Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Challenges of Teenage Fathers towards Fatherhood in Vaalbank, Mpumalanga Province

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Challenges of Teenage Fathers towards Fatherhood in Vaalbank, Mpumalanga Province

Article excerpt


In exploring the challenges of teenage fathers towards fatherhood, Enderstein and Boonzaier, (2015) aver that both fatherhood and masculinity should be taken into cognisant. In support, Haywood and Mac an Ghaill (2003:45) avow that "link between fatherhood and masculinity should be considered in a socio-historical context such that 'paternal masculinities and manhood itself are mutually constructed and maintained." Furthermore, Mkhwanazi (2006) avows that there is a tension between genders when dealing with fatherhood. Several authors (Anda et al. 2002; Wei et al. 2002; Bunting & McAuley 2004; Miller-Johnson et al. 2004; Lee et al. 2011), have all discovered that teenage fathers unlike non-fathers suffer psychosocial challenges which also comprises of delinquent behaviour and educational challenges such as dropping out of school to address socio-economic challenges.

Teenage fatherhood has received very little scrutiny - far less than teenage pregnancy or motherhood. In support of this, Madiba and Nsiki (2017:501) avers that "little is known about teen fatherhood which is likely to be underreported because unlike teen mothers; they can deny paternity making them less in numbers." Yet, like teenage motherhood, teenage fatherhood has many negative educational, financial, social, health and other developmental consequences for these young men and their children (Thornberry, Wei, Stouthamer-Loeber & Van Dyke, 2000). Chideya and Williams (2014) aver that teenagers who comes from low socio-economic background end up being teen fathers and as a result they end up being unable to support their children financial.

There are other studies conducted on fatherhood, however, those studies used quantitative research approach (Sheldrake, 2010). Although statistical data can help one to learn about the numbers and scope of young fatherhood, they are less helpful in terms of learning about the experiences and feelings of these teenage fathers.Hence, Glikman (2004) observed that there is still insufficient research attention paid to the psychological experiences and life stories of young men. In addition, practitioners and policymakers have also paid less attention on teenage fatherhood. Sheldrake (2010) reported that, for babies born to teenage mothers, about a quarter of young fathers are aged less than 20 years. Paschal, Lewis-Moss and Hsiao (2011) aver that challenges associated with teen fatherhood are similar to those experienced by teen mothers. However, these statistics do not reveal the full extent of adolescent men who father a child as they only include those who are named on the child's birth certificate. This is because teenage fathers are excluded from the life of their children as they are seen as uncaring to their children and neglecting their parental roles (Smith, 2006).

Background information and Problem Formulation

Chideya and Williams (2013) assert that teen fathers, like their female counterparts, also have to work through their developmental tasks while at the same time trying to adjust to their role of being a father. It is essential that these challenges of teen fathers be understood as this knowledge can be utilised in the design of appropriate support programmes or measures for these fathers. Knoester and Eggebeen (2006) assert that parenthood presents important developmental challenges to adults and can lead to personal reorganisation and growth, openness to learning and new coping strategies. Teen fatherhood occurs when the teenager is developmentally stage of identity and becoming a father is an adult stage (Quinlivan & Condon, 2005). This means that the teen father will now have to go through two stages at the same time - something that will eventually lead to anxiety due to the un-readiness of the teen father to assume parental responsibilities in respect of the child.

In a study conducted by Reczek and Zhang (2016), it was discovered that the quality of family roles affects teenagers' level of psychological distress. …

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