Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Putting the kids first, Jan Pryor
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×

Saving this for later?

Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime - even offline.

Text the download link to your phone

Standard text messaging rates apply

Putting the kids first, Jan Pryor

646
views

Published on


0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
646
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Putting the Kids First Caring for Children After Separation Jeremy Robertson and Jan Pryor Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families Victoria University
  • 2. Context of the study
    • The majority of separating families do not go through the Family Court; what can we learn from them?
    • They comprise 80-90% of separating couples
    • Maxwell et al (1990) found that those making their own arrangements were more satisfied than those who used the Court
    • We know almost nothing about how they make decisions about living arrangements
  • 3. Some data on living arrangements
    • 22% of NZ children had no contact with nonresident parent (Lee 1990)
    • 25-36% of Australian children had no contact with nonresident parent (ABS 2006; Smyth 2004)
    • Contact overall seems to be increasing in western world
  • 4. Other considerations
    • Living arrangements difficult to measure and compare e.g. resident parents report higher rates than nonresident parents
    • Overnight visitation is important for parenting. In Australia in 2003 52% of children never stayed over (ABS)
    • Contact other than face to face is important (e.g. text, e-mail, phone) especially possibly for adolescents
  • 5. Objectives of this study
    • To understand the pathways through which parents make decisions regarding post-separation living and parenting arrangements for their children;
    • To identify the arrangements that parents come to regarding living and contact arrangements for their children;
    • To understand how well these work and whether they change over time.
  • 6. Methodology of the study
    • Semi structured interviews, qualitative analyses
    • 39 parents (24 mothers, 15 fathers; 8 couples included)
    • Auckland and Wellington region
    • No Family Court involvement
    • Self selected probably non representative sample (6 Maori, 6 Pacific)
  • 7. How arrangements were made (1)
    • Both parents were involved in most cases;
    • Most put aside their personal and relationship issues in order to focus on children;
    • Most were willing to compromise;
    • Most had informal arrangements (10 consulted lawyers for help in drafting arrangements)
  • 8. How arrangements were made (2)
    • The first principle for these families was that the child needed good relationships with both parents;
    • Negotiated details from that position and within their own contexts;
    • 17 of 31 families made arrangements without help
    • 14 used counsellors
    • 10 consulted lawyers for help with arrangements
  • 9. Arrangements made
    • All but 3 included o/n stays with nonresident parent (one father in prison, one child breastfed, one had CYP intervention)
    • 10 had shared care
    • 12 had weekends with overnights
    • 6 had one month or less contact with nonres. parent
    • 3 had infrequent or irregular contact with nonres p.
  • 10. Importance of flexibility
    • This was noted as a feature of workable arrangements:
    • Involved good communication
    • Plenty of warning
    • Not too often
    • reciprocated
  • 11. Changes in arrangements
    • Many noted that they tried several arrangements before settling on one
    • 9 had maintained arrangements since agreement
    • 8 reported minor changes (both more and less contact)
    • 14 reported major changes (parents moving, resident parent stress, repartnering)
  • 12. Factors influencing arrangements made (1)
    • The quality of the parental relationship - putting aside feelings:
    • “ I was extremely angry and bitter but I just pretended I wasn’t for my daughter’s sake. For my own sanity I had to let it all go.”
    • “ It’s the baggage that creates the tension…I have had to bite my lip. It’s about having some good communication.”
  • 13. Other factors
    • Geography
    • Ability to acknowledge children’s best interests
    • New partners
    • Acknowledging the importance of fathers in children’s lives
    • Support from friends and family members
  • 14. Where did they turn for information?
    • 14 talked to counsellors
    • 2 said they read books (but a dearth of books around)
    • 3 used the internet
    • 4 asked the advice of lawyers
    • Some suggested friends and family members but used them mainly for support
  • 15. Advice for other separating parents
    • Set aside personal issues:
    • “ Always put your kids first. Even if you have to compromise yourself…for the kids. It’s about the kids.” (mother)
    • “ The top of the list is making sure that your child’s interests are at the top of the list. And your own individual circumstances - be it broken hearts, wounded pride, frustration and anger - is nothing. Pales into insignificance.” (father)
  • 16. More advice…
    • Don’t criticise the other parent:
    • “ You have to put aside the personal hurt..you are never going to be best friends.” (mother)
    • “… forget about the fights with the ex - it’s over - just sort out the kids’ arrangements calmly and quietly.” (mother)
  • 17. Look after yourself…
    • “ I think you need time for yourself - it’s getting the balance right.” (father)
    • “ You need a good support network of friends, and use the resources that are there.” (mother)
    • “ It’s about sorting it out first…so when talking things through our baggage is left at the door.” (father).
  • 18. It’s not easy…
    • “… in some ways it is harder - handled so well - it has been more difficult.” (mother)
    • “ If the father had disappeared off the scene it would have been far easier…seeing the person all the time - the emotions take a lot longer than the actual facts.” (mother)
  • 19. Insights from this study
    • Priority of wellbeing for children, and manageable communication, are keys to successful arrangements.
    • These families took time to reach workable agreements - we should perhaps ease off emphasising the need for immediate solutions?
    • Flexibility and reciprocity are wonderful if they can be achieved.
    • Many did not use information from outside; we need to promote the FC as a nonlitigious path, and the use of PTS.
    • It is not easy to separate ‘well’ and we need to acknowledge that is not a failure to need help. Some of these parents were noble!