Schooldays – Best Days of Your Life: Unless Your Parents are Separated and School is just another Battleground.

 

There are 365 days in a year.

Duh! I hear you say – so what?

Well, for most children in Ireland they are required to spend a minimum of 183 days attending school if in primary school (approx. 5/6 years old to approx. 11/12 years old) and 167 days attending school if in secondary or post-primary. (11/12 years old to 17/18 years old)

“Although children are not obliged to attend school until the age of six, almost all children begin school in the September following their fourth birthday. Nearly 40% of four-year-old’s and almost all five-year-old’s are enrolled in infant classes in primary schools (sometimes called national schools). Primary education consists of an eight year cycle: junior infants, senior infants, and first to sixth classes. Pupils normally transfer to post-primary education at the age of twelve.” [1]

Summer Holidays

Schools are required to be open for a minimum of 167 days at post-primary level and 183 days at primary level. School summer holidays are not standardised and schools may use discretionary days to determine the precise start and end of the school year.”

Standardisation of the School Year in respect of Primary & Post-Primary Schools for the years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20.  [2]

(emphasis added)

“Schools will normally re-open during the week in which 1st September falls. However, the school year may start in the week prior to that in which 1st September falls if this is necessary in order to meet the overall requirement of a minimum of 167 days at post-primary level or 183 days at primary level.

You should check the exact dates with your school.

Easter, Christmas and Mid-term Breaks

The standard breaks at Christmas, Easter and Mid-term in the first and second terms for the 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 school years are available under Standardisation of the School Year in respect of Primary & Post-Primary Schools for the years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20,”

In other words, children from the age of about 5 years old to 12 years old spend about 50 % of the year in school – generally from about 8.45 am – 3.00 pm.

From about 12 years old to about 17 years old they spend a little less time in school – about 48%

What is the point here?

Well one of the issues facing fathers separated from their children is when they seek to obtain information about their children from their children’s schools – when they seek to exercise their rights as parents and as Legal Guardians of their children. In some cases, difficulties finding out which school their children have been enrolled in. As many fathers will know, its an old trick to yank your children out of their schools and enroll them, without your knowledge or CONSENT in another school to frustrate, disrupt, impede and prevent you, as a father, having a meaningful parental relationship with your child or children.

List of schools in Ireland [3]

A two-fold problem contributes to what can only be described as the intransigence and obstructiveness of the schools (teachers and principals) and a discriminatory attitude to these fathers, with this negative attitude being initially initiated by the mother and then endorsed by the school. This whole toxic attitude towards fathers being fed by a societal and cultural attitude that fathers don’t matter, fathers are NOT “real” parents, and fathers are to all extents and purposes “nuisances” Fathers don’t have rights, even when their own National Organisation INTO tells them otherwise. [4]

“Q. In a situation where parents are separated/divorced are both parents entitled to receive school reports and attend parent teacher meetings?

A. Each parent has a right to be informed of and to attend parent teacher meetings and to receive school reports unless there is a Court Order in place preventing them from doing so. Teachers should attempt to facilitate separate meetings if both parents cannot attend together, and should generally act in a fair and even-handed way in respect of both parents.”

The fact that the question is even asked indicates the mind-set – does it not?

The second overlapping problem is simple – too many schools do NOT believe that they are obliged to recognize the LAWFUL status of fathers as parents and Joint Legal Guardians of their children. Well one father decided enough was enough and took a case to the Equality Tribunal – and won. [5] and [6]

“The complainant had referred a complaint to the Equality Tribunal as outlined above in respect of the enrollment of his daughter in the school and this case was subsequently withdrawn following mediation. The complainant submits that he was victimised following the referral. I note that the Principal informed Ms. A of this complaint and showed her the documentation. It is my view that the Principals actions served no useful purpose other than to cause friction between the parents and to portray the complainant in a negative way. I am satisfied that this treatment together with the treatment in relation to the sports day and the subsequent request for the Court Orders constituted victimisation within the meaning of the above cited section. I am satisfied that the complainant has established a prima facie case of victimisation.”

(emphasis added)

I strongly suggest you read the judgement, what emerges is evidence of a toxic school environment created, engineered, sustained and fed by the collusion of teachers (mostly female) with alienating mothers.

Another problem identified with regard to boys and schools is that the vast majority of teachers are female – see [7] and [8]

In Ireland, we have the same skewed demographic in our schools. From:

Press Release Women and Men in Ireland 2013: Irish women are more highly qualified and work fewer hours. [9]

Economic sectors: Over a third of women at work in Ireland in 2012 were working in the health and education sectors. Women accounted for four out of five employees in the health sector and three-quarters of those at work in education. The sectors with the highest proportions of men in 2012 were construction, agriculture and transport. In primary education 85% of teachers are female while 68% are female at second-level. However women are not well represented at senior levels: 44% of primary school managers, 41% of second-level school managers and 37% of medical and dental consultants are women. (Tables 2.7, 4.7, 4.8 and 5.14).”

As you can clearly see, in both primary and secondary school’s female teachers outnumber male teachers to the extent that the percentage of male teachers isn’t even worth calculating.

Naturally enough a sideways swipe at gender equality “issues” is included – almost by default. Sigh.

“…….However women are not well represented at senior levels: 44% of primary school managers, 41% of second-level school managers……”

Ye Gods – don’t know about you but am sick to death of this shoite – boo hoo wimmin don’t get the big jobs – sniffle, whine and sob – “I’m not the boss because………………….men are mean”

First, and using the bloody CSO’s own figures – 44% of women are school managers! Eh hello – while not exactly being a math’s genius, even I can see that 44% is only 6% LESS than 50%. In effect, almost PARITY. Almost HALF.

Second – 41%! Pluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuze – again – if it was a meagerly 12% or even say 23% there might – and I mean MIGHT be some cause for a few questions – but 41% – grow up!

What is almost ironic is that contained in the same press release is the REASON for this miniscule disparity

“Irish women are more likely to have a third-level qualification than men. More than half of women aged between 25 and 35 have a third-level qualification compared with just over four out of ten men, according to the report Women and Men in Ireland 2013, published by the CSO today. Men work longer hours than women in paid employment.

Irish women, along with women from France, have the joint highest fertility rate in the EU. Boys are more likely to leave school early. Men have a higher rate of employment but also a higher rate of unemployment. Men are more likely to be in the labour force and those looking after home/family are overwhelmingly female. Most workers in the Health and Education sectors are women while most workers in Agriculture, Construction and Transport are men. Most murder victims are male and the vast majority of the prison population is male. Ireland is the ninth highest among EU27 countries for gender equality.

Employment: The employment rate for men in Ireland stood at about 76% in recent years but in 2009 it dropped sharply to 66.8% and continued to decrease over the next three years to reach 62.4% by 2012. However in 2013 there was an increase in the male employment rate to 64.6% followed by another rise in 2014 to 65.7%. The female employment rate reached 60.6% in 2007 before dropping to 57.6% in 2009 and it continued to decrease over the next three years to stand at 55.2% by 2012. The last 2 years have seen a small rise in the female employment rate to 55.9% in 2014.

Men worked an average of 39.2 hours a week in paid employment in 2013 compared to 31.2 hours for women and married men worked longer hours than married women, with close to half of married men (44.1%) working for 40 hours a week or more compared to just 16.8% of married women. (Tables 2.1, 2.8 and 2.9).

Unemployment: The unemployment rate for men in Ireland was about 5% in recent years but in 2009 it increased dramatically to 15.3%, followed by further rises over the following three years to reach 18.1% by 2012. There was a drop in the male unemployment rate in 2013 to 15.9% and another decrease in 2014 to 13.8%. The female unemployment rate, which stood at about 4% in recent years, also increased strongly to 8.3% in 2009 and continued to rise over the next four years to reach 11.4% in 2013. However the female rate of unemployment decreased in 2014 to 9.9%. The younger age groups have been most affected by unemployment, with approximately three out of ten men and two out of ten women aged 20-24 unemployed in 2013. (Tables 2.11 and 2.12).”

(emphasis added)

My general default response to whiny females complaining about not being the top dog in whatever area of employment is this – STFU – if you want to be in charge, for example, the Taoiseach, The President, whatever – here’s how you do it:

MORE PEOPLE HAVE TO VOTE FOR YOU THAN THE OTHER CANDIDATES!

If they DON’T vote for you then the reason is simple – THEY DON’T WANT TO! GOT IT? GOOD – now STFU.

Anyhoo – moving on.

So, what to do if the school your child(ren) is enrolled in is run by a gate-keeping dragon?

First, while it is reprehensible that a parent, simply because that parent is male has to prove to these witches that he IS a parent, do it.

Step 1. Get your child(rens) birth certificates. If you are or were legally married to the mother of your child(ren) get your marriage certificate as well. Having these is incontrovertible PROOF that you are, Constitutionally and Statutorily your child(ren) Joint Legal Guardian. [10]

Step 2. If you were not married to the mother of your child(ren) the situation is more complex unless you have an Order of the Court grating you Guardianship. [11]

Step 3. Print off a copy of Schools and family law: In Touch January/ February 2004. [4]

Formally write to the school, enclosing copies of the above (do not send them the original of the certs) and request that you be directly supplied with all reports etc with regard to your children. Give them the standard 14 days to comply.

Step 4. I strongly suggest, that you only include a copy of A Father v. A School (represented by Hugh J. Campbell & Co.) File Reference: ES/2013/092. [5] if the school digs its heels in and starts being obstructive.  There should be absolutely no need for you as a parent to be expected to junp through hoops to “prove” anything – nor should you as a parent be put in a position where you have to grovel  or repeatedly ask for information to which you are lawfully entitled to with regard to your own children.

For those you are now up in arms about fathers “threatening schools with legal action” I suggest you read the judgement, and take on board this:

How do think most fathers get to be excised out their children’s lives? Because the mothers of these children TAKE LEGAL ACTION to ensure that this is what happens.

If the same amount of time, money and energy was expended on reaching a Shared Parenting Agreement as is spent on this toxic exercise then these statistics would not be the norm:

The solution is SHARED PARENTING. [12]

“Shared Parenting

Is there a country with a working and effective model of Shared Parenting? Yes – Shared Parenting works so amazingly well in Sweden:

Here are some details from a presentation by Malin Bergström from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Malin’s powerful presentation showed how Sweden has, in the space of just 20 years, transformed the landscape for shared parenting. She reported that:

approximately 40% of separated parents share care 50:50, higher amongst younger children

the majority have shared care arrangements where each parent has at least 30% of parenting time

shared parenting arrangements continue to grow strongly year-in-year-out

14% of family disputes are resolved  through mediation and above all…

just 2% were resolved through courts!

Her presentation also demonstrated the considerable health benefits to children of Joint Parental Care arrangements.

Her comment on the day was “If one of my friends did not share parenting equally after separation, I would find that weird.”

How quickly can we or rather the more ponderous UK government get there? We live in hope, but the writing may be on the wall.”

Does shared parenting positively affect children? Yes.

There is a wealth of expert literature which repeatedly demonstrates that shared parenting benefits children in a huge variety of ways:

  • ‘…children in joint custody are better adjusted, across multiple types of measures [including emotionally and behaviourally], than children in sole (primarily maternal) custody.’ (Bauserman, 2002)
  • Joint legal custody is not a requirement to achieve better adjustment, but children need to spend a ‘substantial’ amount of time with their non-resident parent. (Bauserman, 2002)
  • Children with non-resident fathers highly involved in their lives have lower levels of delinquent behaviour as adolescents. (Coley & Medieros, 2007)
  • “Children in separated families fare best when they have close contact with each of their parents and all the important adults in their lives, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and family friends. And co-parenting by both mother and father should be the norm, except when issues of safety are involved.” (Layard & Dunn, 2009)
  • “On average, children are less likely to fail at school or suffer depression the more they see their separated father.” (Layard & Dunn, 2009)
  • Children who spend nights at their father’s and mother’s houses have ‘few social problems’ and ‘fewer attention… and thought problems.’ (Pruett et al, 2004)

Bauserman, R. (2002). Child Adjustment in Joint-Custody Versus Sole-Custody Arrangements: A Meta-Analytic Review.  Journal of Family Psychology. 16(1): 91-102.

Coley, R. & Medieros, B. (2007). Reciprocal Longitudinal Relations Between Nonresident Father Involvement and Adolescent Delinquency. Child Development. 78(1): 132-147.

Layard, R. & Dunn, J. (2009). A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age. London: Penguin Books.

Pruett, K., Ebling, R. & Insabella, G. (2004).  Critical Aspects of Parenting Plans for Young Children. Family Court Review, 42(1): 39–59.

Are fathers just as important as mothers in a child’s life? Yes.

“Fathers are no less important than mothers in a child’s life. The closeness of fathers to their children influences the children’s later psychological well-being, even after allowing for the mother’s influence. If fathers are more closely involved with their children, other things being equal, children develop better friendships, more empathy, high self-esteem, better life satisfaction, and higher educational achievement, and they are less likely to  become involved with crime or substance abuse.”

Layard, R. & Dunn, J. (2009). A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age. London: Penguin Books.

From the Families Need Fathers website at https://fnf.org.uk/

NB I edited the text slightly without changing the content.

See this by Richard Warshak [13]

“To assess where science stands on the issue of shared parenting and overnights for young children, I spent two years reviewing the relevant scientific literature and vetting my analyses with an international group of experts. This work, published in an American Psychological Association journal, was endorsed by 110 leading researchers and practitioners.

Here are the two main conclusions: First, shared parenting should be the norm not just for children whose parents live together, and not just for older children, but also for children of all ages whose parents live apart from each other. Children need a father, not an uncle-daddy. Second, if we want to give children the best chance for normal relationships with their fathers, limiting fathering time to daytime hours until children enter kindergarten is not the way to do that.

To be sure, shared parenting is not for all families after divorce. But there’s a general consensus that it is good for many of them.

If we value dad soothing his fretful baby at 3 a.m. or reading “Goodnight Moon” to his toddler while the parents are living together, why deprive the child of these expressions of fatherly love just because the parents no longer live together, or just because the sun has set?

Richard A. Warshak, PhD, is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the author of “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report” and “Divorce Poison: How To Protect Your Family From Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing.”

(emphasis added)

One of the objections to enforcing Shared Parenting as the default presumption is logistical – the “moving children back and forth” argument.

Actually, ALL of the current, legitimate and properly conducted research absolutely endorses Shared Parenting in situations where the parents don’t live together – in effect – a Shared Parenting arrangement IS – In the best interests of the child, which is the mandatorily required consideration to be applied in custody cases:

See Children and Family Relationships Act, 2015 Part V “Best Interests of the Child [14]

63. The Act of 1964 is amended by the insertion of the following after Part IV:

“Part V: Best interests of the Child: Determination by court of best interests of child.

Section 31 (j)

“(j) the willingness and ability of each of the child’s parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent, and to maintain and foster relationships between the child and his or her relatives;”

(emphasis added)

I have emboldened the most important words – bearing in mind this – these words are not aspirational, not subject to whether or not the obstructive parent is “in the mood” to co-parent. These words form part of a LEGAL requirement to be WILLING – and by your behavior and actions to FACILITATE and ENCOURAGE.

So, manufacturing conflict, creating “access” (I hate that word) difficulties, being intransigent, unco-operative, attempting to sabotage, damage or disrupt the other parents “close and continuing relationship” with his child (ren) is something the Court is OBLIGED under the statute take into consideration.

All this broo ha ha about “moving children back and forth” is a smokescreen, a cynical exercise in parental obstruction.  Any reasonable parent, who recognizes that children need both parents as parents can cut the crap, stop creating unnecessary difficulties and make it work – FOR THE CHILDREN.  It’s the attitude of these gate-keeping toxic mothers that is the problem, nothing else.

Let’s go back to the school calendar at the beginning:

Print out a calendar – make out the weeks when the children are in school, mark out the holiday periods and any other special days and sit down like two grown-ups and work out how to share the time as equally as possible between you.

If she’s being a total bitch – do it yourself and present the Shared Parenting Schedule to the Court.

What tends to work the best is one week with one parent, one week with another – if the parents live in reasonable close proximity to one another.

This shoite about kids missing out on friends etc. – this is the 21st century – kids make friends in school – then make arrangements for “playdates” in one another houses. Usually one parent picks the little rug-rats up, brings them home, they go mental for a few hours then their respective parents come pick them up.  Then the host parent has a small nervous break-down.

Or kids go to various activities – usually after school – where they have another group of friends – after this activity the kid is picked up by the parent and home we go.

What the hell is the big deal? What bloody difference does it make if one or the other parent brings the kids to dancing, to football, to whatever it is the child is involved in.

Because here’s the thing – when two parents are together, what happens is this – they each take turns bringing the kids to their activities i.e. you bring them to the swimming pool on Wednesday and I’ll bring them to the football match on Saturday.

Or, little Michael and Michelle need to go to the dentist on Friday after school, I have to go do something so you pick them up and bring them.

NOT A BIG DEAL – is it?

It only becomes a big deal when one parent is determined to excise another parent from his child’s life – then all these normal everyday parent/child things becomes a HUGE deal.

The ONLY reason for creating a big hoo hah over this (bearing in mind the child gets to go to his/her activity and gets to go on playdates with his/her schoolfriends) is the ridiculous need of one parent to “be in charge” of EVERYTHING including removing any possibility of a father having a normal boring day to day parent child relationship – dentist, swimming, football, homework, pizza in front of the TV (only on Fridays 😉) brush your teeth, do your homework, pick up your toys, stop picking on your younger brother, what do mean you need an octopus costume for school TOMORROW – usually announced at bed-time. Normal. Parent. Stuff.

So, working out the “logistics” is bloody straightforward – if you click on the Standardisation of the School Year in respect of Primary & Post-Primary Schools for the years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 link up above, you’ll note that the school calendar is more or less set till 2020!

You know when the all holidays are for the NEXT THREE YEARS! You know when your kids are in school for the NEXT THREE YEARS.

Summer – 8 weeks – 4 weeks each – options are multiple. 4 straight weeks each. 2 weeks with one parent, 2 weeks with the other parent in any bloody combination that suits both the parents and the children’s summer activities. WORK IT OUT.

Easter – two weeks – simples – one week each.

Mid- term breaks – share them.

Christmas – kids get about 2 weeks holiday – the significant days are, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephens Day. (Boxing Day in the UK)

Simples –

Year 1 Christmas Eve from 5pm to Christmas day at 3pm.  Parent 1

Christmas Day from 3pm to St Stephens Day at 3pm. Parent 2

Year 2 just bloody swap it around – work out the rest of the holiday REASONABLY.

Shared Parenting is not only workable it is essential – FOR CHILDREN.

MAKE IT WORK.

 

Personal message to women creating conflict and difficulties.

Get over yourselves – stop being a selfish self-centered bitch and put your children FIRST!

To the friends, besties, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and anyone who knows one of these bitches – shame on you if you are standing by and letting this wretch destroy the lives of these children.

Do something, say something.

 

If any fathers out there would like to share (or publish) their stories, feel free to contact me – I moderate all comments, so just post a comment with a valid email address and we’ll take it from there. If you don’t want your comment published, just say so and I will respect your wishes.

I’m particularly interested in hearing about father’s negative experiences with solicitors practicing in Family Law – one of the things that I would like to highlight is the lack of familiarity certain Family Law Practitioners seem to have with the provisions of the Code of Conduct in Family Law Matters [15]

Or the requirements of Order 59 of the Circuit Court Rules. [16]

 

 

Slainte.

 

 

References

 

[1]  https://www.education.ie/en/The-Education-System/Primary/

[2] https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0009_2017.pdf

[3] List of Schools in Ireland

https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/Data-on-Individual-Schools/Data-on-Individual-Schools.html

[4] Schools and family law: In Touch January/ February 2004

http://www.into.ie/ROI/InfoforTeachers/ParentTeacherRelations/ParentalSeparation/FamilyLawArticle.pdf

[5] DEC-S2014-018:Equal Status Acts 2000-2012

A Father v. A School (represented by Hugh J. Campbell & Co.) File Reference: ES/2013/092

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/Cases/2014/October/DEC-S2014-018.html

[6] http://www.thejournal.ie/equality-tribunal-school-discrimination-separated-father-2396939-Oct2015/

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8DDbE4I8Ig

[8] https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/eliminating-feminist-teacher-bias-erases-boys-falling-grades-study-finds

[9]http://www.cso.ie/en/csolatestnews/pressreleases/2014pressreleases/pressreleasewomenandmeninireland2013/

[10] https://www.birthsdeathsmarriages.ie/certificates/birth-certificate/

[11]http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/birth_family_relationships/married_couples/guardianship_status_of_fathers.html

[12] https://fnf.org.uk/publications/shared-parenting-research

[13] https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/26/divorce-shared-parenting-children-health/

[14] http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2015/act/9/section/63/enacted/en/html

[15] Code of Conduct: Family Law in Ireland.   https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/committees/family/family-law-handbook-2017.pdf

[16]Order 59 Rules of the Circuit Court http://www.courts.ie/rules.nsf/6cc6644045a5c09a80256db700399505/1cca506f57cc910480256d940064796c?OpenDocument

 

 

In The Best Interests of the Child…..Getting it Wrong: A Pyrrhic Victory Creating Conflict to “Win” Custody of Children. Part 1

 

 

How women manipulate the legal system and rely on judicial ignorance, judicial reliance on faulty and unsupported assumptions and “mother myths” to sever, disrupt, poison and damage Father/Child Relationships by creating a toxic conflictual environment, (which for convenience I will refer to as Toxic Parental Alienation Conflict TPAC)I contend that it isn’t the manufactured “conflict” that damages children the most – it is losing their Fathers through Family Law Judges relying on and applying the above mentioned judicial ignorance, faulty research and unsupported assumptions and “mother myths”  in judicial decision making in contested “custody” cases that causes the worst outcomes for children.

In effect – Family Law Judges who make custody decisions “in the best interests of the child” by allowing TPAC to influence erroneous decisions to award “sole custody” to the mothers creating the TPAC and “limited” or “supervised access” to Fathers are entrenching, endorsing and supporting the continuing negative psychological damage being inflicted on children.

How? By giving TPAC mothers permission to continue to cause psychological damage to children BY PREVENTING THESE CHILDREN FROM HAVING A FULL MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR FATHERS.

To reiterate – it isn’t the “conflict” that ultimately causes the most damage to the children – it is losing their fathers.

Which is not to say that that the TPAC isn’t damaging – it is – but there are two negative processes interacting here – children being used as pawns in TPAC, and the RESULT of children being subjected to TPAC – losing their Father – and yes, I acknowledge that mothers have also been the victims of TPAC – but the vast majority of parents being targeted are Fathers.

The Nature of Conflict

It is, for want of a better expression, human nature to disagree with or dispute the opinions, views or positions of other people – we are betimes in conflict with the stated opinions of other people, we express that disagreement and put forward an alternative opinion and/or view. We debate. We argue.

My mother used to say “it would be a boring world if everybody agreed with everybody else all the time” and I concur. No doubt you have all either been involved in, or observed two people in heated exchanges – usually because there is passionate disagreement – if one is unable to convince the other of the validity of your point of view, despite your best efforts, the normal adult thing to do is to “agree to disagree”

On a more mundane everyday level, human life is peppered with small micro disagreements, small incidents of conflict – I want to watch Babylon 5 (Duh!) someone else wants to watch Top Gear (Huh!) ooops – conflict. The solution is glaringly obvious……………for grown ups that is. Get another bloody television.

The point is human life is about conflict, disagreements, disputes, large, small and microscopic – we manage them, we resolve them, usually on the fly and we MOVE ON. This happens in all human relationships – ALL – including parental relationships – obviously some parental relationships are more argumentative, more tetchy, more conflictual than others – but – in the context of those parental relationships, the issue isn’t and shouldn’t be about the level of parental conflict BETWEEN the parents – the issue is – are the children dragged into these conflicts and how do the courts view this “conflict”

There is of course another more insidious underlying process in play – in TPAC the conflict is manufactured, engineered, deliberately instigated, for one purpose and one purpose only – to sever the parental relationship between the child/ren and the targeted parent – usually the father, and the children are manipulated into becoming involved in, part of, and enmeshed in this manufactured “conflict”

The fact that there is “conflict” in particular where one parent is actively engaging in behaviour’s that disrupt, prevent, impede and/or damage the other parents relationship with his child/ren, is actively seeking judicial endorsement of a curtailment of the other parents relationship with his child/ren is, in my opinion an immediate red flag – and should be. Any parent who demands that the Court sanctions and endorses a “gate-keeping” role, authority, position over the other parents relationship with his children is immediately suspect.

I’m going to pause here for a moment for a little aside and quote from Re-examining the Research on Parental Conflict, Coparenting, and Custody Arrangements: Linda Nielsen Wake Forest University: Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 2017, Vol. 23, No. 2, 211–231

Empirical Basis for the Conflict Hypothesis

The assumption that, unless parents have a low conflict, cooperative relationship, the children will fare more poorly if they have frequent contact with their father or if they live in a JPC family seems to have originated from five studies in the 1980s. Twenty five to 30 years ago when these studies were conducted, it was generally assumed that children benefitted most from maximum mothering time while their parents lived together, as well as after they separated. From this perspective, restricting the children’s time with their father would have a less negative impact than exposing them to the parental conflict. The assumption was that, unless the parents had a friendly, low conflict relationship, the more time fathers and children spent together, the more conflict would likely arise. These beliefs are reflected in custody laws which have historically restricted children’s time with their fathers to every other weekend and occasional vacation time (DiFonzo, 2014). The earliest of the five studies (Johnston, Kline, & Tschann, 1989) garnered nationwide attention when cited in Wallerstein’s bestselling book on divorce (Wallerstein, Lewis, & Blakeslee, 2000) to support the view that,

Joint custody arrangements that involve the child in going back and forth at frequent intervals are particularly harmful to children in a high conflict family. Children who are ordered to traverse a battleground between warring parents show serious symptoms that affect their physical and mental health. The research findings on how seriously troubled these children are and how quickly their adjustment deteriorates are very powerful. (Wallerstein et al., 2000, p. 215)

Wallerstein’s books received national media attention for well more than a decade (Kirn, 2012). Prioritizing conflict and recommending against JPC or frequent “visitation” unless conflict was low gained further momentum in books written for family court and mental health professionals (Garrity & Baris, 1997; Hodges, 1991; Johnston & Campbell, 1988; Stahl, 1999). Johnston et al. (1989) was a pioneering study that for many years was misinterpreted and cited as evidence that joint physical custody was only suitable for parents with little to no conflict. Given its longstanding influence and the fact that its author (Johnston, 1995) has expressed regret about how the study has been, and continues to be (e.g., Shaffer, 2007) misunderstood and misused, it merits careful attention.”

NB JPC means Joint Physical Custody.

A summary of Dr. Neilsen’s research is available here and the full text of her research paper is here. Dr. Neilsen reviewed 54 studies conducted over an extensive period of time, including the one quoted from above, which has been relied on extensively to support SPC (Sole Physical Custody) decisions and more importantly, the assumptions that Family Law Judges use and are consistently trotted out to support SPC arrangements – Dr. Neilsens research empirically discredits (in my opinion) ALL previous assumptions in relation to SPC decisions, and the erroneous and flawed thinking upon which those decisions have, and continue to be made with regard to the custody of children.

From:

10 Surprising Findings on Shared Parenting After Divorce or Separation: Linda Neilsen

  1. In the 54 studies—absent situations in which children needed protection from an abusive or negligent parent even before their parents separated—children in shared-parenting families had better outcomes than children in sole physical custody families. The measures of well-being included: academic achievement, emotional health (anxiety, depression, self-esteem, life satisfaction), behavioral problems (delinquency, school misbehavior, bullying, drugs, alcohol, smoking), physical health and stress-related illnesses, and relationships with parents, stepparents, and grandparents.
  2. Infants and toddlers in JPC families have no worse outcomes than those in SPC families. Sharing overnight parenting time does not weaken young children’s bonds with either parent.
  3. When the level of parental conflict was factored in, JPC children still had better outcomes across multiple measures of well-being. High conflict did not override the benefits linked to shared parenting, so JPC children’s better outcomes cannot be attributed to lower parental conflict.
  4. Even when family income was factored in, JPC children still had better outcomes. Moreover, JPC parents were not significantly richer than SPC parents.
  5. JPC parents generally did not have better co-parenting relationships or significantly less conflict than SPC parents. The benefits linked to JPC cannot be attributed to better co-parenting or to lower conflict.
  6. Most JPC parents do not mutually or voluntarily agree to the plan at the outset. In the majority of cases, one parent initially opposed the plan and compromised as a result of legal negotiations, mediation, or court orders. Yet in these studies, JPC children still had better outcomes than SPC children.
  7. When children are exposed to high, ongoing conflict between their parents, including physical conflict, they do not have any worse outcomes in JPC than in SPC families. Being involved in high, ongoing conflict is no more damaging to children in JPC than in SPC families.
  8. Maintaining strong relationships with both parents by living in JPC families appears to offset the damage of high parental conflict and poor co-parenting. Although JPC does not eliminate the negative impact of frequently being caught in the middle of high, ongoing conflict between divorced parents, it does appear to reduce children’s stress, anxiety, and depression.
  9. JPC parents are more likely to have detached, distant, and “parallel” parenting relationships than to have “co-parenting” relationships where they work closely together, communicate often, interact regularly, coordinate household rules and routines, or try to parent with the same parenting style.
  10. No study has shown that children whose parents are in high legal conflict or who take their custody dispute to court have worse outcomes than children whose parents have less legal conflict and no custody hearing.

These findings refute a number of popular myths about shared parenting. One among many examples is a 2013 study from the University of Virginia that was reported in dozens of media outlets around the world under frightening headlines such as: “Spending overnights away from mom weakens infants’ bonds.” In the official press release, the researchers stated that their study should guide judges’ decisions about custody for children under the age of four. In fact, however, the study is not in any way applicable to the general population. The participants were impoverished, poorly-educated, non-white parents who had never been married or lived together, had high rates of incarceration, drug abuse, and violence, and had children with multiple partners. Moreover, there were no clear relationships between overnighting and children’s attachments to their mothers.

My review of 54 studies on shared parenting finds that, independent of parental conflict and family income, children in shared physical custody families—with the exception of situations where children need protection from an abusive or negligent parent—have better outcomes across a variety of measures of well-being than do children in sole physical custody. Knowledge and understanding of these findings allow us to dismantle some of the myths surrounding shared parenting so we can better serve the interests of the millions of children whose parents are no longer living together.

Dr. Linda Nielsen is a professor of Adolescent and Educational Psychology at Wake Forest University. She has written numerous articles on shared parenting research and is frequently called upon to share the research with legislative committees and family court professionals. For copies of her research articles contact nielsen@wfu.edu

So, TPAC creates, manufactures, engineers and feeds the conflict, damaging the children subjected to it, and the Courts sees this “conflict” and award SPC to the perpetrator, the instigator, the manipulator, further causing psychological distress and damage to these already burdened children, and the circuit is complete.

The alienator has achieved her object – destroyed the relationship between the children and his/her father, and basking in the glow of victory, sweeps out of Court with a smirk – the children are……..collateral damage. She won!

Family Law Judges believe they have achieved a “reasonable and just outcome”………………..in the best interests of the child.

Feminists, their twisted acolytes and enablers cheer yet another victory over “the patriarchy” and all’s well with the world, alternatively they pen this rubbish. Sigh. I know.

From: “… HE’S JUST SWAPPED HIS FISTS FOR THE SYSTEM” THE GOVERNANCE OF GENDER THROUGH CUSTODY LAW Author(s): VIVIENNE ELIZABETH, NICOLA GAVEY and  JULIA TOLMIE Source: Gender and Society, Vol. 26, No. 2 (April 2012), pp. 239-260 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.

“In Anglo-Western countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, state interventions to “assist” parents who cannot agree on postseparation care arrangements are informed by the welfare principle, better known by the seemingly simple phrase “the best interests of the child.” As others have pointed out, the welfare principle is notoriously indeterminate; what is in the child’s best interests is open to interpretation and contestation (Boyd 2003,2004,2006; Collier 2006; Coltrane and Hickman 1992; Fineman 1988; Kaganas and Day Sclater 2004; Rhoades 2002, 2006; Smart 1997; Smart and Neale 1999a).

Partly as a result of attempts by a global fathers’ rights movement to reassert entitlements to children, the welfare principle is currently defined in terms of an ongoing relationship with both parents. This understanding of a child’s best interests is associated with a shift to joint legal custody, which accords the rights and in theory the responsibilities of parenthood to both parents irrespective of the nature of their relationship, and the rise of joint physical custody—a situation that includes a wide variety of care arrangements for children, all of which generally involve children spending time in the physical care of both parents.

In Australia and an increasing number of U.S. states, emphasis is placed on equal shared parenting, which entails children spending approximately 50:50 time in the physical care of each parent.

In this article, we treat the intervention of custody law, framed by both custody legislation and the actions of various family law professionals, including judges, lawyers, mediators, psychologists, counselors and social workers, in the lives of separated parents as an instance of the governance of gender (Brush 2003).”

Though one of my favourite quotes from this “research” is this:

“Indeed, Rekha Mirchandani (2006) on the basis of her research on a domestic violence court in Salt Lake City, Utah, claims that state institutions can be transformed into feminist regimes that challenge “male dominance in the home” by undermining men’s prerogatives in relation to their partners and children.”

The irony of the authors use of the words “entitlements” and “men’s prerogatives” has not escaped me, nor you I would imagine.

So, “best interests of the child” is to all intents and purposes the new mantra of Family Law Courts, notwithstanding the authors of HE’S JUST SWAPPED HIS FISTS FOR THE SYSTEM” THE GOVERNANCE OF GENDER THROUGH CUSTODY LAW………etc  contention that “……what is in the child’s best interests is open to interpretation and contestation…….”

“In Anglo-Western countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, state interventions to “assist” parents who cannot agree on postseparation care arrangements are informed by the welfare principle, better known by the seemingly simple phrase “the best interests of the child.” As others have pointed out, the welfare principle is notoriously indeterminate; what is in the child’s best interests is open to interpretation and contestation (Boyd 2003,2004,2006; Collier 2006; Coltrane and Hickman 1992; Fineman 1988; Kaganas and Day Sclater 2004; Rhoades 2002, 2006; Smart 1997; Smart and Neale 1999a).”

Actually – it isn’t – in contention – by legitimate unbiased and responsible persons working in the area of child welfare. But, feminists do so love their vague wishy washy, woozly, “what the hell is she talking about” “research” “I’m just going to pull a load of figures out my ass and present them as legitimate research to support whatever twisted and ideologically driven “theory” I have subscribed to”

Nor, I might add, is it a vague and ephemeral concept in law.

In The Best Interests of the Child…..How The Courts Get it Wrong. Part 2.

Part 2 on Monday.