Paid Parental Leave – Psychiatric or Economic Issues?
This thread spun out of a question put onto the Court Value and Quality thread, by Down Under.
It was off topic, but nonetheless seemed a very hot topic!
Down Under says:
Fri 13th April 2012 at 11:18 am
Primary teachers and Plunket nurses are backing Labour’s bill to extend paid parental leave which the government will veto. Good legislation or bad? What are the ramifications for father?
Fri 13th April 2012 at 1:20 pm
I suggest that the bill will have generally good results for children, probably much more so than most parents realise. Generally more time spent between all family members should result in better bonding and improved relationships right through life. (Where there are some minor or more serious mental illness issues, then it is even more important that all parents play a larger part in the parenting of these children. So, if it was the mother who had more serious mental health issues, then encouraging the father to spend more time with the children while they are very young gives a substantial degree of mental health protection for these children. And, vice versa in the same way.)
Maybe if housing was more affordable, then we could put higher priority on better parenting?
However, will this greater paid parental leave be taken up by the mother or by the father?
Will it be taken up by the parent with weaker or stronger mental health?
Economics favours one parent working and one caring for the children.
Good parenting (and good child protection too), when we look at healthy child development, requires parents to much more equally share the tasks of parenting (especially if one or both have mental health issues). Thus good parenting is quite in conflict with making the most money for the family.
Which is more important for most parents?
These issues suggest that young men should consider how their family finances would stack up, if they were forced to care for the children and the wife was forced to work, by child protection issues. Curiously, this argument seems to put more pressure onto women, to develop a career”¦.. This may be difficult, if the woman has some degree of mental health problems.
Quite a separate issue is funding. Should the bill just guarantee the holding of the job for the parent and they accept this time unpaid, or should this time be Government funded?
If it costs the family more, for the father to take time away from work, will many fathers be willing to do this?
Even leaving money aside, I suspect that quite a few men wouldn’t be keen to spend this time with their own children, alas. I believe that we need to show fathers that their involvement in the growing up of their children is important and may be critically important, if the mother has some problems with parenting.
I did spend some time with my own children when they were very small. I seem to remember working full time also, partly during the day and through to the early hours of the morning, through the grace of a reluctant but tolerant employer. I don’t remember any Government funding, except for paying child support for the priviledge”¦ Sorry about my tasteless moaning!!!
There are lots of ways of skinning a cat and we must look carefully at all options.
I suspect that a cost effectiveness analysis would support Government funding, but my guess is it would be economically marginal. If the funding was based on Government funding for the parent with stronger mental health, then my guess is it would have a reasonably attractive cost benefit for Government. (If we trimmed solo parents benefits just a little, then $150 million would be available very quickly. Maybe the solo parent’s benefits should be mental health and parenting skill tested? This is to protect their children, more than just to save money.)
In my opinion, Government funding is the small issue. The larger issue is job protection, for caring for children. Also I believe that close neighbourhood shared care options offer more security and value for children and parents, than Government funding of nuclear powered families. We should be encouraging mutual support, rather than incentivising the nuclear option for families. However, developing the relationships needed to setup and maintain mutual family support requires stable and good mental health”¦. The Government is working to improve mental health support, even for men.
In the discussion above, please note that impacts onto children occur at lower levels of mental health issues, than needed for a formal diagnosis. Also mental health issues are usually intermittent, they come and go. Thus if a parent isn’t formally diagnosed with a mental health issue, this doesn’t mean that there will be no problems for the children. If the other parent plays a significant role in the care and development of the children, then the risks for the children’s development are much reduced. Formal diagnosis of a mental health issue is set at a level reflecting adult self care competence. A much better level of mental health is required, to take care of and develop children properly, with minimal risk of the children developing mental health problems.
Cooklin, A. (2006) Children of Parents with Mental Illness, Chapter 12, pp. 265-291. In, From Children in Family Contexts, Second Edition: Perspectives on Treatment, edited by Lee Combrinck-Graham. (2006) The Guilford Press, UK
I have cautiously expressed my guess. More to the point, I hope I can stimulate your debate!
John Dutchie says:
Fri 13th April 2012 at 1:21 pm
Reply to Down Under# 4
Your post”¦’What are the ramifications for father?'”¦And when did Fathers issues were ever considered in “The Republic of “Gestapo’ social engineered Feminist N.Z’..Zero..Nothing..
The only use for a Father in NZ is to be used as a walking sperm donor/s and a walking ATM machine for the Gestapo hell hole Feminist state,and for them poor down trodden Kiwi women
Interesting post and some very interesting question/s you have asked MurrayBacon,however
Whoopsie hit the key”¦.However I will reply later as I now have to go”¦
Tongue in cheek”¦’No rest for the wicked'”¦Hang on,I forgot that I don’t abode in NZ anymore, hence I not considered to be a wicked and evil Father
Kind regards to you MurrayBacon”¦stay strong good sir
John Dutchie Free at Last
Down Under says:
Fri 13th April 2012 at 2:41 pm
With the increasing number of female graduates and decreasing number of male graduates from tertiary institutions the concept of paid parental leave will eventually become unaffordable. Weight of numbers as was the case with the DPB over a period of time. The government being such a large and increasing employer of female graduates will eventually move to recover that cost from fathers and will extend the same benefit as a subsidy to business. All this would require is a different tax code for married men and a change of percentage in child support for separated men, with the state retaining a percentage rather than passing the full amount on to the mother. Feminism isn’t a viable economic model, it has to be paid for and the more that it is implemented, the higher the cost that will be met by fathers. Any perceived benefits to children or mental health are anecdotal and irrelevant distractions.
Fri 13th April 2012 at 4:06 pm
Dear Down Under, you are looking at these issues in adult focussed mode and suggest that child benefits are anecdotal or irrelevant distractions.
I am scared that you could easily be right, if the political debate is adult focussed only. The history of the DPB is a very unfortunate (and astonishingly expensive) example of failing to distinguish between the parent’s interest and the children’s interest.
To try to avoid such a failure occurring again, I am suggesting that we try to look carefully at value delivered to the children, by whom. This is as hard as performance based pay in schoolteaching and almost as fraught with methodological problems.
If we wish to protect children’s right to a healthy development environment and healthy development too, then we must address this measurement challenge. If we fail, then probably we fail to properly protect our children.
We already have 3 decades of experience with the irrelevant and incompetent familycaught$, so lets try to aim to succeed this time around. We must try to not prejudge by the sex of parents, but look at what they essentially deliver for their children, in each individual specific case. This approach will tread on fairly powerful vested interests and sacred cows, but this is the world that we operate in.
Families living with an addicted parent
There is now a great deal of research available regarding the experiences and
outcomes for children living with addiction. Despite recognition of some of the
limitations of earlier research, and some conflicting evidence regarding risk, it is
generally accepted that children of alcoholics are more at risk of developing alcohol
problems later in life or to experience other psychiatric, behavioural disorders or
interpersonal difficulties (Casswell, 1996; Jansen, Fitzgerald, Ham & Zucker, 1995;
Green, MacIntyre, West & Ecob, 1991; Velleman, 1992).
Our understanding of the effects of alcohol problems has continued to develop
as later research attempts to more accurately define those factors which adversely
affect children’s functioning and their development as adults. More recent research
focuses specifically on the dynamics within a family and the quality of interactions
within the family.
By recognising the majority of children who do not develop major difficulties,
research has begun to suggest factors that promote resilience in a child’s functioning
and the mechanisms by which these protective factors are able to limit the effects of
risk (Werner, 1986; Wolin & Wolin, 1995).
Recent literature, however, continues to highlight the needs of these children
and the lack of services available (Lindstein, 1996; Brisby, Baker, & Hedderwick,
1997; Coface & Eurocare, 1998).
This paper will briefly refer to alcohol and drug related harm in New Zealand
followed by a definition of addiction as it impacts on family members. A description
is provided of some of the characteristics of families living with addiction and some
of the negative outcomes for children as they relate to key areas of children’s wellbeing.
The topic of resilience is explored with suggestions as to how we may apply
this construct to working with children and young people living in these
environments. Implications for practice and policy are described, followed by a brief
outline of the Hawke’s Bay Addiction Services Children’s Programme.
(This is a services marketing document put out by Barnardoes, to help sell their costly services.)
How does parental mental illness affect children and families?
Mental illnesses may be as varied as physical illnesses in their presentation and
impact. The type, severity and duration of a parent’s mental illness infl uences the
impact on children3. Children can become isolated from friends and wider family;
they are often burdened by caring responsibilities, and can feel embarrassed or
ashamed because of the stigma of mental illness and discrimination associated
with it. But with the right support and clear information4 children can be helped to
cope with what is happening.
Most parents with mental illness go on caring with great love and commitment
for their children. But their situation can be made more diffi cult than it should
be if they do not receive the understanding and support they need – such as
appropriate care packages, fi nancial support, practical support and advocacy in
decision-making. They are also more at risk of unemployment or low pay and the
poverty that goes with this5.
We also know that since women are still overwhelmingly the primary carers for
children, especially in the early years, the mental illness of a mother is likely to have
a particular impact on children6.
Natalie Heijm at Massey University, Albany has published a thesis:
Supporting Families in Mental Illness:
A Qualitative, Exploratory Study into the Views and Needs of Parents who Experience Mental Illness Regarding Parenting Programmes
Her thesis is mainly parent need focussed, but somewhat covers the territory that I am trying to illustrate.
Parents with mental illness:
The effect of parental mental illness on child development is an area of rigorous debate (Reupert and Maybery, 2007). Mowbray, Bybee, Hollingsworth, Goodkind and Oyserman (2005) found that serious mental illness in mothers is associated with inadequate parenting ability. According to Phelan, Lee, Howe and Walter (2006), aspects of functioning associated with poor parenting are communication, impulse control and motivation. Importance is placed on how well a person is able to manage their illness whilst undertaking parenting duties (Mowbray et al., 2005). Different mental illnesses are commonly discussed; depression is linked to lacking emotional availability for children and pychotic disorders may produce inappropriate parenting responses (Craig, 2004). Phelan, Lee, Howe and Walter (2006) argue that mental illness is not a predictor of parenting capacity and many people parent effectively despite having a mental illness. It is acknowledged that parenting can be a challenge regardless of psychiatric diagnosis (Clarke, 2010).
Ackerson (2003) interviewed 13 parents regarding the dual demands of serious mental illness and parenting. Thematic analysis identified: problems with treatment and diagnosis; stigma and discrimination; chaotic interpersonal relationships; strain of single parenthood; custody issues; relationship with children and social support. Support from family and friends was mentioned more often than formal support, but this was practical in nature, not always emotional support. Ackerson also found that “parents were aware of a need for help in areas such as discipline and relationships with their children’ (p.118). Similarly Reupert and Mayberry (2007) found that for mothers with mental illness caring for their children is “rewarding and central to their lives, even though the demands of parenting are considerable’ (p.365). Much research into parenting has focused on the mothering role; however fathering is gaining interest (COPMI National Initiative, 2011).
From an ecological perspective, the interplay of home environment and the parent-child relationship collectively are more important than a parent’s psychiatric diagnosis (Phelan et al., 2006). It is also said that social adversity poses a greater risk to children than the direct impact of mental illness (Rutter 1981 cited in Reupert & Maybery, 2007). A worrying trend for FaPMI is their propensity for increased levels of family discord and socioeconomic adversity (Vostanis, Graves, Meltzer, Goodman, Jenkins & Brugha, 2006). In Aotearoa New Zealand, poor outcomes have been linked to stigma and discrimination in society towards people with mental illness and are an underlying cause of economic and social barriers, unemployment, isolation and poverty (Barnett & Barnes, 2010). The stigma surrounding mental illness is associated with parents’ fears that if they seek support with their parenting they may lose custody of their children (Reupert & Maybery, 2007). An American study found that Asian-Americans were less likely to seek treatment than the general population. This was attributed to stigma, language barrier for Asian immigrants, lack of culturally appropriate services and different cultural explanations for the problems (U.S. Surgeon General, 2009 quoted in Garvin, 2011).
I am not trying to add to stigma, but to keep children’s proper needs in the equation. I am not saying that children’s needs are or should be paramount, but they should be kept in proper perspective with the needs of all involved parties.
I believe that I have seen more directly useful quotes than those above, but I haven’t been able to quickly find them. As I recall, probably the greatest hazard is from parents who are depressed, even to only a moderate degree. This weakens their responding to their children and the children often react in ways that make the relationship even more difficult. Most people just say, snap out of it, but we should be taking these situations more seriously.
Thanks for your challenges. MurrayBacon.
Down Under says:
Sat 14th April 2012 at 8:23 am
@Murray. I think you missed my point. I’m not saying the children are irrelevant, only irrelevant to the men’s argument. When you look at this as a money issue someone has to pay. Now, it is either the tax payer or business, but it won’t stay that way. You’re saying it is great for children, support for parents. To me that’s buying the feminist line. That’s one more thing ticked off the list were mother and father do not have to co operate budget and agree on how to fund THIER offspring. It’s another LOW [liberation of women] BLOW against men
Sat 14th April 2012 at 10:27 am (Edit)
Dear Down Under, I have not focussed on the father’s argument, others already do this. I do see your point that the funding cost could easily be lumped onto fathers, as you suggest. In the same way, I would point out that no fault, no responsibility and no proven parenting skills DPB has put huge costs directly onto taxpayers and fathers. In the longer term, also huge social costs resulting from many young solo mother’s poor parenting skills (or at least parenting skills insufficient to the solo role that they have taken for themself).
I am focussing on protecting the children, when parents are considering separation or having mental health problems, even at a low level. By protecting the children, we are also protecting society from the long term costs of damage to the children, these being huge. (Thus my focus could be viewed as preventing long term costs, rather than allocating costs.)
I am also pointing at that the level of mental illness, to be formally diagnosed, is based on adult functioning and self care.
However, when children and a parenting relationship is involved, then the level of mental illness that we need to be concerned about, is much lower. While parents work together and complement each other, this isn’t making a problem for the children. When parents want to separate, then this low level mental illness may turn into a major problem for the children. Presently, we are not managing these risks, in a way that successfully protects the children from these easily foreseeable problems. Relevant legislation was passed in 1968 and 2004, but isn’t yet working to protect children effectively.
I am presenting a child focussed issue, because I suspect that many mothers and fathers don’t (or cannot?) fully consider these issues. However, it might be that some aspects of this child focussed issue, may give some useful strength to advocating for father’s issues”¦.
Also, in many cases following through the child’s interests may lend strong support to more equal shared care (ie put the lie to many move away or relocation proposals submitted by PAS mothers) as it brings out the critical need to maintain the child’s relationships with both mother and father and their wider families.
The mothers who try hardest to destroy the children’s relationship with the father, are in fact insecure women, often with a moderate degree of depression and frustration with the world. Maybe not diagnosable personality disorder, but certainly enough problems that the children should not be left alone with them or in their majority care. To protect the children’s healthy development, it is essential that these children spend MOST of their time in the care of their other parent.
But what does the familycaught$ do in such cases? Frequently they reward such mothers, both financially through child [and spousal] support and also bolster them as the essential or only parent!
I am suggesting that child development through mental health issues research in fact emphasises that children in these situations must have the relationship with the more mentally healthy parent strongly protected. In a married situation, if the father is more mentally healthy than the mother, then seeing him to some extent every day and for many hours in weekends too, this will provide the children with a substantial degree of protection from the mother’s problems. (This works equally the other way around too.) The Care of Children Act espouses these principles, so why is it that the familycaught$ CANNOT follow these principles?
But if such a mother then wants to separate and prevent the children seeing the father frequently, she is dramatically increasing the chances of these children developing mental health problems too. If she wants to cutoff the children’s relationship with the father completely, then the risks for the children are much higher still.
From the point of view of protecting the children, any proposal which dramatically reduces contact with the parent not making the proposal, is most likely dangerous for the children. Accordingly, they should be approved only after very careful checking and infrequently.
It was suggested to me that such mothers and fathers who try to cutoff contact with the other parent are jealous of the more natural and constructive relationship between the children and the more healthy parent. I think there is some truth in this. I suspect that it is more basically instinctual, related to driving the male away in evolutionary theory. Primevil forces must be respected, but where they dis-serve then we need to work to prevent them damaging our lives (in particular our children’s lives) in the urban jungle.
Either way, such behaviour is dangerous for the children and ultimately the damage done is hugely expensive for society too. When the familycaught$ falls for these arguments, they are the lowest possible form of ignorant relationship vandals.
My other worry, is that many men don’t understand that if such issues apply in their own situation, then it is critical for the children that they can make themselves available for the children. I am worried that too few men are willing to do this?
I have known several men who have, in the situation where the mother was making severe problems with the children, taken on the parenting role. They both reported quite a lot of un-support, both from neighbourhood and Government departments. They were caught in crossfire between CYFs and IRD-CS. They felt that the issues of stepping in for the children at short notice were hard enough, but the effort wasted by “good meaning” incompetent Government departments just made it much harder. (I am not “blaming” the mother, they were victims of their own parents. What is important is that we know our limitations, get help and work safely within our limits.)
The outcomes were not as good as desirable for these children, as the decisions were far too delayed. We must be willing to make decisions to protect the children much earlier, if we want to actually protect the children.
What changes should we be making, to improve our protection of children, from well meaning but less competent parents?
Usually the incompetent are unaware of what they don’t know, this is certainly true in parenting.
I would guess that it is equally true in familycaught$ staffing. In a non-competitive environment, they are protected from being evaluated on the up-to-dateness of their performance, on the quality of their performance and its relevance to the family. In other words, it is my fault and your fault that they are and continue to be incompetent!
The familycaught uses legal process, precedents. This is like driving a car in reverse, looking out the back window.. No wonder they find it difficult to impossible to deliver useful judgements. They don’t look forwards, in a meaningful way!
Like all incompetents, they simply don’t know any better and they will stay there, drawing an inordinate salary for their performance, until we take action to put them into roles for which they could be successful, such as drawing unemployment benefit.
I suspect that if we protected the children’s interests effectively through separation, then quite a few men and women would hesitate and perhaps not go through with separation. Looking more carefully at all of these issues, before making decisions which are often not possible to undo, could only be a good thing. These stresses and problems reflect the rather poor support that we offer to young parents, in particular when there are known high risk issues present, such as death of a child or birth or low level mental health issues. Secrecy and glossy images send us down dangerous paths. Openness, admitting our problems and asking for help would protect children and parents alike, far better.
Too many decisions are based on self deluded illusions, that in the long run serve noone. (Isn’t this just another reflection of mental health issues?)
All is fair, in love and war – but not if you want to protect your children.
If we want to keep within our competent limits, we must know what these limits are. This is not easy for us to know, so will usually require outside intervention. Professionals who know that some aspects of their work is outside of their training or experience, will pay for a review of their work, by someone who is known to be competent in the area of concern. Principals employing professionals, in large scale projects, will require regular outside reviews to be carried out. Usually insurance companies will also require independant reviews. This is why relatively few buildings fall down, or dams burst, but why the familycaught$ makes mistake after debacle, but still no constructive changes! Medical practitioners are also used to making decisions, where outcomes could include suffering or death at higher risk rates than familycaught$. They too will often seek review of their proposed decisions, to reduce the risk of overlooking something, or making errors.
Although familycaught$ decisions generally are lower risk than doctors or engineers work, there are risks of causing mental health problems for children, driving people to suicide or murder. If these risks were professionally managed, then we could have saved about 1 or 2,000 lives, of fathers, children and mothers in the last 30 years in NZ. This level of risk is enough that professional responsibilities should be taken seriously in familycaught$ too.
We must make sure that these interveners DO know what they are doing. The existing familycaught$ gives us an extremely detailed model, of what we should never do again!
Ivan Zverkov says:
Sun 15th April 2012 at 7:43 am
To understand the mistreatment of men and their families, we have to remind ourselves that we live in a feminist dictatorship.
Feminists hate men so much, they would ruin 2 women in order to ruin 1 man.
We can see that clearly in divorce courts, when women who depend on him, like his mom, sister, 2nd wife etc give testimonies, but only the testimony of his revengegul ex-wife is accepted, and other women are shafted.
The legal fight of Jacky Onassis for the wealth of her husband was not a fight for women’s rights, but simply a fight against his daughter Christina Onassis. All other alleged fights for women’s rights are actually fights against other women, if we analyse correctly. Because, one way or another, it’s always women who inherit what men accumulate.
GENERAL RULE OF GENDER RELATIONS AND FEMINISM
All women depend on exploitation of men and men are proud to be exploited (to provide and protect). Women consume more than produce and the difference is covered by exploitation of men, in form of husbands, taxpayers etc.
Feminism can’t increase exploitation of men, it can only re-distribute among women the surpluss value produced by men, so that one woman gets more at the expense of oher women. The only way exploitation of men can be increased is to increase productivity of men. However, our feminist dictatorship decreases productivity of men, so all women loose (because they have less to exploit).
Feminism rips off average woman in the United States for maybe US $ 1,000,000 in her lifetime, if we add up all costs of feminism correctly.