agencies



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Over the last few years, policy-makers, the media, and observers of the American family have increasingly turned their attentions to the phenomenon of adolescent unwed parenting. Accordingly, teen-age parenthood has been designated a major American social problem of the 1980s. However, even with this increase in attention, half the story behind adolescent unwed parenting remains a mystery—namely, the adolescent unwed father. The limited research on the young single father has been plagued by two severe methodological flaws: collecting data on these fathers only through contact with their female partners; and a lack of concern for traditional sociological variables such as ethnicity. This exploratory study examines the adolescent unwed father through structured interviews and participant-observation. By taking into consideration a multitude of variables, including but not limited to ethnicity, socio-economic status, and social agency participation, two prospective parenting styles are identified and characterized. These parenting styles are labeled aggressive parenting and non-aggressive parenting. In addition, policy implications for social agencies concerned with adolescents are addressed, including the use of the non-aggressive and aggressive parenting typologies to assist in the identification of possible high-risk abusive young parents.



Unmarried fathers--United States, Teenage fathers--United States