"My child...she is top of my heart...she is making it keep beating you know?": Describing the experiences of Mexican American adolescent fathers



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Texas Tech University


Mexican American teenagers have the highest birthrate of any Latino ethnic group in the U.S. Although programs for Anglo and African American teen fathers have demonstrated promising results in assisting young fathers to stay connected with their children and become more involved in parenting practices, research on and development of intervention programs for Mexican American teen fathers are limited.

The primary goal of this study was to explore the experiences of being a Mexican American adolescent father. A second goal was to obtain information about the experiences of being a participant in a teen fathers group especially designed for adolescent fathers. In order to reach these goals, using a descriptive phenomenological qualitative approach, six adolescent fathers were interviewed three times each.

Five life-world features emerged in this study: (a) putting me down, (b) experiencing my baby's mother's family, (c) being supported, (d) watching my fiiends fade away, and (e) looking around. Four phenomena of the lived experience were also identified: (a) not giving up and deciding to be a dad, (b) wanting to be a good father, (c) figuring out my relationships after becoming a father, and (d) telling in group the person I want to be. Results indicated that despite facing intense challenges in their lives, teen fathers who participated in the teen fathers group, remain committed to becoming good fathers for their children. Participants also identified positive experiences of the teen fathers group that assisted them in achieving this.



Self-help groups, Mexican American teenagers -- Case studies, Teenage fathers -- Case studies, Fatherhood