What does it mean to be a father figure?

You are your children’s source of encouragement.
You are your children’s source of encouragement.

Did you know that South Africa has one of the highest rates of fatherlessness in the world? 

The 2018 General Household Survey by Stats SA revealed that 43.1% of children under the age of 18 lived only with their mothers.

Research conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the South African Race Relations Institute (SARRI) over a period of the last five years shows that 60% of South African children have absent fathers.

What does this mean for children? Read more here: Local study reveals children raised without involved fathers at greater risk 

Themba Ndlovu, brand manager at Clere For Men, says the qualities that make a great father figure include strength, stamina, love, perseverance, and admiration.

"Give children a man to admire, respect and honour, and challenge other men to do the same," he told Parent24.

"As a brand we’re encouraging men, whether they be fathers in the biological sense or not, to step up and own that legendary father figure role." 

To be that man, Ndlovu describes the key qualities a father figure should strive for:


A father figure will protect children by creating boundaries, consider their best interests, talk to them about things they should be aware of and puts important lessons into place.

He’ll teach them about consequences of making wrong choices and instil a sense of character development in them. 


Once seen as a sign of weakness, affection is one of the most important qualities a father figure can possess.

While a father figure may not hug and kiss the child like a mother does, his affection is no less than a mother’s. He lets children know they can count on him.

Trust and security

Children believe their father is always right. He will never lie to them, he will never betray them, he will never leave them in the lurch.

That is the trust a good father or father figure builds in a child. Children will know their father will always be there for them if they’re in trouble. 


You are your children’s source of encouragement. Be it a soccer match, exam or first date, your presence (emotional or physical) will provide a confidence boost.

You are happiest when they succeed and will make them strive for better if they fail. Your words are the point of difference and have the power to make them. 


A father figure takes the time to listen, to really listen to a child’s needs.

He gives his undivided attention and will try to understand things from their perspective. 


The greatest father figures know how to treat girls and women, with respect, and know how to lead children to do the same.

Treat a woman properly, physically, emotionally, and verbally, and children will follow in your footsteps to do the same. 

Submitted to Parent24 by Clere for Men 

What qualities do you think make a great father figure? Let us know! 


Share your stories and questions with us via email at chatback @ parent24.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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