The global financial crisis might be looking up but for many UK households the strain of recession is still felt and impacting on the daily lives and future plans of many British families. Researchers from Cardiff University have examined how the financial crisis has affected new or prospective fathers in particular, and findings show that a large proportion of the fathers involved in the study appeared to be particularly anxious about money and ability to care for their new family.
This is perhaps not surprising, as expanding the brood necessitates more money and greater resources, even at the best of times. However, the global financial crisis has had very tangible consequences for many families who have had to limit their family expansion to just one child, given financial constraints. According to psychologist, Dr. Karen Henwood, men often see themselves as having the primary responsibility of providing financially for their families, even in instances where their partner earns the same amount or more. New fathers who feel this level of responsibility are naturally under a lot of stress and pressure to provide materially for their child. Yet as many new fathers are required to work longer hours, they inadvertently fail to give their child the most valuable gift of all; the gift of time.
This situation is concerning for a number of reasons. The necessity of fathers working longer hours and spending more time away from the home suggests a step backwards for shared parenting, and the long term psychological impact of this on both father and child remains to be seen. In addition, the stress felt by many new fathers is detrimental to their well being and quality of life. Prolonged stress can potentially lead to a number of other mental health issues and at Life Works we often see how stress can lead to unhealthy coping strategies and depression. Those in recovery are particularly vulnerable to prolonged periods of stress and stress is highly likely to jeopardize sobriety. Whether addiction and recovery is part of your life, it is helpful to view stress a way for our body to communicate a need for us to slow down. While a poor economic climate is difficult to alter singlehandedly, what we can change is how we think about this situation, which in turn impacts on how we feel and what we do about it. Stress often arise in response to thoughts about the future. Rarely are there any problems in this very moment. And one thing that children can teach us is the ability to be present in every moment and to enjoy the now. The simplest truisms are often the most powerful, - and undoubtedly the most difficult to honour. However, the price of not only being physically absent but equally absent minded in the presence of our children is perhaps the greatest tragedy.