-Warshak journal

Spread the word about these important articles

I’m delighted that my article about fathers and overnight care is receiving such public attention.  Over 1100 people have recommended the article on The Age website and I am being swamped with letters from fathers who are hopeful it might bring about some change in the current misguided policy. Here’s the article, for anyone who missed it: www.theage.com.au/national/empty-days-lonely-nights-20140428-37e3e.html

Unfortunately we were forced to delete the story of the father which originally headed up this article due to legal threats – despite there being no legal reason for doing so.

I’ve also been involved in many discussions on radio which have highlighted how grossly unfair it has been that fathers are now expected to be totally involved in the care of their infant children from birth onwards, sharing the nurturing, changing nappies, pushing the prams, doing night feeds when possible. Their fatherly devotion and competency is constantly celebrated. Yet if the relationship with the mother ends, she’s entitled to shove the man right out of the lives of his children, leaving him grovelling to achieve a few hours in their presence.

Overnight care is so rarely given to fathers of these young children whilst children regularly spend nights with all sorts of other people in their lives – grandmothers, other relatives, babysitters and so on. The policy has simply never made sense. It’s appalling it has taken so long to be challenged.

It’s important now that the two academic papers which led to the current review of this policy are widely circulated. The first is a consensus statement endorsed by 110 leading international experts – Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A consensus report – which was published in February in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology, Public Policy and Law.  

This article, written by Richard Warshak, analyses existing research and finds that infants commonly develop attachment relationships with more than one caregiver and concludes that in normal circumstances children are likely to do better if they have overnight contact with both parents and that depriving young children of the opportunity to stay overnight with their fathers could compromise the quality of developing father-child relationships.

Here’s the link to the Warshak article

The same journal has also published a fascinating article by Linda Nielsen: Woozles: Their Role in Custody Law Reform, Parenting Plans and Family Court – an article about how social science research can be used to distort public policy.  Linda Nielsen is a psychology professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Her article is extremely critical of Australian research which influenced overnight policy of pre-schoolers in the family court system not only in Australia but across the world.

Here’s the Nielsen article

I’d strongly recommend you read both these articles and circulate them widely.

8 Responses to Spread the word about these important articles

  1. Tim May 6, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    Funny how you say you have 1100 people recommending the article, yet no comments here. If there was no legal reason to remove that section it would never have been removed.
    What you are frightfully unaware of is that some mothers leave a relationship because of a high potential of something very bad happening to child and or mother.
    Your one sided view would be quite comical if it weren’t so serious.
    At what point do you think that a father or mother is not fit to have access to the child?

    • Bettina May 6, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Tim, You clearly haven’t looked at the article on The Age website where it now shows that over 1200 people have recommended it. There are very few comments on this site because most people are viewing it directly on The Age site. It is also being recommended on websites across the world – hence the continual traffic. Of course I realize there are good reasons for women to leave dangerous relationships. There certainly are situations where fathers are not fit to care for their children just as there are mothers who sometimes are unable to provide that care. The reason I wrote the article is that policies that have been in place are so ‘one-sided,’ enabling so many mothers to deny overnight care of children even to the most competent and caring of fathers. When parents disagree about sharing the care of children after divorce, decisions must be made which take account of the capacity of both parents to provide proper parenting. But the distorted policies that resulted from the Melbourne research have prevented that from happening and that is a real scandal.

  2. Adam May 8, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Good on you Bettina! You have become a voice for all the children and fathers out there who have been the victim of one sided policies used by the courts. People like Tim (above) obviously speak from ignorance and need to come go speak to fathers who have been going through the process. When a relationship ends the fathers normally have two choices; accept they may never get to see their children again, or pay 10’s of thousands of dollars just to get a few hours a week with their child. It is certainly unfair and one sided and the silent victims in all of this are the children who have their dads taken away. A child does not know why he/she is all of a sudden not allowed to see dad.

  3. Adam January 27, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

    Gaining momentum!!

  4. chris January 31, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    This father children thing is just a tool, it’s a vary large cash cow, they say child, parental alienation is a serious form of child abuse..but that’s as far as it goes.another form of poss squeezing more money out..usually by then the father has either given up or topped him self..myself I actually have to live in financial hardship till the day I die because I’m a dad.and alienating the children is a form of financial gain for the other..The systems thrive and allow it to happen..dad’s guilty till proven innocent.

  5. Graeme Sutton January 31, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    My understanding is that the author of at least one of these articles has recently basically said that she never implied that her work never intended to stop fathers having young kids overnight and that certain people had twisted her findings to this end. Is this true?

    • Bettina January 31, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

      I suggest you read my blog – “Spread the word about these important articles” which spells out the truth about this woman’s activities. She desperately tried to stop me publishing my article and ever since has been twisting the truth about her role in preventing so many fathers having proper contact with young children after divorce. It is appalling she continues to get away with it.

  6. Rob Lowe February 9, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    Graeme it doesnt help reading and re-reading the original McIntosh “research”. There is a term called being “McIntoshed” in the family court system – for good reason, this “flawed” research is used to justify little contact/ and or no overnights with the father where kids are used as weapons after a separation…
    The bottom line is that whatever the report said , it makes no difference – the nett affect is to limit or remove a loving father from these childs lives. The report would have been analysed and picked apart by numerous legal people to further their clients agenda. It would have been tested in court many times.
    And the children, as always, are the victims.