'Any d*** can make a baby, but it takes a real man to be a dad': Group work for fathers


Lucas SE, Mirza N & Westwood J (2021) 'Any d*** can make a baby, but it takes a real man to be a dad': Group work for fathers. Qualitative Social Work, 20 (3), pp. 718-737.

This article contributes to debates about fathers in social work by examining a group work intervention for fathers in Scotland. We present findings from observations of a ‘dad’s group’ and interviews with seven fathers and staff members. Participating in the dad’s group was found to be an expanded perception and expression of masculinity and fatherhood. The group provided a platform for the men to define and challenge understandings of fatherhood in which they developed a sense of expertise and self-belief as individuals and as fathers. We provide examples of the way that the men manoeuvre against societal barriers, in the context of disadvantage, unemployment and persistent mental health difficulties and prevailing gendered stereotypes and allow the fluid expression of manhood through engaging with non-masculine activities. In consideration of policy and practice implications, we argue that parenting support such as group work for fathers is crucial to improve parenting skills and wellbeing and positive outcomes for children.

Gender; fathers; group work; family; wellbeing; fatherhood

Qualitative Social Work: Volume 20, Issue 3

Publication date31/05/2021
Publication date online31/03/2020
Date accepted by journal12/03/2020
PublisherSAGE Publications