What is the “Tender Years Doctrine?” This is the belief that very young children – infants, toddlers, and children up to four years of age – should spend all their overnights in one location.
- It has been used to justify many court orders denying or restricting access between a fit parent and his or her children.
- But it is not supported by a broad consensus of scientific researchers.
- A definitive “Consensus Report,” published in a widely respected journal shows that the evidence supports overnights with both parents when the parents live separately.
- At a scientific conference on Monday, May 29, 2017 the author of the Consensus Report, Dr Richard Warshak, told the story of an attempt by several prominent clinicians to suppress the Report.
- They tried to prevent publication.
- They asked the journal editors not to publish the names of the 110 scientists who support the Concensus Report.
- They then resorted to calling the report “divisive.”
- Not surprisingly, the clinicians trying to suppress the report profit from high conflict divorce cases.
In the dry language of science: “Sufficient evidence does not exist to support postponing the introduction of regular and frequent involvement, including overnights, of both parents with their babies and toddlers. The theoretical and practical considerations favoring overnights for most young children are more compelling than concerns that overnights might jeopardize children’s development.” (p. 46, Warshak, 2014).
Source: Dr. Richard Warshak, Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report.” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. 2014, Vol. 20, No. 1, 46–67. This journal ranks in the top 75 out of 252 psychology journals according to Scopus statistics on citation impact.
The National Parents Organization (NPO.org) is sponsoring a group of experts on shared parenting. Some highlights from the NPO website, http://npo-icsp2017.org/ :
Research suggests that fully half of troubled children and adolescents derive from conflicted, separated and divorced families. The faculty will delve into the relationship between different types of post-divorce parenting arrangements and children’s subjective and objective outcomes, their attachment to parental figures, and specific issues such as age and developmental level, high conflict, domestic violence, and parental alienation. The conference offers the rare opportunity to interact with leading legal and mental health scholars from around the world on this important topic. The program will include plenary sessions, panel discussions, question and answer sessions, and break-out workshops.
Given the high prevalence of conflicted, separated and divorced families, this conference will be of great benefit to all varieties of child and family practitioners and scholars, including any who deal with family policy, family law, psychology, child mental and physical health, alienation, domestic violence or family dynamics This is an unusual opportunity to learn from so many distinguished scholars from Australia to Europe to North America, any of whom would qualify as a keynote speaker, all at one conference. Information on continuing education can be found in the Program.
Email email@example.com for a pdf of the full program.
Registration and housing information: http://npo-icsp2017.org/registrationhousing/
A Hartford Courant article (October 6, 2015, p A1) quotes a parent as saying that this “is the worst possible experience a father and mother could have. Your children are alive, you know where they are, but you can’t see them.” This describes very accurately “splitting” or alienating behavior. Too often the state of Connecticut assists in splitting children from one or both parents.
Too often, a parent with some easily treated disability such as ADD is prevented from seeing their child. Massachusetts is moving to change court ordered alienation according to the Courant article:
A path breaking shared parenting bill was recently passed by the Minnesota legislature. Two new requirements: 1) The bill (HF 322) requires a minimum of 35% of the parenting time for each parent; 2) the 35% minimum takes effect immediately, even for temporary custody orders. This immediate effect is important because temporary arrangements often become permanent: judges don’t want to change existing custody time because they think this might be disruptive to the children.
But on Thursday, 5/24/12, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill by failing to sign it.
Would you support a similar law in Connecticut? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: 35% minimum custody time. You can vote Yea or Nay, and express your views. The editor will post your comments at www.sharedparentinginc.org. Or, you can leave your a comment on this post.