Lead SALead SA

Absence of positive and active men in a child's life puts them at risk

Written by: Neo Koza

Heartlines has done research into fatherhood in South Africa and how a father's absence can negatively impact a child.

The study takes a deeper look at some of the attitudes and beliefs that can contribute to the lack of positive involvement by fathers in South Africa.

Azania Moska spoke to Heartlines research manager Latasha Slavin to unpack this.

Slavin speaks of some of the systematic challenges that prevent fathers from being involved.

It's a very complicated issue in South Africa because we have such high levels of unemployment and there is such a strong sense of fatherhood being tied to provision. We know for most men in this country with the high rising rate of unemployment this is just not possible so a lot of men are prevented or shut out from fathering because they can't provide - by themselves because they feel a lot of shame and guilt so they retreat but also from the mothers, families, extended families.

Latasha Slavin, Research Manager - Heartlines

It's such a heartbreaking reality because of where we live and because of the context of unemployment.

Latasha Slavin, Research Manager - Heartlines

We also came to understand quite a lot of barriers and challenges that existed around being able to father and one of those was actually the inter-relationship between husband and wife - when the relationship was good, men had access, when the relationship wasn't good, men had no access.

Latasha Slavin, Research Manager - Heartlines

The research identifies four types of fathers among them being the "present father", "absent-present father" and the "absent father".

Slavin says children who grow up without the active and positive presence of a father or male figure in their lives are at risk.

[They] are much more at risk of poor outcomes - whether they be academic, emotional, success later in life, a lot of them were more at risk of having violence perpetrated on them or being the perpetrators themselves.

Latasha Slavin, Research Manager - Heartlines

It's that active present participation that really has an impact in shaping and forming the way that a child can move forward in life. We are not saying that every child that grows up without a father, these are the bad things that will happen to you, we're just saying it's a risk factor.

Latasha Slavin, Research Manager - Heartlines

Click on the link below to hear the full interview....


This article first appeared on 702 : Absence of positive and active men in a child's life puts them at risk




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