Entries in Mythbusters: Shared Parenting (3)


A wasted opportunity to engage with the literature on the implications of attachment research for family court professionals

Anti-shared parenting lobbyists in Australia, the U.K and U.S made much of Jennifer McIntosh's "findings" that no overnight stays or joint physical custody is best for toddlers. Professor Lamb however, sheds light on a central problem with her research. Does she tend to present her information in a way favourable to her point of view? Rather than reviewing relevant information objectively, has the researcher-turned-advocate shaped the data to prop-up the outcome she wishes to achieve? Tangential to McIntosh’s misrepresentations of the literature, her attempt to prop up the numbers as guest editor of the Family Court Review is also revealed.

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New Child Abuse Data - Dads are safest of all

Contrary to a common myth, newly released data from Western Australia shows that "safety of children" is more likely with fathers than mothers. The current AIFS review of shared parenting aspects of Family Law should incorporate this data in any recommendations regarding child safety. It would also be helpful if local MPs - and Robert McClelland, the Attorney General - were aware of these facts.


The Problem with Caution

Well publicised voices have been raised to question the wisdom and benefits of the shared parenting provisions of the amended Family Law Act. Some have pointed to suggestions of harm for children. Generally these affirmations have not been supported by research nor clinical data, and have been made without reference to contrasting studies and the experience of practitioners in the field. "Cautionary Notes" reveals elevated levels of stress in children in some situations of shared care, but fails to analyse the root causes of that stress and to describe strategies for its remediation. The authors argue that its call for caution in the application of shared care is not soundly based.