Children’s experiences of support received from men in rural KwaZulu-Natal

Type Journal Article - Africa Development
Title Children’s experiences of support received from men in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Volume 37
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 127-152
Studies of fathers’ involvement in their children’s are usually based on men’s
self-reports, women’s appraisals or children’s accounts of men’s involvement.
This paper explores men’s support of children aged 9-10 years living in rural
KwaZulu-Natal, as reported by children, women and men. In-depth interviews
were conducted with twenty focal children, twenty female caregivers and sixteen
fathers/father-figures nominated by the children in twenty randomly selected
households. We find that men are important in children’s lives. The nomination
of a father-figure by all children, even if the man was not their biological father,
ascertained that all children receive some support from men. Our data highlight
the influence of biological ties, co-residence, family social network, and marriage
or father-mother relationship on fathers’ involvement with their children –
financial and the quality of their interaction. This study improves methodologies
and addresses the validity, reliability and interrelations of children, men and
women’s reports of men’s involvement in providing support to children in a
South African context. We were able to determine the informal, local systems of
family support and the variety of contributions made by men in supporting
children. In this way, the study provides a basis for research on local father
involvement and for future comparison

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