When there is a crisis

What do you do if there is a crisis?

Sometimes unforeseen things happen that can affect your life as a father. Things like divorce, loss of a loved one or postnatal depression. What these situations have in common is that it’s important to get help to move on.


Divorce is tough in itself, but when children are involved, there are almost always crises and difficulties for everyone. There are a lot of tough decisions to be made and emotions are often running high. It’s important to remember that divorce is often worst for children, so try to see it from their perspective.

If you’re facing a divorce, here are things you can do:

  • Talk to your friends about how they have coped or what they think about you and your situation.
  • Decide how you want to share responsibility for the children.
  • Make sure you get help and advice – preferably both together.

Most parents share custody

It is most common for parents to be granted joint custody today. This means that parents need to agree on the overall structure of their children’s lives.

Who should be the residential parent?

The residential parent is the parent whom the child lives with. The other parent is called the ‘contact parent’. In many divorces, the children are given residence with the mother, while the father then has ‘visitation’ with them. But it’s not set in stone. If the children spend equal time with the father and mother, both can be residential parents.


In the midst of the new situation and being busy with a child, you can lose a loved one. It can start a crisis and make it difficult to be an attentive and committed father.

Losing your own mother or father during this time is often a particularly deepfelt loss because, as a parent, you have had certain ideas about them as grandparents and the relationship they should have had with your child. At the same time, children will also miss the person they have lost if they are old enough to have built a relationship with them.

Share your thoughts

If you have lost someone, it may be a good idea to share your thoughts with someone outside your family. Sometimes, professional counselling may be an option if it is difficult to move on and crisis reactions make it hard to be there for your child.

If you are in crisis:

– Be aware that your reactions to a crisis can affect your child.
– Share your thoughts with others so you're not alone.
– Get help if you need it to move forward.

Postnatal depression

Some men experience postnatal depression. In fact, around 7 to 10 per cent of men who become fathers experience postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start either during pregnancy or after the birth. If you experience any of the symptoms of postnatal depression, talk to your health visitor or doctor about it.

There is a link at the bottom of the page, where you can read more about postnatal depression among fathers.

Other crises

Other events can trigger a crisis, such as losing a job, financial problems, illness, being the victim of a crime or having to move involuntarily. Natural reactions to these events are often an obstacle to taking good care of your child. It is therefore important to share your thoughts with others and get help if you need it.