Support with Fathering an Adolescent Daughter: A Heuristic Investigation of Men's Experiences with a Targeted Fathering Intervention

Jeffrey D. Boatner

Document Type Article


This heuristic study explored and described the experiences of fathers who participated in an intervention designed to promote and improve their relationships with their adolescent daughter(s). Despite increasing interest in the distinct contribution that fathers make to the development and well-being of their children, the father-daughter relationship remains the least studied and least understood of all parent-child pairings. Paternal involvement is a powerfully protective influence for girls—particularly as girls enter into adolescence and prepare for adulthood—yet there remain few interventions that are specifically designed to support fathers at this critical time. This study examined the experiences of 11 fathers who participated in an innovative grassroots fathering intervention in order to help identify more effective ways to recruit and support men in programs designed to promote the father/adolescent-daughter relationship. Participants served as co-researchers for this study by providing information about their experiences in the fathering intervention and with fathering an adolescent daughter. Findings provided general support for the conceptual ethic of generative fathering by affirming the positive abilities and good intentions of the participating fathers. The findings also indicated the importance of including both psychoeducation and skills training in these types of targeted interventions. Competencies for therapeutic work with fathers are identified along with recommendations for how these competencies can be more widely and effectively implemented.