Motivation and emotion/Book/2016/Parent relocation after separation motivation

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Parent relocation after separation motivation:
What motivates a parent to relocate after separation?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Relocation is a vexing family law matter that involves two competing and irreconcilable claims of right (Chisholm, 2002). The two competing claims are the right to relocate as a parent (including their right to freedom of movement) and the right to see their children.

Disputes arise when the primary carer of the child wants to move away from the other parent. The issue is vexing as young children need frequent contact to promote a healthy attachment with the other parent (Kelly & Lamb, 2003).

Motivational theories seek to explain behaviour. The theories attempt to describe an individual’s actions and needs, including the desire to repeat or cease behaving in a particular way (Elliot & Covington, 2001).

This chapter attempts to describe how motivational theories apply to a parent's decision to relocate.

Case study

Belinda is a mother of three, Rechelle, Danielle and Cherelle. Brant is the father. Belinda and Brant separated shortly after the youngest, Cherelle was born. Belinda and Brant met in Canberra. The children were raised in Canberra and had plenty of friends there. However, Belinda felt that she did not know anyone in Canberra anymore. After Brant and Belinda separated, their mutual friends mostly sided with Brant and few still remained in touch with Belinda. Belinda's close family were located in Orange. Belinda started to feel sad that she did not have many friends in Canberra anymore. Belinda took to online dating. Belinda started to talk to a young man online. He lived in Orange. Belinda kept dreaming that one day she would move to Orange to be closer to her family and be with her new found love. Without telling Brant, Belinda and the three children relocated to Orange to live the new life that Belinda had been dreaming of. Unfortunately for Brant, Orange was over three hours drive away from Canberra.

Definitions[edit | edit source]

Relocation, in a family dispute context, is not easily or clearly defined. The Family Law Council in 2006 considered that the definitional ambit of relocation must concern the ease and cost of travel. The distance of the relocation is not a helpful definitive definition in the Australian context. As the Family Law Council pointed out, a move from Canberra to Griffith and from Canberra to Sydney is roughly the same distance. However, ease and cost of travel is significantly higher when commuting to Griffith compared to Sydney.

However, put simply, moving away with your child(ren) to another location that makes it difficult or limits your child’s time with the non-residential parent is termed ‘relocation’.

To be motivated means to be stimulated to do something. An individual can be motivated to do various things, such as going to work or climbing a mountain (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Motivation can be measured on a sliding scale, where every individual falls within the parameters of highly motivated to little or no motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

Motivation[edit | edit source]

The assist in understanding motivation, many theories work together to complete the puzzle. An approach taken to understand motivation may be through the lenses of incentive theories. Incentive theories include intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation[edit | edit source]

Intrinsic motives are non-conscious dispositions (McClelland, 1980). The motives are stable and enduring. They involve learnt, social desires and goals which act as incentives (Schultheiss, 2008).

Intrinsic motivation is driven by an interest or pure enjoyment in the task itself. The desire lies within the individual rather that external pressures to make decision. For example, many online games are considered intrinsically motivated behaviours. These include online dating, online shopping, and general gaming (Lowry, Gaskin, Twyman, Hammer & Roberts, 2013).

Intrinsic motivation is a natural tendency. Studies involving animals have shown that they exhibit playful curiosity, without any rewards (external motivation) (Richard & Deci, 2000). Intrinsic motivation is a focus on the subject rather than the rewards or punishments. Therefore,[grammar?] behaviours are long lasting and self-sustaining (Richard & Deci, 2000).

Extrinsic Motivation[edit | edit source]

Extrinsic motivation is motivation that is driven by external rewards. The rewards may be anything of value, from money to praise. Extrinsic motives can be broken down into four categories, external regulation, introjection, identification and integration (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

Extrinsic motivation is typically used to attain outcomes that an individual wouldn't get from intrinsic motivation. Therefore,[grammar?] maintaining persistence is more difficult for this type of motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

An example of an extrinsic motivation is competition. People are motivated to beat others. The individual does not merely enjoy engaging in the leisure of the activity (intrinsic motivation).

Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation[edit | edit source]

When an individuals[grammar?] intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are aligned, they are striving consciously and non-consciously toward the same goals. Aligned incentive motivation is beneficial for an individual's well-being (Baumann, Kaschel & Kuhl, 2005; Brunstien & Maier, 2005; Hofer & Chasiotis, 2003; Hofer, Chasiotis & Campos, 2006). Conversely, when the two motives are incongruent, tension forms and the individual may experience emotional distress (Pueschel, Schulte & Michalak, 2011).

Why are Individuals Relocating?[edit | edit source]

Since the 1980s, there has been an increase in cohabitation outside of marriage, an increase in international and domestic mobility and a generational shift in dating patterns. The three factors combined generate an increased inclination to relocate (Kaspiew, Brehens, & Smyth, 2011).

Cohabitation[edit | edit source]

Since the 1980s, the living patterns of families have transformed significantly. More couples are cohabiting,[grammar?] in Australia the proportion of couples that cohabit increased from 6% in 1986 to 15% in 2006 (Qu & Weston, 2008). More couples are having children out of wedlock, in the United States 58% of births were to unmarried parents between 2006 to 2010 compared to 5% in 1950 or even 32% in 1995 (Kennedy & Bumpass, 2008). Furthermore, cohabiting couples are more likely to break up, Statistics indicate that 29% of cohabiting couples break up within the first two years compared with 9% of married couples (Qu & Weston, 2008; Bumpass & Sweet, 1989).

The change in the composition of families leads to an increase in relationship breakdowns (Bensen, H, 2013). The increase of relationship breakdowns is a contributing factor towards the increase in the amount of relocation applications generally (Parkinson, Cashmore & Single, 2010).

Mobility[edit | edit source]

More people are traveling to find their home or return home. With an increase in people living in Australia that[grammar?] are born overseas from 10% in 1947 to 24% in 2000, more people may be geographically inclined to move back to their home country. Research into why people relocate indicated that one third of participants moved to be closer to family support (Kaspiew, Brehens, & Smyth, 2011).

Dating Patterns[edit | edit source]

People are shifting away from traditional dating patterns towards cyber dating. Statistics indicate that 23% of online daters{{explain]] have met their current partner online (Smith & Duggan, 2013). The increase in online dating leads to opportunity to find a partner anywhere around the world. In 2005, 43% of online daters were willing to meet the person they have met online, this increased to 66% in 2013. Furthermore, Kaspiew, Behrens and Smyth’s research in 2011 indicated that close to one third of participants wanted to relocate to be with a new partner.

Impact on Children[edit | edit source]

There is probative evidence to suggest children develop significantly during their childhood into young adulthood (Tyler, Allison & Winsler, 2006). Research indicates that children are better equipped going into adulthood with positive, consistent contact with both parents (Ryan, Martin & Brooks-Gunn, 2006).

A child’s quality of relationship with either parent is related to various qualities of health (Videon, 2005). Equally, inadequate parenting may be detrimental to a child’s health and development (Leinonen, Solantaus & Punamaki, 2002). A history of abuse is significantly related to poorer mental health (Tyler, 2002) and detrimental to normative development (Tyler, et al., 2006).

When a child is forced to relocate, their sense of security and stability is undermined (Gindes, 1998). Children who experience psychological or academic problems prior to relocation, experience an increased difficulty in the same areas after relocation (Medway, 1995, p977). However, the adjustment the child makes following the relocation is subject to the ease of transition (Kurtz, 1995).

Legal Frameworks[edit | edit source]

There is a large amount of indeterminacy that permeates judicial decision-making in family law matters[factual?]. The uncertainty is intensified by the large discretion afforded to decision-makers, coupled with the private nature of family law disputes (Parker & Drahos, 1990).

Currently, there is no express provision [where?] governing relocation disputes (Rathas, 2008). Principles developed in case law must therefore guide decision-makers decisions. Case law is only binding on courts[grammar?] subservient or equal to the court making the finding (Mason, 1988). Instead, many commentators and researchers have pieced together what is usually considered when determining a relocation matter (Maloney, 2009).

Motivation Theories and Relocation[edit | edit source]

Motivational theories such as implicit and explicit motivations may assist in explaining and understanding an individual’s inclination to relocate. While no research has been conducted to link motivational theories to motivation to relocate, it can be interpreted through the lenses of incentive theories.

Current research lends that an individual may be inclined to move to be closer to a new partner, closer to family support or even to take up a job opportunity (Kaspiew, Brehens, & Smyth, 2011).

Further, there is research that indicates individuals are intrinsically motivated when they are mature and have a strong sense of self. This occurs when the individual is no longer going with the flow and is doing something because they want to (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

A parent, such as Belinda listed in the Case Study, may be inclined to move to Orange because its convenient, she’s closer to family support and she has a new love interest. It is likely Melinda is intrinsically motivated because she is relocating for personal growth and she is anticipating pleasure from the move.

This is comparable to extrinsic motivation to relocate. The desire to move is built on rewards such as family assistance and a love interest. However, its not the rewards themselves that drive Melinda to move, its because she anticipates getting pleasure out of the relocation, denoting an intrinsic reward (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

Limitations[edit | edit source]

A relationship is dissoluble, however parenthood is not. A parent's decision to relocate affects each person around them. There is little to no research about what motivates parents to relocate. The missing piece of the puzzle is a comprehensive, researched link between the motivational theories and relocation.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

What motivates parents to relocate? There is no research-based answer to the question. However, there is a growing trend towards relocation (Kaspiew, Brehens, & Smyth, 2011). There has been an increase in cohabitation outside of marriage, an increase in international and domestic mobility and a generational shift in dating patterns. The three factors combined are indicative of why research in the area needs to be conducted.

Whilst little is known about what motivational theories can explain a motivation to relocate, it appears that intrinsic motivations may assist in explaining the behaviour. 

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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