Fathers, Daughters and Sons. The Construction of Gender and Parenthood in Father-Child Relationships


  • Eugenia Mercuri Università Statale di Milano/ Università degli Studi di Torino




The aim of this paper is to give a contribution to the debate on gender socialization of children and parenting, with a focus on fathers and the construction of gender and parenthood in discourses around interaction with and expectations from daughters and sons. Drawing from discursive interviews with first time fathers of children aged 0 to 3 years, an exploratory description of three different discourses will be proposed: desire for male or female children, gendered characteristics of children, and relationship with sons and daughters. Overall, the relevance of the personal gendered life experiences and characteristics of fathers in constructing appropriate parenting skills to act out with daughters and sons emerges clearly in the interviewees’ words, calling for further research on the specificities of father-son and father-daughter interaction.


Keywords: fathering, gender of children, construction of parenting .


Author Biography

Eugenia Mercuri, Università Statale di Milano/ Università degli Studi di Torino

PhD Candidate in Sociology and Methodology of Social Research - XXX Cycle, NASP