Sonia Carrillo
University of Los Andes, Colombia

Milton Bermúdez
Pontifical Xavierian University, Colombia

Liliana Suárez, María Camila Gutiérrez and Ximena Delgado

University of Los Andes, Colombia



The purpose of this study was to explore fathers’ perceptions about their role in the family, and the characteristics of their involvement in their children’s lives in the Colombian context. The sample consisted of 12 Colombian fathers. The study used a qualitative methodology, one-hour in depth interviews were conducted with the participants. Results indicated important changes in the role of fathers and mothers in Colombian families. Fathers’ perceptions departed to some extent from the traditional pattern attributed to nuclear families, where men are considered as the only economic provider and authority figure in the family. This departure places fathers in a category we would call “in transition”, which includes perceptions of more equitable parental roles within the family and a combination of features from other typologies of fatherhood proposed in the literature. Fathers also reported a desire to participate more at home and to be more involved in their children’s lives; they also emphasized the importance of expressing love and affection to their children. Work-family conflict and the impact of the quality of the father-child relationship emerged as important categories in the fathers’ perceptions of their role and involvement in the family. In Colombia research on fathers is scarce and family policies mainly focus on mothers as the principal caregiver. A better understanding of fathers’ roles and involvement in the family and with children will contribute to the development of programs and policies oriented toward all family members and family relationship systems.

Keywords: Family roles, fathers, fatherhood, parental involvement, qualitative methodology



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