Incarceration and the Family: A Review of Research and Promising Approaches for Serving Fathers and Families. 6.1.3 New Father Figures


Related to this issue is the fact that other adult men may begin to serve as “father figures” in a child’s life during a father’s incarceration. In many cases, this person is the mother’s boyfriend but may be an uncle, grandfather, or other male relative (Nurse, 2004). Qualitative interviews with incarcerated fathers revealed that they are often jealous of other men in their children’s lives. This emotional challenge can cause tension with the children’s mother and sometimes leads fathers to relinquish their attempts to be involved in their children’s lives in order to avoid conflict (Palm, 2001; Nurse, 2004). Nurse (2004) found that fathers reported more frequent contact with their children (at least several times per week on average) after release when the children’s mother was single than when the mother was in a new intimate relationship (a few times a month on average) (Nurse, 2004).

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