Family perceptions of fathers' roles in the talent development of gifted girls
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This study examined the family perceptions of the fathers’ roles in the academic, creative, and athletic talent development of five elementary school girls on the basis of family case studies. The following was an overarching question addressed in this study: How are the fathers involved in nurturing the talents of their academically, creatively, and/or athletically talented daughters? The basic assumption of this study lay in the developmental perspective of talent and in the importance of paternal nurturance. Data were collected through interviews, documents, and observations (at the interview place). Overall, this study revealed that the fathers were perceived to have contributed to the development of the academic, creative, and athletic talents of their daughters in the following ways: (a) intellectual stimulation, (b) educational philosophy, (c) common interests, (d) sports activities, (e) special aptitudes, (f) accessibility, (g) exposure to various experiences, (h) parenting style, (i) family structure, (j) gender issues, and (k) future career pursuits. This study shed light on the importance of cohesive family environments as well as the emotional closeness between the fathers and the girls and that of family structure in defining the fathers’ roles in the family. The fathers’ contributions to the girls’ future career pursuits were also apparent, while the mothers’ current occupational status either as working mothers or as stay-at-home mothers did not have an influence on the girls’ considerations of their professions. Also, the results revealed that the fathers valued intellectual endeavors in the nurturing process, but due to job pressure, they were frustrated about their lack of time with their daughters. This study substantiated the idea that children have their own distinctive talents, and they recognize and develop their gifted and creative potential through the help of their fathers in childhood. By selecting, producing, and sharing experiences with their daughters, the fathers as significant initial motivators and supporters might be expected to play more active roles than they did in the girls’ talent development in previous decades.
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