June 7, 2023 – Prof. Linda Nielsen’s new book highlighted
Feedback from our last issue: My family law lawyer colleague, Paul Pellman was fast off the mark to say this about our report from the recent ESP Conference held in May 2023 in Greece. Paul wrote:
I love it that they are now considering parental alienation a form of family violence. I’m getting more and more cases of generally mothers who believe it is their right to alienate the father unnecessarily and marginalize his involvement with the children.
Thanks, Paul. But it’s not just moms. Dads alienate as well. Either way, it’s our job as family law lawyers to discourage our clients (no matter what their gender) from engaging in this odious behaviour.
Gene C. Colman Introduction: We now turn to reproducing some excerpts from Prof. Linda Nielsen’s latest book, “Myths and Lies About Dads”. It’s those myths, stereotypes and outright lies about dads that tend to form powerful blockages against legislating a rebuttable presumption of Equal Shared Parenting. And while Prof. Nielsen not only shatters those myths, she expertly amasses a wealth of solid social science data that supports the key importance of both parents in their children’s lives. Throughout, the bolding and italics are mine.
From page 15:
Children almost always (90%) spend their entire childhood in the same home with their mom. But only 60% of them spend their entire childhood in the same home with their dad.
So what? Why should this matter? It matters because fathers who live with their children can create more supportive, loving, involved relationships with their kids. And those are the kinds of relationships that benefit children throughout their lives. What benefits? To name a few, well-fathered children have higher high school and college graduation rates, better physical health, less delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teenage pregnancy, depression and anxiety, and better relationships with their romantic partners, including lower divorce rates.
Stay tuned to upcoming ESP Thoughts of the Day for more insightful excerpts from Prof. Nielsen’s book.
Gene C. Colman comments further
One would naturally think that a lawyer in court would not have to struggle against the antiquated view that fathers really don’t matter. You would be surprised to learn how hard it is for some people (include judges in that term) to wrap their heads around the very simple proposition that the more you involve the dad in the kid’s upbringing, the better off and happier and more well adjusted that kid is going to be. Everyone just assumes that parenting time should default to the mom. Heh there – Of course kids need to have their moms fully involved with substantial parenting time and real responsibilities with respect to decision making. That’s a no brainer!
All this should be equally a no brainer when it comes to dads. Our adversary system promotes a winner/loser paradigm. If we really cared about “best interests”, then our default position would naturally just have to be EQUAL SHARED PARENTING.