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The Mental Health and Parenting Practices of Recently Separated Parents Survey

Filed under: General,Men's Health — Julie @ 12:17 am Tue 27th April 2010

Approximately one half of committed relationships (marriage or de facto) result in separation — that’s a lot of separated adults. Between August 2007 and July 2008, the Family Court in New Zealand granted 10,000 divorces — and that doesn’t account for all of the de facto relationships that ended during that time. The breakup of a committed relationship is a stressful event. In fact, separation and divorce have been ranked as the second-most stressful events in life after the death of a spouse. Overseas research has found that people going through a divorce are more at risk for psychological difficulties (like anxiety and depression and the overuse of alcohol) than people who are married, or people who have never been married. Interestingly, it seems that there may be some differences between men and women with regards to these difficulties. Some research says that men struggle more than women, and other research says that women struggle more than men. One of the reasons that these differences have been found may be that people are usually only asked once about how they’re coping. So, maybe women suffer more at the beginning and men suffer more later on, or vice versa. If they’re only asked once about it, the researchers may never know that things got better (or worse). Unfortunately, we don’t have that information about separated parents in New Zealand.

In 2008, there was an average of nearly two children involved per divorce in New Zealand, which suggests that a large proportion of divorces involve people who have children. So, how much more stressful is separation when there are children involved? Anxiety about the children’s welfare adds a huge burden to the already-difficult process of separating from someone you’ve loved and shared your life with for a considerable period of time. Needing to communicate and co-operate with someone who makes you feel sad or angry or guilty or scared is very difficult. Working out how children are going to continue to get the best out of both parents can be a minefield of frustration and anxiety and even despair. It’s been suggested that parents going through a divorce are twice as likely to think about suicide than parents who are not going through a divorce. Some research says that fathers who don’t have custody of their children are at particular risk for mental health problems.

Read the rest of the quoted article here

This sounds like a terrific survey to get involved with and it would be a terrible shame if an opportunity for men’s voices to be heard passed by with just a whisper. At the moment 83% of the participants are female meaning only 17% are male. That’s sad when you consider 50% of participants in separation are female/male.

If this sounds like something you personally can participate in please take the time to fill out your answers, or if this is something your partner can participate in, or your brother, father, friend etc., etc., please pass this on and encourage them to take some time to share.

For details about the researcher click here

To participate in the survey click here


  1. I note the words recently seperated in the survey. It is the figures arising from the defaco’s that worry me. One party may consider there is a relationship, the other, a random bit of fun! Equally it would not count older children. From experience – They suffer.

    Somehow it needs better data.

    Comment by Alastair — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 12:28 am

  2. I was mildly interested until I got to this line –> “Needing to communicate and co-operate with someone who makes you feel sad or angry or guilty or scared is very difficult.”
    Groan……fact is responsable adults take full reponsibility for the emotions they feel in relation to others. Nobody makes them feel anything. They generate thier own emotional states. Sorry for having to state the obvious for those who are switched on enough to know such.
    I say only mildly interested too because I’d rather support the initiative of these young switched on guys who I think are a bit harsh with their words at times but basically have the right view.
    To me they represent a much needed fence at the top of the cliff, rather than an ambulance at the bottom of it.
    I mean they’re staunch advocates of avoiding comittment to ‘liberated’ western women based on thier observation that the vast majority of these women willfully ignore men’s issues.
    They do a sterling job of exposing women’s passive aggressiveness as women know they’re way way overentitled thanks to chivalric numbskulls like our sex’s very own traitors Peter Dunne, Neville Robertson, Reese Helmondollar et al. Yet what do they do about it. Nothing. And chances are if you press them hard enough on the issue you’ll get some nasty misandric nonesense about ‘men ruled for thousands of years now it’s our turn’ shit.
    It’s been quite an epiphany for me.
    Bottom line with me now is this – I’m not about to give my time and energy helping guys deal with getting out of a marriage/defacto relationship to a westernized woman when I can be putting that energy into explaining to guys what idiots they’d be to commit to exploiters.
    What’s REALLY exciting to see at the spearhead website is that contrary to the belief that young guys all charged up with loads of testosterone only think with thier dicks and are easily lured into commitments where they get taken to the cleaners it’s not like that at all. These guys are cold hard realists to the core. A real inspiration.
    So go ahead and take the survey.
    Be careful it’s not like some ‘social science research’ I naively let myself get involved in back in NZ. I talked at length to the ‘researcher’ about the abuse done to me by certain feminists in NZ (quite harrowing in itself to dredge up that shit’ only to find she twisted the whole thing around to make me look like the perpetrator to fit her dumbass feminist model of reality. She got a masters degree out of it. I got scorched.
    The message is obviously spreading fast though so despite some painful memories I’m alive with hope and remain………
    a Skeptik.

    Comment by Skeptik — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 2:43 am

  3. Hi Alistair, I don’t follow what you are saying? Can you explain?

    Anyways, they are trying to get more men involved and I think it could be a good idea for universities to have Paul’s news on their list of contacts for fathers since you deal with many clients over there and they say that men’s research is big for the next decade (minus a couple of years since they’ve said it)

    This is a really good thing to do IMO. As you know, (and others), there’s a lot that is needed for people going through separation. You see it through those needing assistance in the FC and I see through a social single parent group and then everyone sees it around them.

    I want to add some of my own concerns like women and men having their first experience with WINZ. It’s hard if you’ve never been on a benefit before and moreso if you’re not from NZ.

    I also think there needs to be support for the parent who leaves the home. Where do they go? What if they have no family over here nor good relations with workmates, sport team players, etc? It must be dreadful to live in your car or on the street.

    And of course the FC. I can remember when I first went there and how overwhelming it was. The whole law system is overwhelming and it’s extra frightening with no support.

    Comment by julie — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 8:19 am

  4. Sorry Julie If I was incoherent. Look at the time! I am not my most lucid at that hour.

    I look at a Defacto relationship failure, if the children are over 16 the only mark it leaves is an order by consent under the relationship properties act. Yet it is devastating both parties and products of the relationship definitely are effected. To support the departing parent/party there is primarily nothing.

    July sees the introduction of on the spot Protection Orders. At the polices whim the victim of the order is forced to leave the property with only what the remaining party will allow them to have. I can only hope my fears here of people sleeping in cars (If they are permitted it) eventuates.

    It is worse for parents who have children removed by CYF. Normally the first parents are aware is the children do not come home from school/preschool. The police are totally incommunicative beyond, ring CYF. Ring CYF you can guarentee nobody knows. There is a deeply held belief that Social Workers are rewarded with annual leave each time they uplift children.

    In these situations Women have their refuges etc. Men an couples that want to stay together have nothing. This gap is filled by a very few people wearing themselves out. Yourself Julie, Paul Catton, Union of Fathers (Hamilton, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay, and Kapity coast)

    To sumarise – I waffled, yes it is daunting, and down right scary. Any vestige of dignity and pride that survived is quickly destroyed.

    Unfortunately for many the first bounce appears to be lawyers. This can be the worst. For help look to people concerned about you, cot improving their own sense of self importance

    On the web of course we have MENZ, Pauls-news, and CYFSTALK (Not exclusive to cyf)

    I believe the question is not lets have another survey, we all know the problem is huge. Lets work together to help each other

    Comment by Alastair — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 10:51 am

  5. Julie, can you give me the URL to the source of your quotations please.

    Bruce Tichbon

    Comment by Bruce Tichbon — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 6:17 pm

  6. Thanks for your reply Alistair.

    Sorry Julie If I was incoherent. Look at the time! I am not my most lucid at that hour.

    LOL. You are soooo, soooo enjoyable as a man in the MRM. Not only did you do so much for me, although you’re modest about it, but you are soooooo cool. I haven’t taken the opportunity to know you offline, but we are working on a single parent group in MT. M. and I hope we can work together also.

    I understand that you’ve been at this for years and I probably sound naive at times, but I spoke to the University heads of the Psychology departments about the MRM when I met y’all.

    They were upset that menz didn’t talk to them but instead rubbished them online. They said there is no easy answer to these separation issues because there were so many outliers in their research and they wanted so much to tell men they were working on it as a global movement.

    I wanted to invite the woman doing this research to this site so men could speak about their experiences but I’m also feeling as if I’m being pushed off for being a moderate.

    I believe the question is not lets have another survey, we all know the problem is huge. Lets work together to help each other

    Do you think maybe we can do both? 🙂

    Comment by julie — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 6:24 pm

  7. Hi Bruce,

    can you give me the URL to the source of your quotations please.

    Comment by julie — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  8. Of course Julie. I believe you are aware of my email address. Feel free to use it!

    While I have never been to the extreems you (And others) have, I have experienced the despair and sense of failure at seperation. I have been told I’m a man = your fault. I have had an X wife smash my back door then procede to smash a cordless phone over my head. Then have had police refuse to take action and been unable to obtain a PO.

    I also have a wonderful son, daughter-in-law, and 2 beautiful grandies!

    Just ask off line.

    Comment by Alastair — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 8:27 pm

  9. Sorry Julie, that just sends me to a Gmail sign on page.

    Bruce Tichbon

    Comment by Bruce Tichbon — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 8:39 pm

  10. Hi Bruce, oh, about the link.

    It would be a good thing if you approached the woman doing the research. She offered for me to ask any questions and I found her approachable.

    Comment by julie — Tue 27th April 2010 @ 10:33 pm

  11. Hope I have the right forum

    I recommend all to participate in this survey. Having completed it myself – there’s nothing extreme & Kirsten seems open to hearing your personal views.

    best regards

    Comment by Nik — Fri 30th April 2010 @ 1:01 am

  12. Hi Nic, thank-you for your input. Annnnd, nice site you’ve got there. Brilliant.

    Do you think you have some space to advertise the survey on your site?

    Comment by julie — Fri 30th April 2010 @ 8:18 am

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