Children missing non-resident parents
Children of separated parents often feel like they don’t see their non-resident parent enough, according to a new survey.
Statistics from the ONS show that there are nearly two million lone-parent families in the UK, a figure which has grown from 1.9 million in 2004. Single parent families now make up 25 percent of all families with dependent children in Britain. Of these families, 91 percent of the children live with their mother and nine percent with their father.
A recent survey carried out by First4lawyers has shown that many children living in lone-parent homes feel they don’t get to see their fathers often enough, if at all.
The survey talked to 2,000 single parents and their children aged 6-16. As many as 90 percent of the children surveyed said they very rarely see their fathers, and 10 percent said they had never even met their fathers.
Of the fathers surveyed, one quarter said they see their children once every few months, in time slots that are usually restricted to less than a full day. Around 27 percent of these dads had weekend access only, and 37 percent had been denied requests for increased access following disputes with the mother.
The same is also true for the nine percent of lone-parent families where the children live with their dads. Half of these children said they see their mothers about once a month, and 72 percent of non-resident mums said they had strict limitations on where they can take their children.
If you’re a non-resident parent and feel like you don’t get enough time with your children, there are a few helpful things you can work on:
- Try to resolve your differences with your ex-partner, using external support like mediation where necessary
- If you can’t resolve differences, try to keep your disputes and conflict away from the children
- Draw up a parenting plan
- Stick to the agreed arrangements, particularly if these have been agreed by the courts
- Use the time you do have together to work on developing a bond with your child
The survey doesn’t reveal the individual stories of the families involved, or how the questions were phrased, so the results won’t necessarily be representative of all families’ experiences. You may like to let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
For more detailed tips on staying involved, read our article on how separated parents can maintain contact.