Current research on fatherhood often focuses on minimal changes men have made in their participation in family life. Anna Dienhart argues that men have indeed made significant changes to their family roles, but those changes are often masked in existing discourses on fatherhood. In Reshaping Fatherhood, Dienhart's qualitative study of 18 shared parenting couples explores both men's and women's resourcefulness and shows how these couples have deliberately co-created alternatives to traditional parenting roles. Using these narrative accounts, Dienhart offers several options for creating a family structure that allows both mothers and fathers to participate actively in parenting.
Dienhart emphasizes that “tag-team parenting,” a common technique that couples use to juggle the responsibilities of a hectic family life, relies on both the interchangeability of parental tasks as well as the specialization by preference. Dienhart compares shared parenting to a dance that demands continuous revision of the perceptions and activities of fatherhood and motherhood. She challenges family researchers to move beyond deficit and comparative model perspectives about the complexities of gendered family life as she offers alternative ideas about division-of-labor patterns, men's relational capabilities in child care, the preeminence of men's provider role, and traditional notions about gender and politics in families.
This timely book is ideal for professionals and students in family studies, sociology of the family, family psychology, and gender studies.
Chapter 8: Sharing Parenting and the Reciprocal Revisioning of Fatherhood and Motherhood
Sharing Parenting and the Reciprocal Revisioning of Fatherhood and Motherhood
Exploring the mood and flow of the dance opens an appreciation of a dynamic, interactive process between dancers. In this chapter, I focus on ideas of multiple, reciprocal effects and revisioning possibilities for both men and women in families. These ideas came to me as I reflected on the possible wholeness to be found across all the narrative accounts, rather than what could be found in individual and couple accounts. Reviewing all the transcripts as complete texts, rather than the segmented pieces that result from thematic coding, I detected talk about engaging in a process of modifying and adapting one's ways of interacting. People talked of ...