Socialisation of a Boy Child within a Family as a Contributory Factor for Risk-taking Behaviour at Schools


  • Patrick Nditsheni Munarini Social Worker in Practice
  • Phuti Nathaniel Kgadima University of South Africa image/svg+xml



boy child, family, risk-taking behaviour, socialisation, social learning


The family is influential in children’s development and socialisation. Through the lens of social learning, this article explores how the socialisation of boys within families influences or prevents risk-taking behaviours at school. Employing a qualitative research approach, data were generated through semi-structured face-to-face interviews with open-ended questions contained in an interview guide. These were subsequently analysed thematically. Through purposive sampling, three themes emerged from participants’ narratives. Themes reflect risk factors such as family structure on participants’ discipline and emotional regulation, the value of nurturing family relationships, and the family role in positive socialisation. Significantly, the role of fathers and father absence resonated across the three themes. Recommendations for social work practice centre on parenting programmes specially focused on positive parenting for both parents—especially fathers—and closer collaboration with school social workers.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Patrick Nditsheni Munarini , Social Worker in Practice

Social worker in practice 

Phuti Nathaniel Kgadima, University of South Africa

Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work(UNISA)


Akhavi Samarein, Z., and M. Hezarian. 2022. “Identifying Family Factors Affecting the Academic Failure of Adolescent Female Students (Qualitative Study).” Preventive Counseling 3 (2): 1–15.

Ali, S. K., and S. M. Soomar. 2019. “Single Parenting: Understand Reasons and Consequences.” Mini Review 10 (2): 1–3. DOI:

Arunachalam, D., and D. Nguyen. 2016. “Family Connectedness, School Attachment, Peer Influence and Health-compromising Behaviours among Vietnamese Males.” Journal of Youth Studies 19 (3): 289–304. DOI:

Astor, R. A., N. Guerra, and R. van Acker. 2010. “How Can We Improve School Safety Research?” Educational Researcher 39 (1): 69–78. DOI:

Bandura, A. 1977. Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Bandura, A. 1986. Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Barry, M., M. Murphy, and H. O’Donovan. 2017. “Assessing the Effectiveness of a Cognitive Behavioural Group Coaching Intervention in Reducing Symptoms of Depression Among Adolescent Males in a School Setting.” International Coaching Psychology Review 12 (2): 101–109. DOI:

Bronte-Tinkew, J., K. A. Moore, and J. Carrano. 2006. “The Father-child Relationship, Parenting Styles, and Adolescent Risk Behaviours in Intact Families.” Journal of Family Issues 27 (6): 850–881. DOI:

Burdick, C. L. 2014. “The Merits, Limitations, and Modification to Understanding African American Children’s Exposure to Violence.” American International Journal of Social Sciences 3 (5): 183–190.

Burns, C. E., A. M. Dunn, M. A. Brady, N. B. Starr, and C. G. Blosser. 2013. Paediatric Primary Care, 5th edition. California, Oakland: Elsevier.

Burton, P., and L. Leoschut. 2013. School Violence in South Africa: Results of 2012 National School Violence Study. Cape Town: Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention.

Carlo, G., M. V. Mestre, P. Samper, A. Tur, and B. E. Armenta. 2010. “The Longitudinal Relations Among Dimensions of Parenting Styles, Sympathy, Prosocial Moral Reasoning and Prosocial Behaviours.” International Journal of Behavioural Development 35 (2): 116–124. DOI:

Creswell, J. W., and J. D. Creswell. 2018. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approach, 5th edition. London: Sage Publications.

Curtis, A. C. 2015. “Defining Adolescence.” Journal of Adolescent and Family Health 7 (2): 1–40.

Davids, E. L., J. Ryan, Z. Yassin, S. Hendrickse, and N. V. Roman. 2016. “Family Structure and Functioning: Influences on Adolescents’ Psychological Needs, Goals and Aspirations in a South African Setting.” Journal of Psychology in Africa 26 (4): 351–356. DOI:

Debowska, A., D. Boduszek, A. D. Jones, D. Willmott, and N. Sherretts. 2021. “Gender-based Violence-supportive Cognitions in Adolescent Girls and Boys: The Function of Violence Exposure and Victimization.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36 (3–4): 1233–1255. DOI:

Deggess-White, S., and B. Colon. 2012. Counseling Boys and Young Men. New York: Springer.

Dlamini, N. J. 2021. “Gender-based Violence, Twin Pandemic to Covid-19.” Critical Sociology 47 (4–5): 583–590. DOI:

Ellis, J., C. Dowrick, and M. Lloyd-Williams. 2013. “The Long-term Impact of Early Parental Death: Lessons from a Narrative Study.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 106 (2): 57–67. DOI:

Everly, G. S., and S. Brown. 2009. The Resilient Child: Seven Essential Lessons for your Child’s Happiness and Success. New York: Dia Medica Publishing.

Falade, T. A., and C. Eseadi. 2022. “Family Instability as Correlate of In-school Adolescents’ Deviant Behavior in Enugu State, Nigeria.” International Medical Journal 29 (5): 291–295.

Freeks, F. E. 2017. “Responding to the Challenge of Father Absence and Fatherlessness in the South African Context: A Case Study Involving Concerned Fathers from Northwest Province.” Stellenbosch Theological Journal 3 (1): 89–113. DOI:

Grusec, J. E., and P. D. Hastings. 2015. Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research, 2nd edition. New York: The Guilford Press.

Gupta, A., and S. Kashyap. 2020. “Growing up in a Single Parent Family: A Determining Factor of Adolescents’ Well-being.” Advanced Journal of Social Science 7 (1): 138–144. DOI:

Hamid, S. H. B. A., and A. B. M. Nawi. 2013. “Family Characteristics Associated with Risk Taking Behaviour among Urban Rural Adolescents in Two Districts in Selangor: A Comparative Study.” Procedia: Social and Behavioural Sciences 91: 581–587. DOI:

Holborn, L., and G. Eddy. 2011. Fractured Families: A Crisis in South Africa. South African Institute of Race Relations. Johannesburg.

Hsu, Y. C., C. T. Chen, H. J. Yang, and P. Chou. 2019. “Family Structure, Birth Order, and Aggressive Behaviors Among School-aged Boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 54: 661–670. DOI:

Huang, Y., and S. McKeown. 2022. “Examining the Association between Family Environment and Adolescent Delinquent Behaviours in China.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 31 (10): 2871–2884. DOI:

James, K., J. Bunch, and J. Clay-Warner. 2015. “Perceived Injustice and School Violence: An Application of General Strain Theory.” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 13 (2): 169–189. DOI:

Jayalekshmi, N. B., and B. W. D. Raja. 2014. “Institutional Influence on Behavioural Disorders in Early Adolescents.” I-managers’ Journal on Educational Psychology 8 (1): 1–5. DOI:

Ju, C. W. R., B. Zhang, X. You, and Y. Luo. 2020. “Parenting Styles, Coping Efficacy and Risk-taking Behaviour in Chinese Young Adults.” Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology 14: 1–9. DOI:

Juan, A., L. Zuze, S. Hannan, A. Govender, and V. Reddy. 2018. “Bullies, Victims in South African Schools: Examining the Risk Factors.” South African Journal of Education 38 (Supplement 1): S1–S10. DOI:

Kail, R. V., and J. C. Cavanaugh. 2019. Human Development: A Life-span View, 8th edition. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Kennedy, A. 2011. “Aggression and Violence Exposure in Adolescence and the Role of School-based Policy Initiatives.” Education, Citizenship and Social Justice 6 (2):125–136. DOI:

Klemen, L. 2011. Save the Children; Save our Country: A Parental Guide for the Creation of Successful Students. USA: Authorhouse.

Lamb, M. 2010. The Role of the Father in Child Development, 5th edition. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Langa, M. 2010. “Adolescent Boys Talk about Absent Fathers.” Journal of Psychology in Africa 20 (4): 519–526. DOI:

Le Croy, C, W., S. Milligan-Le Croy, and D. Lopez. 2022. “A Gender-specific Sexual Education Program to Reduce Sexual Risk Behaviours with High School Males.” Health Education and Behaviour. Thousands Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Lee, H., and S. Park. 2015. “Association Between Risk-taking Tendency and Smoking Behaviour Among Male High School Students in the Republic of Korea.” Journal of Addictions Nursing 26 (3): 136–143. DOI:

Marotz, L. R., and S. Kupzyk. 2018. Parenting Today’s Children: A Developmental Perspective. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Mason, S. E. 2012. “Protecting our Children: Preventing Violence in our Schools and Communities.” Families in Society 93 (2): 83–84. DOI:

Mensah, M. K., and A. Kuranchie. 2013. “Influence of Parenting Styles on the Social Development of Children.” Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 2 (3): 123–129. DOI:

Merriam, S. B., and J. Tisdell. 2016. Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation,4th edition. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Milevsky, A. 2011. Siblings Relationships in Childhood and Adolescence: Predictors and Outcomes. New York, Chichester: Columbia University Press.

Morgan, D. E. 2013. A Time for Healing: Dysfunctional Families: How They Mismanage to Get That Way, and What We Can Do to Break the Cycle of Abuse. Bloomington: Authorhouse.

Ncontsa, V. N., and A. Shumba. 2013. “The Nature, Causes and Effects of School Violence in South African High Schools.” South African Journal of Education 33 (3): 1–5. DOI:

Newman, K., L. Harrison, C. Dashiff, and S. Davies. 2008. “Relationships Between Parenting Styles and Risk Behaviours in Adolescent Health: An Integrative Literature Review.” Reve. Enfermagem, Janeiro-fevereiro 16 (1): 142–150. DOI:

Nyanjaya, N. K., and M. J. Masango. 2012. “The Plight of Absent Fathers Caused by Migrant Work: Its Traumatic Impact on Adolescent Male Children in Zimbabwe.” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 68 (68): 1–10. DOI:

Nyarko, K. 2011. “The Influence of Authoritative Parenting Styles on Adolescents’ Academic Achievement.” American Journal of Social and Management Sciences 2 (3): 278–282. DOI:

O’Connor, E. E., B. A. Collins, and L. Supplee. 2012a. “Behaviour Problems in Late Childhood: The Roles of Early Maternal Attachment and Teacher-child Relationship Trajectories.” Attachment and Human Development 14 (3): 265–288. DOI:

O’Connor, T., G., C. Matias, A. Futh, G. Tantam, and S. Scott. 2012b. “Social Learning Theory Parenting Intervention Promotes Attachment-based Caregiving in Young Children: Randomized Clinical Trial.” Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 42 (3): 358–370. DOI:

Peguero, A. A., N. M. Connell, and J. S. Hong. 2018. “Introduction to the Special Issue ‘School Violence and Safety’.” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 16 (2): 119–123. DOI:

Peguero. A. A., A. M. Popp, and D. J. Koo. 2015. “Race, Ethnicity and School-based Adolescent Victimization.” Crime and Delinquency 61 (3): 323–349. DOI:

Pescaru, M. 2018. “The Importance of the Socialization Process for the Integration of the Child in the Society.” Revista Universitară de Sociologie 14 (2): 18–26.

Plotnik, R., and H. Kouyoumdjian. 2014. Introduction to Psychology, 10th edition. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.

Pretorius, J., A. J. Mbokazi, K. K. Hlaise, and L. Kacklin. 2012. Child Abuse: Guidelines and Applications for Primary Healthcare Practitioners. Cape Town: Juta.

Ratele, K., T. Shefer, and L. Clowes. 2012. “Talking South African Fathers: A Critical Examination of Men’s Constructions and Experiences of Fatherhood and Fatherlessness.” South African Journal of Psychology 42 (4): 55–563. DOI:

Roman, N. V., E. L. Davids, A. Moyo, L. Schilder, M. Lacante, and W. Lens. 2015. “Parenting Styles and Psychological Needs Influences on Adolescent Life Goals and Aspiration in a South African Setting.” Journal of Psychology in Africa 25 (4): 305–312. DOI:

Rosenthal, S. S. 2010. The Unavailable Father: Seven Ways Women Can Understand, Heal, and Cope with a Broken Father-daughter Relationship. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Roy, R., S. Pandey, A. Ranjan, P. Kumar, P. Kumar, and C. M. Singh. 2022. “Effect of Physical Health, Dietary Behaviour and Personal Hygiene on Body Mass Index of School-going Adolescents near Patna, Bihar: A Cross-sectional Study.” Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 11 (11): 7136–7143. DOI:

Sharma, S., and V. Sharma. 2022. “A Study of Family Environment as a Predictor of Anger among Adolescents.” Indian Journal of Health and Wellbeing 13 (4).

Sheraz, A., and N. Najam. 2013. “Parenting Styles and Oppositional Behaviour Among School Going Boys.” Journal of Behavioural Sciences 23 (3): 1–20.

Soenens, B., and M. Vansteenkiste. 2010. “A Theoretical Upgrade of the Concept of Parental Psychological Control: Proposing New Insights on the Basis of Self-determination Theory.” Developmental Review 30 (1): 74–99. DOI:

Tramonte, L., A. H. Gauthier, and J. D. Williams. 2015. “Engagement and Guidance: The Effects of Maternal Parenting Practices on Children’s Development.” Journal of Family Issues 36 (3): 396–420. DOI:

Verešová, M., and K. Mujkošová. 2020. “Relationship between Risk Behavior of Pubescents and Characteristics of their Family Environment.” Ad Alta: Journal of Interdisciplinary Research 10 (2).

Watkins, N. K., C. Salafia, and C. M. Ohannessian. 2022. “Family Functioning and Anxiety Symptoms in Adolescents: The Moderating Role of Mindfulness.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 31 (5): 1474–1488. DOI:

White, F., B. Hayes, and D. Livesey. 2013. Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adulthood, 3rd edition. Australia, Frenchs Forest: Pearson.

Xie, H., M. Dawes, T. Wuster, and B. Shi. 2013. “Aggression, Academic Behaviours, and Popularity Perceptions Among Boys of Color During the Transition to Middle School.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 83 (2): 265–277. DOI:



How to Cite

Munarini, Patrick Nditsheni, and Phuti Nathaniel Kgadima. 2023. “Socialisation of a Boy Child Within a Family As a Contributory Factor for Risk-Taking Behaviour at Schools”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 35 (2):21 pages.



Received 2022-05-18
Accepted 2023-05-15
Published 2023-07-19