Qualitative Descriptions of Middle-Class, African American Mothers’ Child-Rearing Practices and Values

Stephanie M. Curenton, Jocelyn Elise Crowley, Dawne M. Mouzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


During qualitative phone interviews, middle-class, mostly married African American mothers (N = 25) describe their child-rearing responsibilities, practices, and values. They explain (a) why they decided to stay home or take work leave to attend to child rearing, (b) how they divided child-rearing responsibilities with their husbands/romantic partners, (c) whether they faced unique parenting challenges raising African American children, and (d) whether they identified as feminists. Responses revealed the decision to stay home or take work leave comprised values about gender roles, concerns about the cost and/or quality of child care, and the availability of family-friendly workplace policies. Most couples shared child-rearing responsibilities, although mothers admit to doing more. Their unique parenting challenge was protecting their children from racism, stereotyping, and discrimination. Only one third of the mothers identified as being feminists. These results have implications for furthering our knowledge about African American coparenting from a positive, strength-based perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-895
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • African American families
  • child care
  • middle class
  • parenting
  • work–family balance


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