“Anybody can make kids; it takes a real man to look after your kids”: Aboriginal men’s discourse on parenting

Kootsy Canuto, Kurt Towers, Joshua Riessen, Jimmy Perry, Shane Bond, Dudley Ah Chee, Alex Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Background The realms of parenting have long belonged to females. In many cultures it has been a female who has predominantly cared for and raised children. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male parents this has resulted in them being largely overlooked from contributing to the parenting conversation. Predictably, such a dominant discourse has led to an inadequate distribution of opportunities available and a societal perception that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male parents are disinterested in and/or disengaged from their parental roles and responsibilities, however, this is far from the truth. Methods This study is entrenched in an Indigenist research approach which privileges Indigenous lives, Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous voices, and utilised the Research Topic Yarning method to capture participants stories. Results Four yarning groups were conducted across South Australia in Coober Pedy, Yalata, Port Lincoln and metropolitan Adelaide. In total, 46 Aboriginal men contributed their experiences and stories of their roles and responsibilities as parents to this study. Men described being a dad as a privilege, emotionally fulfilling and rewarding and although at times it can be challenging, neglecting their roles and responsibilities are not considered options. Lack of employment and therefore financial security were described as a challenge to fatherhood especially for fathers who live in remote communities. Aboriginal culture, connection to country and family were identified as critical elements and strengths for Aboriginal male parents. Furthermore, Aboriginal male parents are yearning for opportunities to participate in parenting programs including men’s parenting groups. Conclusion Consideration of and concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s involvement and experiences prior to conception, prenatal and postpartum has slowly gained momentum in recent years, yet there has been little improvement in the overall provision of appropriate parenting support services and/or programs for these men.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225395
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Kids
  • Aboriginal
  • Men
  • Parenting


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