Like father, like son?

Mlotshwa, Sindisiwe Charlotte
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This investigation explored how fathers and sons perceive what it means to be a father. A review of current literature revealed that there has been extensive work on the theme of fatherhood. Though extensive, the literature has not included both fathers and sons within a single investigation. Thus, this study has included both fathers and their sons in order to explore their perceptions of fatherhood. The findings revealed that both fathers and sons believed that being a father meant that one had to be the moral guide and primary breadwinner of the family. Some sons experienced their fathers as being emotionally absent and demonstrated a desire to have more present father figures. This desire, along with the notion that “the father is the primary role model of the son” is in line with ideas pertaining to “New Fatherhood”. With these definitions of fatherhood in mind, it was noted that all fathers believed that they still had some work to do before they could consider themselves the ‘perfect’ father. Despite this, the main findings of this investigation indicated that many sons continued to aspire to be like their fathers. While aspiring to be more like their fathers, the men in this investigation also felt that they needed to perform certain paternal functions better than their own fathers.
Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Masters in Community Based-Counselling Psychology in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand, 2016
Mlotshwa, Sindisiwe Charlotte (2016) Like father, like son? University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>