Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Gary Tiffin, PhD


This qualitative study is an inquiry into how men perceive their roles as fathers, how they developed those roles, and the influence those roles have on the success of their children. Interviews were conducted by the author with fourteen men who had previously participated in a prenatal class for new, first-time fathers. The transcribed data from these interviews were triangulated with interview notes, case notes, and a study journal. The data were also reviewed for accuracy through post-transcription telephone interviews with three of the interviewees. Five important themes emerged through analysis of the interview data: a) the men saw themselves in a combined role as educators, guides, nurturers, and protectors of their children, b) they saw themselves as fathers first, c) they learned how to be patient with their children, d) they learned how to be fathers from relationships with other adults, and e) they helped their children succeed by letting them take risks and make mistakes. The research and themes generated two theories concerning the development of the fathering role: a) Fathers can be engaged and active participants in the parenting of their children, and b) Men develop their role as a father from their experiences with their own father.