African American single mothers and their influence on the academic success of their middle school age sons

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lori Michelle Bolds (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Carl Lashley

Abstract: Researchers suggest that there is a correlation between student achievement and parental involvement (Abel, 2012; Fan & Chen, 2001; Harris & Goodall, 2008). Research pertaining to African American parental involvement and the achievement of African American students, particularly males, has been depicted through a deficit lens (Cross, 2003; Peters, 2007; Spencer, Fegley, & Harpalani, 2003). There is a dearth of literature on African American males who are performing well academically at the middle school level. This matter is compounded when single parents are introduced. Mothers, regardless of their marital status, play a significant role in the lives of their sons. The purpose of this qualitative study is to identify the strategies, approaches, and expectations employed by single African American mothers to support the academic success of their middle school age sons. Open-ended interview questions served as the primary means of data collection for this study. The ten mothers who participated in this study provided a counternarrative to the current perception that African American single mothers do not support the academic pursuits of their children. The major findings of this study included the mothers’ belief in the importance of education as a core value that was instilled at an early age. High expectations, an authoritative, no-nonsense parenting style, resiliency, and the need to create a strong support system were also themes that emerged. The implications of this study indicate a need for school leaders and educators to revisit policies that are hindering the success of African American males. The voices of the mothers of successful African American males is currently missing from the literature (Griffin & Allen, 2006). This study afforded ten single mothers the opportunity to share their personal experiences regarding the challenges of raising academically successful sons. Amplifying their voices is critical to shifting the narrative on African American single mothers and the ability of their sons to achieve.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
African American middle school age boys, African American Single Mothers, Black male academic success, Single mothers raising academically successful sons, Successful Black boys
African American single mothers
African American middle school boys
Middle school education $x Parent participation
Academic achievement
Mothers and sons

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