Original Research

Mentoring fathers who grapple with fatherhood issues in a faith-based context: A pastoral-theological review

Fazel E. Freeks
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 2 | a2698 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i2.2698 | © 2021 Fazel E. Freeks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 November 2020 | Published: 30 April 2021

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Fazel E. Freeks, Unit for Reformational Theology and Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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Fathers find themselves increasingly in a social crisis, the fatherhood dilemma, and are misrepresented in various studies and theories intended to shed light on the relationship between mothers and children. Fathers were once considered the pillar of the family, but, over time, society has begun to grapple with father absence as a family issue. This issue has caused a decline in the role and status of fathers. The decline in active fatherhood is a major driving force and one of many issues in society alongside social ills such as crime, violence and poverty. Research has showed that absent fathers affect the development of masculinity in boys and femininity in girls. Families and faith-based communities are directly challenged by father absence. The absence of fathers is a destructive phenomenon and tendency that society has to deal with globally. The role of the father has been devalued and degraded because of father absence. The purpose of this article was to minimise the effects of absent fathers through mentoring which can be a valuable platform for fathers, and it has a biblical nature to solve family issues. Furthermore, mentoring results in a relationship of trust and meaningful commitment, and it provides a helpful and supportive approach to helping fathers who grapple with fatherhood issues. The literature review as a methodology in this article, provided significant knowledge and rich insights to help and support fathers who grapple with fatherhood issues. In addition, the mentoring principles discussed in this study are useful and part of the solution for fathers with fatherhood issues. Mentoring and its process in the paradigm of pastoral theology can be a workable and a possible solution in the confines of households to restore relationships within broken families. This conceptualised from a biblical viewpoint as a solution for Christian fathers. In conclusion, mentoring is a decisive necessity for fathers who grapple with family issues. Relationships are an attribute of families, and mentoring is about relationships. Fathers can be mentored to become great assets to family and society.

Contribution: The fatherhood issue is a serious problem in the South African context and no fatherly presence is a negative and devastating trend in many South African homes. Consequently, mentoring as an approach can be a significant contribution to fathers who grapple with fatherhood issues.


mentoring; fatherhood; fathers; family issues; fatherhood issues; faith-based; pastoral-theological.


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