Single Mothers Living in a Shelter: Negotiation of Parenting Roles with Their Children's Fathers

Caroline Lee Brachfeld, Fordham University

Abstract

This qualitative study incorporated a phenomenological approach grounded in a constructivist- interpretivist research paradigm and explored the lived experience of single mothers living in a shelter and the ways in which they negotiated their parenting roles with their children’s fathers. Twelve mothers, between the ages of 21 and 46, were interviewed using a semistructured interview protocol. These mothers had lived in a shelter for at least three months and their children’s fathers were either peripherally or fully active in the parenting process. Eight of the mothers were in romantic relationships with their child’s father, and four mothers considered themselves to be single. The mothers lived in shelters that were supportive and possessed a myriad of resources. Interviews were analyzed using Moustakas’ (1994) phenomenological approach. Six major themes emerged from analysis of the data: (a) Parenting in a Shelter Engenders Several Emotional Effects, (b) Living in the Shelter Context Challenges Mothers, (c) Living in the Shelter Context Positively Affects Mothers and Children, (d) Dual Parent Involvement is Highly Valued in Child’s Upbringing, (e) Fathers Make Salient Contributions to Parenting, and (f) Mothers Maintain Optimism and Intense Focus on Parenting. Implications and directions for future research were discussed, focusing on ways to expand clinical practice with single mothers living in homeless shelters while negotiating their parenting roles with their children’s fathers. ^

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Brachfeld, Caroline Lee, "Single Mothers Living in a Shelter: Negotiation of Parenting Roles with Their Children's Fathers" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13426354.
https://0-fordham.bepress.com.library.simmons.edu/dissertations/AAI13426354

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