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How Many Single Dads Are There?

By Garry Stuart

Would it surprise you to know there are over 12000 male sole parents in New Zealand who receive Income Support, with nearly 1000 of these in the Canterbury area where I live.

I’m a single parent and I am not counted in these statistics and nor are a few of my friends so it is quite possible that there are at least twice as many as this.

Where are we and what are we doing with ourselves and our children? Are there lots of small groups of fathers out there that we don’t know about? Are mothers groups welcoming us with open arms? Do we want groups at all?

I have spoken with many fathers and generally we don’t need much specific advice or support, just the knowing that we are not doing it on our own, having another father in a similar situation to talk to, have a beer with or just to chat on the phone a bit, can make things seem normal.

Please don’t get me wrong as a lot of the social isolation we as single fathers feel is the same as what a single mother feels the main difference is that at first glance a man is not assumed to be doing the role.

I’ve had all the comments, ‘your turn to look after the baby today?’, ‘wife sick is she?’, I still always politely reply that I’m a single parent and that there are more of us than you think. I just didn’t think there were so many.

So if any of you are having any of the hassles and worries that we’ve had to go through in order to do the right thing for our children then take solace that we understand where you’re at and what you’re trying to do, especially if you are involved with Family Court matters.

Our groups members come from all walks of life but we all have the same objective, we want to do the best job we can at raising our children, so please contact us if you need some advice, wish to help us in any way or just want a chat.

Next: Long Distance Fathering

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