I am presenting a paper at the BSA Annual Conference at Aston University next week. This paper is the preliminary findings from my Supporting Young Dads (SYD) research project and will explore how young dads experience group projects, and the challenges and values of working with young men who are fathers in group settings. The abstract for the paper is below, and I will update the blog with a link to the full presentation after the conference.
Title: The use and value of group support for young fathers
Keywords: Young fathers, wellbeing, qualitative
Abstract: This paper will explore the use and value of group based support for young fathers. Young men who are fathers often have a strong desire to be ‘good dads’ but often find accessing appropriate support for their parenting endeavours challenging, with parent and child activities often being marketed for mother and child. Young men may also not have peers who have children, thus may also lack this aspect of support within their lives as young parents. This paper then explores qualitative research about two group based support projects for young dads. These groups are substantively different, with one group offering more intensive individual support from a young dads worker as well as group based activities for dads and their children, the other offers a practical project (build a bike) for young men to work on together. The paper will then present findings from this research, detailing both the perspectives of key stakeholders about the use and value that they perceive young men find in these projects, and exploring the perspectives of young fathers themselves about ‘what works’ in these projects. The secondary impacts on young men’s wellbeing and parenting approaches will also be explored within this paper. This paper then argues that group support for young fathers is a valuable way to bring young men together, foster peer support and that tailoring support to young men who are fathers can have wider social benefits in terms of their, and their children’s, lives.