Male Attitudes Towards Children, Fatherhood, and Childrearing: A Descriptive Profile from South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS)

Anderson J. Franklin*, 1, Monde Makiwane2, Tawanda Makusha2
1 Boston College, Campion 309, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA
2 Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

© 2014 Franklin et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Boston College, Lynch School of Education, Campion 309, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA; Tel: (617)522-4572; Fax: (617) 522-1981; E-mail:


South African male attitudes towards children, fatherhood and childrearing remain an important topic for research and policy development given concerns about men’s engagement with children and the family. This study utilizes a subsample of males from the national South African Social Attitudes Survey to profile attitudes of males cross analyzed by survey designated racial groups. Results show that males in general, have a positive attitude towards having children and feel that they are not a burden. A greater number of Black African males than the other racial groups believe children are a financial burden and restrict employment choices. Most males believe that men want to have a loving relationship with children and perform best as fathers if married to the mother. The majority of them believe that it is a crisis in the country that many fathers do not co-reside with their children. Consistent across racial groups, most males are split about discipline with half believing in spanking, and that it teaches children right from wrong. Most males believe that it is better to talk to children than spank them. In examining responses to survey questions, Black African males trended away from the prevalent attitudes more than Colored, Asian Indian, and White males. Family service providers can utilize these attitudes of men in planning intervention programs and policy development.

Keywords: Childrearing attitudes, disciplining, fatherhood, financial burden, racial groups, South African men.