Managing Identity: Adolescent Fathers Talk about the Transition to Parenthood
Adolescent fatherhood is often associated with negative stereotyping and deficiencies in the adolescent's situation or characteristics, which effect his investment in child rearing. Developmentally, adolescence is a time when parenthood is not conventional practice nor a well-accepted norm. Understanding how adolescent fathers make sense of transitioning to parenthood allows us to re-think our public representations of young fatherhood. This article seeks to examine the ways that adolescent fathers reconstruct their identity in the midst of becoming a parent. Social constructionism offers a critical approach to the consideration of this transition process. A discursive analysis, based on interview transcripts, looks at the talk of adolescent fathers, and suggests they have a significant investment in their changing identity. Through their language, they actively engage in a process of change that illustrates management of new responsibilities, which arguably develops an attitude of mastery in their lives, instead of ineffectiveness as suggested by stereotyping.
New Zealand Journal of Psychology