Fatherhood and families

SOURCE: Men in families and family policy in a changing world
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2011
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Richter, J.Chikovore, T.Makusha, A.Bhana, Z.Mokomane, S.Swartz, M.Makiwane
KEYWORDS: FATHERHOOD, MEN
DEPARTMENT: Social Aspects of Public Health (SAPH), Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6866

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Abstract

In this chapter, we examine fathers and father figures, and their changing roles in different cultural contexts; we draw attention to the notion of social fatherhood, which describes the care and support of men for children who are not necessarily their biological offspring; we review the evidence for the beneficial educational, social and psychological effects on children of father engagement, as well as different forms of father engagement and their implications for children, partners and families. We then look at men and fathers intergenerationally, and the implications of the growing numbers of older persons for families, intergenerational relations and childcare and explore what is known about men's work-family balance and the role of policy in advancing men's engagement with children in the context of employment policies and expectations. Men's mental and physical health is considered and research that points to the benefits to men arising from their engagement in family life and their relationships with their children is reviewed. In the final section, we outline the implications of these topics for social and family policy.