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How active duty U.S. Army fathers’ knowledge and attitudes about child development influence parenting practices

APA Citation:

Drew, A. L., Blankenship, A. E., Kritikos, T. K., Jacoby, V. M., Dondanville, K. A., Nicholson, J. H., Sharrieff, A., Blount, T. H., McGeary, C. A., Young-McCaughan, S., Peterson, A. L., & DeVoe, E. R. (2021). How active duty U.S. Army fathers’ knowledge and attitudes about child development influence parenting practices. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 30, 1763-1775. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-01969-5

Abstract Created by REACH:

This qualitative study examined how fathers’ knowledge and attitudes about child development affected their parenting behaviors throughout the deployment cycle (predeployment, deployment, and reintegration). Data were drawn from interviews with 15 Army fathers. Fathers reported that their attitudes and behaviors were impacted by their child’s developmental stage.

Focus:

Parents
Children

Branch of Service:

Army

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member

Population:

Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)

Methodology:

Cross-Sectional Study
Qualitative Study

Authors:

Drew, Alison L., Blankenship, Abby E., Kritikos, Tessa K., Jacoby, Vanessa M., Dondanville, Katherine A., Nicholson, Juliann H., Sharrieff, Allah-Fard, Blount, Tabatha H., McGeary, Cindy A., Young-McCaughan, Stacey, Peterson, Alan L., DeVoe, Ellen R., For the STRONG STAR Consortium

Abstract:

Little research regarding the influence of parental knowledge and attitudes about child development on parenting practices includes fathers. The wartime military provides a specific context for fathering with frequent separations, which may impact soldiers’ knowledge and attitudes about their young children’s development. The purpose of the current study is to explore how military fathers’ knowledge and attitudes about their young children’s development influence their parenting behaviors across the deployment cycle. Fifteen active duty U.S. Army fathers with young children completed qualitative interviews, which were coded and analyzed to identify major themes. Many fathers had accurate knowledge of typical development and adapted their parenting responsively. Some knew less and were unsure how to respond to their children’s behavior. Many believed separations did not negatively affect young children. This attitude may reduce concern about deployment’s impact and keep these fathers mission-focused, but may also lead to missed opportunities to prepare young children for transitions. Overall, these fathers wanted to be involved, responsive parents. While many faced challenges navigating parenting throughout the deployment cycle, nearly all described positive adaptation, often with support from the homefront parent. These findings suggest that efforts to enhance military fathers’ knowledge should be tied to their children’s developmental stages and needs, focusing on parenting within the military context. Practitioners can respect Army families’ cultural values by aligning family readiness as necessary to mission readiness.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Springer

Publication Type:

Article
REACH Publication
Featured Research

Author Affiliation:

Boston University, ALD
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, AEB
Boston University, TKK
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, VMJ
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, KAD
Boston University, JHN
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, AFS
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, THB
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, CAM
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, SYM
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, ALP
Boston Universty, ERD

Keywords:

active duty, fathers, deployment, parenting, young children

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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