The changing role of the modern day dad

Published Jun 17, 2018


Durban - Fathers of today are no longer the traditional married breadwinner and family disciplinarian of the home. 

They can be single, stay-at-home, gay, step- and even an adoptive parent.

“Over the years, the roles of fathers around the world have changed,” says social worker and head of the Department of Social Work and Social Development at the University of Fort Hare, DrJohn Rautenbach.

“Traditionally, the father is predominantly seen as the tough man and the mother is always the nurturing one. But over the years we noticed fathers trying to ease up and spend more time with their kids,” he said.

“Some even take time off their busy day to fetch their children from school, spend quality time with them and even sit down with them while they do their homework.”

According to Rautenbach, communication between parents, especially single ones, and their kids is very important.

“Gone are the days when kids were raised in a home with both parents

“Sadly, nowadays most kids are in homes where the parents are divorced, separated or they don’t know much about their dad, or their dad is working far away. Although they are absent, they can still be present,” he said.

“We have opportunities now through the virtual world. Dads and kids can video call and instant message and use all kinds of apps so he doesn’t feel he is missing out on watching his child grow.”

Speaking on single dads, Rautenbach says they are always trying to do their best for their children.

“Sometimes their situations make them step up and take on more responsibility, especially when it comes to their kids.

“Lots of men tend to miss their kids and try to be more involved either by attending all their school and sporting events and once they enter into relationships, they will also go out of their way for their partners’ kids.”

Rautenbach said while some relationships with one’s father might be strained, it’s always good to mend them.

“We need to encourage people to push for their relationships and not to give up so easily. If it is broken, mend it. A small message a day from a dad to his kids or from the kid to their dad can make a world of difference."


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