Research comparatively lacking on divorced fathers

“[W]e don’t focus as much on dads as we do on moms.”

So states a recent article on the research — or, more accurately, the relative dearth of research — that exists on post-divorce dads. As has been noted, data focusing on the lives of fathers following divorce — their mental health, their well-being, their emotions and aspirations — is in comparatively short supply when examined alongside the wealth of studies and research that has centered on women after marital dissolution.

And children. Especially children. As marriage and divorce columnist Vicky Larson notes, much of what has been written about fathers and their children post-divorce focuses mostly, if not almost exclusively, on how the kids are doing. Studies in this area, she says, tend to focus on “how the loss of contact negatively impacts the children.” As for how dads are faring, that seems to be a largely unanswered question; there’s not a lot of readily available material addressing the subject.

Larson references a recently written book on divorced fathers that centers in on an issue that many fathers commonly and understandably face, namely, the sudden loss of regularly occurring positive and reciprocally important contact with their children, who in most cases following divorce live with the mother. Many fathers have only periodic and relatively brief visits with their children, which many of them say is the most difficult thing to adjust to following divorce.

That sudden loss is one of the things that has been well documented in family law research, and it underlies the reason why loving and supportive fathers need to be assertive during divorce proceedings in establishing their desire and need to have continued and close contact with their children.

That contact also redounds to the benefit of the kids. And as Larson notes, dads who are able to maintain persistent and intimate contact with their children have better mental health and self-esteem.

Source: OMG Chronicles, “Is anyone paying attention to divorced dads?” Vicky Larson, June 4, 2013

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