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Research related to Jennifer McIntosh article used for denying fathers Meaningful Access

Filed under: Domestic Violence,Gender Politics,Law & Courts,Sex Abuse / CYF — MurrayBacon @ 10:19 am Fri 14th March 2014

Well known journalist Bettina Arndt is researching an article focussed on the recent academic paper in which 110 leading family researchers supported overnight care of infants and toddlers.

She’s urgently seeking men to interview whose contact with their young children has been adversely affected by assumptions in our family law system that such overnight care is damaging for young children. She’s particularly interested in cases where the “research” by Jen McIntosh was used to justify such decisions.

As she needs a father willing to be named and photographed, this precludes men who have had a Family Court ruling – although she would still like to hear from you if you have had a recent (2010 or later) Family Court ruling where such contact was denied. In this case the law requires she can only write about the cases without naming the individuals concerned – but she’d still like to mention relevant rulings.

But most important is finding fathers who can speak openly about their experiences with mediators and lawyers regarding overnight contact with very young children. Perhaps you have been unable to negotiate overnight contact in a mediation session or were told by your lawyer that the courts were unlikely to allow this. She only wants to talk to men who have had this experience in the last five years.

Could you please contact her urgently asap at – [email protected]

Yuri Joakimidis
March 03, 2014
Commentators opposed to shared parenting and overnights for infants and toddlers post-divorce have been relying on misleading interpretations of very flawed research such as the widely publicized Australian study by Dr Jennifer McIntosh to argue that young children need to spend most of their time and every night in the care of one “primary” parent.

Properly disciplined research has safeguards built in to protect it from the prejudices of the researchers. This is not the case with the results-orientated research by McIntosh and colleagues. Lawmakers and courts often take this research that forms the picture of society on which government policy is based, not to mention the general public, as being simply objective truth.

In order to clarify where social science stands on these issues, a February 4, 2014 study by Dr Richard Warshak, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, published in the prestigious American Psychological Association’s peer-review journal, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, with the endorsement of 110 of the world’s top authorities from 15 countries in attachment, early child development, and divorce, concludes that in normal circumstances, overnights and “shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.”

Unlike the flawed McIntosh work this important study sheds much needed light on what is best for infants and toddlers whose parents live apart and its importance cannot be overstated.

The consensus report ends with a number of recommendations. Of particular note:

“We recognize that many factors such as cultural norms and political considerations affect the type of custody policy that society deems as desirable. To the extent that policy and custody decisions seek to express scientific knowledge about child development, the analyses in this article should receive significant weight by legislators and decision makers.”

“1. Just as we encourage parents in intact families to share care of their children, we believe that the social science evidence on the development of healthy parent- child relationships, and the long-term benefits of healthy parent-child relationships, supports the view that shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.”

“3. In general the results of the studies reviewed in this document are favorable to parenting plans that more evenly balance young children’s time between two homes. “¦Thus, to maximize children’s chances of having a good and secure relationship with each parent, we encourage both parents to maximize the time they spend with their children.”

“4. Research on children’s overnights with fathers favors allowing children under four to be cared for at night by each parent rather than spending every night in the same home. “

“6. There is no evidence to support postponing the introduction of regular and frequent involvement, including overnights, of both parents with their babies and toddlers.”

In the context of the national family law conversation this significant study is essential reading for lawmakers, social science professionals, lawyers and the family court judiciary.

Cited reference

Warshak R A (2014) Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 20, No. 1, 46-67

Love, Betrayal and Lust
Make Love, Not Dinner – Bettina Arndt


  1. I can help with all of that up until the point of overnight,
    visitation (as it was objected to heavily and backed up by second lawyer for mother) for one hour at Columbus coffee in henderson 4 or 5 times after he was born, then after even that was a problem, it went to back to court and benardoes was offered and it stopped there, ?

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Fri 14th March 2014 @ 10:30 am

  2. Dear Dominic Dilligaf,

    actions change things much better than talk. I suggest get EMAILing! If you are willing to also share details with me, I can exchange a few other father’s experiences too, which may help a bit. MurrayBacon – axe murderer.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 14th March 2014 @ 10:36 am

  3. Thanks for this.
    I’ve already sent Bettina an email.

    Comment by A N Mouse — Fri 14th March 2014 @ 10:40 am

  4. I have emailed her just in case.

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Fri 14th March 2014 @ 10:44 am

  5. For anyone wanting a full final published copy of the Warshak report for their own personal use in their court case:

    Comment by A N Mouse — Fri 14th March 2014 @ 11:07 am

  6. Child custody lore: The case of the runaway woozle by Karen Franklin, Ph.D

    Karen Franklin has an excellent blog with very interesting commentary. I think that she is a bit scathing, but it is worth reading in any case.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 14th March 2014 @ 12:06 pm

  7. Karen Franklin says:

    The much-ballyhooed study, by clinical psychologist Jennifer McIntosh and colleagues, was part of a report commissioned by the Attorney General’s office in Australia in 2010. According to Nielsen, the so-called ‘preschooler study’ was driven by outmoded theoretical assumptions about mother-infant attachment that are not supported by recent empirical studies. McIntosh leans heavily on the work of neuroscientist Allan Schore. She quotes Schore as claiming that small children do best when they have only one primary caregiver tending to their bedtime routines, and that women’s brains are more neurologically equipped than men’s for communicating with and forming attachments to infants.

    Nielsen starts by pointing out some obvious problems (which others in the field have noted) with generalizing from the Australian preschooler study. Sample sizes were small, the majority of the parents had never been married to each other (one-third hadn’t even lived together), etcetera


    Post-separation parenting arrangements Patterns and developmental outcomes Studies of two risk groups JenniferMcIntosh BruceSmyth AIFS

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 14th March 2014 @ 5:35 pm

  8. Gentleman….

    Here is a very interesting and powerful story on you tube,done by a amazing young English lady who dared to speak the truth concerning her dealings with the so called unbiased English family court…A very powerful video that could be used by ‘the ministry of men’s affairs’
    ‘Family Law Reform UK 2013’
    ‘Aimee C Nicholls’

    Comment by John Dutchie — Tue 18th March 2014 @ 7:08 am

  9. Thanks for that John, powerful testimony from this young lady about her own experience as a child abused by femily law and feminists in positions of power in Britain. Many NZ children will have similar tales to tell and this is to be strongly encouraged.

    Family Courts in ‘western’ countries all need their wings severely clipped by laws that protect children’s rights to maintain full and equal participation from both biological parents except in the most extreme situations of harm. Children have the right to be influenced by their own real parents for better or for worse. No parent can claim (s)he has the perfect formula for raising a child. The state needs to step down from its arrogant misguided belief that its representatives know better than do natural parents, except in the most extreme situations of obvious harm. The state should promote family stability rather than encouraging family wrecking through monetary reward, authorization of the legalized theft of a partner’s assets and long-term enslavement of an ex-partner to pay for one’s ongoing lifestyle.

    Comment by Man X Norton — Tue 18th March 2014 @ 8:57 am

  10. I am loking for some sort of forum nz my son is battling his ex at moment for visitation of his two small children every time he has them she finds fault. so now he can’t have them at al. he is not perfect but i firmly believe the ex is using the children as her way of getting back at him for leaving her with 2 little children any suggestions?

    Comment by Margaret Stretch — Tue 18th March 2014 @ 5:26 pm

  11. Where is he based Margaret?
    In Auckland or Christchurch contact Father and Child Trust
    In Hamilton, Tauranga or Wellington contact Union of Fathers
    There are smaller groups in Wanganui, and Hawkes Bay.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Tue 18th March 2014 @ 6:20 pm

  12. based in hamilton
    i will have a look at that father and child trust yhanks

    Comment by Margaret Stretch — Tue 18th March 2014 @ 6:55 pm

  13. Margaret, parental alienation is the term used for what he is experiencing ……

    Comment by hornet — Tue 18th March 2014 @ 7:33 pm

  14. thanks but both the children want to see their dad and he wants to see them. unfortunately i think he will throw in the towel as no matter what he does she will thwart it. and she does NOT put children before her wants and of course the big child support money

    Comment by Margaret Stretch — Tue 18th March 2014 @ 8:53 pm

  15. Margaret, sadly this is the system we are given – it is deliberate – the paying parent is deliberately deprived of time with their kids at every turn – I know = we did everything right – my wife of 11 years and I, we went to court, paid the money, kept my nose clean – we had NOTHING which would have presented us as bad people or parents – in fact the complete opposite – and sadly even with all our good intentions and efforts the Family court did NOTHING to help protect our rights to be parents – in fact it did everything possible to ensure we never got quality time with the child – because of the allowed behavior of the mother – the ONLY course of action that worked – was for us to take less and less time – to protect the child from the abuse and to protect ourselves – the system point blank refuses to help the good people / parent…..

    if the human rights commission would take a complaint – but they WONT – you could seek to have your right to parent enforced – but again the system has been designed to ensure that REVENUE collection is protected at every level – even if this means parents have to be forced to give up time with their own kids….that is a fact…..

    I have proven the system to be a fraud – a total sham, no matter what you do, you will never get what you deserve……

    lobby your MP, attempt to lay complaints with the Human rights department – even if they refuse to investigate – make the complaint because one day the public will be able to bring charges against them for being complicit and parties to breaches of your rights by failing to take complaint…..

    sorry the news is not good, I would rather you heard the truth and the reality. Even our childs psychologist who reported the severe psychlogical harm the child had suffered – told us directly – the system expects you to pay and wait till the child / children get older and can make up their own mind – yes this is what we were told – accept it, be deprived of time with your child,and hope the brainwashing is not so bad they dont want to see you when they can work things out for themselves ……ive been saying it on here for a while now – this is all deliberate and by design, because the ONLY Ones who benefit are the lawyers and the system in its pursuit of revenue at any and all costs…..they care NOT about your rights or the rights of the child………

    Comment by hornet — Wed 19th March 2014 @ 8:01 am

  16. Margaret, everything Hornet has said is true and I have experienced the same but I would also like to add that the system point blank refuses to help the good people / parent and willingly and knowingly persecutes them.

    Also don’t bother getting a lawyer for child. They only act as another lawyer for the ex. My childs lawyer that I appointed (remember that I appointed her) spoke to my children and their mother and not me. Why? Because she didn’t feel she needed to. Then surprise surprise she supported everything my ex was saying. Corruption is the name of the game, not justice.

    Comment by Scott B — Wed 19th March 2014 @ 11:12 am

  17. Hi everyone does anyone know where the link for the report on the current status of the NZ family court by either a professor or family court judge I saw recently is ?
    I saw it mentioned and I know it was a rather long read, but it was worth it ,
    it backed up that the courts knew that 95 % of women applied for protection orders and that males and females were 50 % of the offenders ?
    I thought I had it somewhere but need it to back up a complaint I am putting together ???

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Wed 19th March 2014 @ 2:44 pm

  18. Hi Margaret,

    Support in Hamilton is available.
    Please check your facebook inbox (other folder).


    Comment by Anotherone — Thu 20th March 2014 @ 10:37 am

  19. All, As a result of the controversial guidelines on Toddlers and Infant care I wrote to the Australian Attorney General with the support of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia SPCA to warn them about the work of Jenn McIntosh PhD. I also made a broadcast for ‘Dads on the Air’;

    You can see copies of the correspondence on facebook.


    Comment by kip — Sat 29th March 2014 @ 7:54 pm

  20. RADIO BROADCAST on YouTUBE – Research on Babies and Toddlers Contact with Fathers

    Comment by kip — Sat 29th March 2014 @ 7:56 pm

  21. Bettina Arndt has spearheaded a campaign to sort out problems caused by Jennifer McIntosh’s misleading article about custody and access involving babies and toddlers.

    Australian family law responds to discrediting of Jennifer McIntosh’s ideas about custody and access for young children.

    When their approach has been show to be wrong, they have altered their recommendations accordingly. Notice that they have not actually gone back and proactively arranged to sort out the wrong decisions made in caught$ through several years. That has been left to the parties to do, at their own cost. (Lawyers need the money more than families.)

    At least the family law people haven’t just tried to bury the materials that have shown up their wrong approach, the have responded with integrity.

    Many thanks must be given to Bettina Arndt, who has publicised the consensus paper, written by 110 USA academics, which was used to discredit Jennifer McIntosh’s ideas and false conclusions.

    Empty days, lonely nights by Bettina Arndt

    Movement on father’s overnight access by Bettina Arndt

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 1st May 2014 @ 9:18 am

  22. Kip has asked me to help post an interesting response to Jennifer McIntosh by professor of psychology Michael E. Lamb:
    A wasted opportunity to engage with the literature on the implications of attachment research for family court professionals [PDF]


    The Family Court Review Special Issue edited by McIntosh provided a misleadingly narrow view of attachment theory and of previous attempts to explore the implications of that theory and related research for family court professionals. For example,the editor chose to interview professionals whose opinions seemed likely to accord with hers, and when they dissented, she failed to explore the implications. She thus represented Bowlby’s notion of monotropy as though it was an established and accepted fact; neither the research (which shows the idea to be incorrect) nor Bowlby’s own later disavowal of the idea were addressed, although the implications are profound. More generally, the extensive relevant scholarship was ignored and unrepresented, leaving the unchallenged focus on the editor’s own research and on opinions that accord with her own. As a result, the Special Issue became a platform for opinion, rather than a forum for critical examination of the literature.

    Comment by JohnPotter — Thu 1st May 2014 @ 7:08 pm

  23. A recent paper by Richard Warshak is a great response to McIntosh’s biased views and warped shoulder tapping in the FCR special edition she edited.
    Warshak consulted 110 experts in a similar manner to McIntosh and came to very different conclusions.
    The theoretical and practical considerations favoring overnights for most young children are more compelling than concerns that overnights might jepardize children’s development.”
    Published in Psychology, Public Policy and Law 2014, Vol 20, No 1 pages 46067
    you can probably obtain a copy by e-mailing [email protected]

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Thu 1st May 2014 @ 7:35 pm

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