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More contact = Less grief

Fathers who have more contact with their children suffer less grief than fathers who have little contact. I have experienced both sides of this fence, and can empathise with fathers who see their children only every second weekend or less for that matter.  This causes grief through the feeling of “separation loss” of your children.  The moment we leave the family home our role changes, we are forced to physically care less for our children on a day to day basis. Everything we used to do in our former family life is adjusted!

There were times I questioned if I did the right thing and may have thought I could have worked harder at trying the save the marriage? These feeling came about from going to sleep and waking every morning without my child, I found it extremely distressful even though I was happy to be out of the marriage!

There has been very little research on the well-being of fathers leaving the family home however, in 1987 some research showing that men after divorce and separation who had children were more likely to suffer levels of depression and had lower self image issues than men who were otherwise married.

In 2007 a thesis was conducted by Helen Margaret McKeering at the Queensland University of Technology,  on Separated Fathers: Generativity (generative work), Grief and Mental Health.  It looks to provide answers to questions about the relationship between generativity,  access to children,  grief and mental health amongst separated fathers.

In summary the thesis found when a father is prevented from  behaving as he believes a father should, a dissonance between his behavior and his cognition’s occurs, which may result in mental health problems and low levels of well being.  Fathers who consider themselves as “good fathers” may consider the father role to be that of the provider with a distant style of physiological involvement such as moral guardian.  Other “good fathers” may perceive the father role to be predominately child-parent interaction with emotional  involvement and hands on approach.  Many father will incorporate mixtures of both dimensions in their ideal father role.

Definitions are as follows:

GENERATIVITY– Is the process of learning to care for others and an interest in establishing and guiding the next generation.

GENERATIVITY WORK – The concept of fathering,  mens sustained efforts to care for and about their children.

GRIEF– Is the emotional, cognitive and somatic reaction through the perception of loss through separation or death.

The level of support is minimal offered to fathers in coping and dealing with these issues and I suggest that you actively seek out your own help as I did i.e. speak to people such as physiologists and  counselors. They won’t try to persuade you to stay together or even separate, they are great listeners  helping  you to deal with your loss and pain and very importantly provide you with coping strategies to help work through your individual needs.

Even if you are adjusting to your new life as a separated dad, the feeling of loneliness and loss is very real. You must always remember that your children will cease having a dad only when you give up being their dad!  The key word is “perseverance” would you mind if I said that again “perseverance”.  You can find an interesting article in Divorced Dads – Survival Guide for a good read on this topic.

Our emotional and mental state gets a beating and I don’t believe that we ever fully recover, recover yes but fully?  I would be interested in your comments.



  1. bosch coffee maker says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you actually understand what you are speaking about! Bookmarked.

  2. HD says:

    Magnificent beat ! I were tiny bit familiar of this, you provide bright clear concept.

  3. Leigh Stamation says:

    Glad I stumbled across this site!
    This article validates what I have been attempting to achieve for the last 2 years.. i.e. more contact.
    I have been through many of the emotions described and now proudly can say I’m no longer on anti-depressants, have given up smoking and have more contact with my children than since the original custody arrangements (with out going through the courts). Sure it’s only one extra night but every bit counts. Advice to others, never give up. One day your kids will thank you for it!

  4. Jevvan McPhee says:

    Interesting article. My ex tried to stop me from seeing my kids on a weekly basis, opting for once a fortnight. In principle, her reasons were nonsensical in that she wanted to get them into a routine and that they were starting school and that she now had more time for them as she had stopped studying over the Christmas Break (What happens when she goes back to study, I don’t know). The point I am making is that they were in a routine, with me seeing them every weekend, picking them up at the same time from school and dropping them of on Sunday afternoon. Going forward, I agreed to the fortnight visits in the end, but also fought for and got Tuesday nights with them and I take them to school on Wednesday morning, so at least I get to see them once a week even when I do not have them on the weekend. I find this helps my mental state in part, as I continue to be part of their lives. I still miss out on a lot of things with them, but emotionally and mentally it does help.

    • Peter says:

      I agree Jevvan, Routine can take the form of either fortnightly or 7 days in every 14 (50/50) or something else, so long as it is consistent, regular and a nurturing environment. The reasons that SOME mothers argue are ridiculous and it falls into the category of Parental Alienation. The Australian Brotherhood of Fathers are doing some great work in this area to make it fairer for all dads check out their FB page Well done on your persistence. Best wishes.