It’s probably obvious that by the time men approach OnlyDads for support and advice, they are having a bad time of things! I am thinking in particular of men who are struggling to see their children. Many of these men we meet seem to be “stuck in their story” and unable to move forward.
Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs (while it has its critics) offers us an interesting insight into the lives of many men (and women) post divorce and separation.
The top of his pyramid – what Maslow calls “self-actualisation” talks about qualities of “problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts”. Part of the downside of being “stuck in one’s story” is that none of these things seem possible. In particular, the seeming lack of ability at “problem solving” is very apparent with many men I speak to.
“I go round and round” is an expression many will have heard when talking to dads in this situation. A never-ending, always repeating, series of reflections and arguments and counter-arguments that end up with dad being stuck.
Readers of this blog will know that I have never been one to get too excited about the workings of the Family Justice Review. In fact, to put it rather more bluntly, I can’t see it making very much difference to anything. And I say that for a reason.
My belief is that too much time is spent debating the minutiae when really there is a much bigger picture going on. Returning to Maslow’s theory, men and women are only going to reach the nirvana that is self-actualisation with all the bottom building-blocks of life’s pyramid firmly in place: feelings of self-worth, basic things like having the security of a place to live, and friendship…
…but the way many of us men and women in the UK end relationships, results (if I can extend the analogy) with one or both parties taking a bulldozer to those very foundation blocks. It’s no wonder we find too many men and women at breaking point post divorce and separation.
I was talking to Priya (14yo) the other day about her sex and relationship classes in school. All seemed very comprehensive. She has learned about STDs, how to use contraception…but I asked her if anyone has mentioned in any of these classes how to end a relationship. “No, we just dump each other” was a chilling response.
While Michael Gove is looking at aspects of the school curriculum, can I suggest that some form of education on “how to end a relationship while honouring the other” might not be a bad thing…what do you think?