SIGN THE PETITION (Loving parent/father initiative, Liebende Eltern/Vaeter Initiative)

 Petition Loving parent / father initiative (EN)

English. The “Loving Parent/Father Petition” is asking legislation for a juster parenting practice. Whenever feasible and wished by the parents, as well as provided that no official evidence exists that a child would be exposed to a harmful parent, balanced co-parenting agreements based on gender equality should be enabled right after a couple’s separation, regardless of the current and former marital status. Shared custody has to be kept possible as long as there is no objective and independent evaluation provided by a professional family therapist that would speak against such an arrangement. According to UNESCO’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 9, children have the right to stay in (meaningful) contact with both parents. If that right is threatened by gate-keeping respectively parental alienation practices by either parent, sanctions have to be taken to discourage and remove such abusive behavior in the interest of the child.

 Petition Liebende Eltern / Väter Initiative (DE)

German.  Die „Liebende Eltern/Väter Petition“ fordert vom Gesetzgeber eine gerechtere Sorgerechts-Praxis. Wann immer machbar und von den Eltern gewünscht, und vorausgesetzt, es seien keine offiziellen Beweise vorhanden, dass ein Kind einem schädlichen Elternteil aussetzen würde, sollten ausgeglichene Vereinbarungen nach dem Prinzip gleichgestellter Geschlechter direkt nach der Trennung eines Paares, unabhängig vom aktuellen und früheren Familienstand, aktiviert werden. Geteiltes Sorgerecht muss ermöglicht werden, solange keine objektive und unabhängige Beurteilung eines professionellen Familientherapeuten vorliegt, die gegen eine solche Vereinbarung sprechen würde. Nach dem UNESCO-Übereinkommen über die Rechte des Kindes, Artikel 9, haben Kinder das Recht, in (sinnhaftem) Kontakt mit beiden Eltern zu bleiben. Wenn dieses Recht von einem Elternteil durch Protektionismus bzw. elterliche Entfremdungspraktiken bedroht wird, müssen Sanktionen getroffen werden, um das missbräuchliche Verhalten im Interesse des Kindes zu entmutigen und zu beseitigen.


(May 31, 2017. MS)

Version before further concretization.

English. We, as loving parents, call on governments, lawmakers, and policy responsible around the world to provide children the legal rights to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents after their separation or divorce. Decisions on custody agreements shall consider the interest of the child and the state of latest research. Although 50/50 time share enforcement may sometimes be unpractical, to maintain an emotionally close relationship a parent’s/dad’s involvement in every-day activities and bedtime rituals are required that go beyond a couple of hours of playtime once or twice a week.

German. Wir, als liebevolle Eltern, rufen weltweit die verantwortlichen Regierungen, Gesetzgeber und Politiker auf, Kindern die gesetzlichen Rechte zu geben, die es ihnen erlaubt, eine sinnvolle Beziehung zu beiden Elternteilen nach deren Trennung oder Scheidung aufrechtzuerhalten. Sorgerechts-Entscheidungen sollen zum Wohle des Kindes gemäss dem Stand der neuesten Forschung getroffen werden. 50/50 Zeitregelungen mögen manchmal unpraktisch sein. Um eine emotional enge Beziehung zum entsprechenden Elternteil/Papa aufrecht erhalten zu können, ist jedoch ein Engagement in Alltagsaktivitäten und Schlafenszeit Rituale erforderlich, welches über ein paar Stunden Spielzeit ein- oder zweimal pro Woche hinausgehen.

For further information, please visit:

Recognizing the ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)’

Divorce: Regular overnight stays with dad are the best for small children / Scheidung: Regelmässige Übernachtungen bei Papa sind das Beste für kleine Kinder

Shared parenting research / Geteilte Kinderfürsorge (Forschungsstand)

Welcome to the ‘Loving Father Initiative’ / Willkommen zur ‘Liebender Vater Initiative‘

Relational aggression in the form of maternal gatekeeping

  • Dear Mathias,
    To me this petition is to ‘generic’. Every situation is different: sometimes its in the child’s best interest to keep connected to both parents, sometimes it’s best to have only one of the parents in their lives,sometimes it may even be for the best to have neither parent taking care.
    I do agree, it shouldn’t be automatically the mother who gets full custody, however change the law as you are proposing that, to me, won’t work either.
    I also feel it is extremely important that children are being heard too. To achieve that, I think it’s wise – and only! in case parents can’t reach an agreement, contacting a social worker will be made mandatory by law. An independent person who only has the best interests of the child on his/her agenda.
    To give you a personal example; I am glad my mother didn’t forced my biological father to pay alimony and to keep in contact with me. I’ve met him in my early twenties and to say it decent: not a nice person.
    However, she did made it very difficult for my half-brother and me to keep in contact with my stepfather (my brother’s biological father and to me my Daddy). He thought it was wiser to keep his distance and not make ‘things’ even worse for us. In this case I, as a child, wishes there would have been someone who could tell my mother that was not ok.
    So, different persons, different situations and therefore I still believe; a generic law is not wise.

    • Hi Patty
      Thank you so much for your very useful feedback and your personal experience. That’s very helpful for me to better word the initiative. I understand your point, and I agree that it is important to consider every individual situation’s context and adjust particular proceedings. However, the core issue remains!
      Today the tendency in many countries is still that, in the case of disagreement between the partners, the mother is uncritically chosen as the primary caregiver. Let’s say both mother and father made accusations that would require a social worker to investigate; the child gets protected before the father while being with the mother. Why? There is a 50 percent risk that this is the wrong decision from a child’s perspective. Especially if the mother is exercising a possessive and manipulative attitude in here single parent role, this could also be a sign that she is abusive to the child as it has nothing to do with the parent-parent relationship. I agree with your point to ask children as well, but there is an immense risk that they may not express their desire for both parents if the main parent is lobbying against a co-parenting. Children desperately want both parents, but as dependent they are they may fearfully tend to secure the closer parent by pleasing it with speaking after its mouth.
      Also, let’s assume a couple is not married and has a child together. Not being married doesn’t mean that the couple didn’t have a healthy and committed relationship (as marriage is not a guarantee for it neither). Maybe that’s a further issue to be addressed. If such a couple separates, society and the law in most cases see it as naturally given that the child’s main caregiver is the mother, which however is just not true (from a heartfelt and scientific perspective, although we are socially trained to see it differently). Both parents are equally important! I’m not saying the father should be the sole parent, both parents, mother, and father, should stay involved as equally as possible as long as there is no evidenced reason speaking against a shared parenting from a child’s interest point of view. In other areas, such as career, politics, etc., where I support gender equality as well, we are much further! That’s the scandal I’m speaking about.

      • I do get your points. However, I am questioning the amount of cases the father should have been given the primarily care-giving role. Aren’t they less than the cases separations of parents do go in consensus and in best interest of the child(ren)?
        The issue you describe, yes, do exist. I believe it’s easier to make it mandatory in those case to involve a psychologist, who can ‘see through’ the possible manipulation. My stepbrothers were heard by court at the age of 12 and chose to live with their father (in the Netherlands, about 20 years ago, despite of their fear of their mother at the time).
        In addition I believe the age of the child is also important to take in. Younger children, if you like it or not, need their mothers more than there fathers. So, if there is no prove of the mother being abusive, I to feel they should stay with their mothers primarily.
        And what about the mothers who ‘tricked’men by becoming pregnant. He automatically has to take responsibility?
        Most cases are not ‘black-white’ and therefor, I stick to my opinion; address each problem-case individually.
        ( Calling it a scandal, I sense a personal feeling behind all this? )
        However, its just my personal opinion and that doesn’t mean it is the correct approach/opinion 😉

      • Hi, Patty. Thanks again for providing specific examples. Yes, please; although we may not find the common denominator in this discussion, it is still a fruitful one! I will check my post’s text again, as the kind of ‘mandatory’ you are referring to is of course not applicable to every case, like you mention the ‘tricked men’ example.
        Regarding the voice of the child with 12, I think that’s realistic. But what about the 12 years before? It is very cruel to miss a parent for the first 12 years of childhood! Of course, like mothers who don’t breastfeed, men can neither. However, I don’t understand (and there is no scientific evidence) for the justification of the social opinion that women are more needed or better suited to take care of a child. This is a socially established gender role! Besides my article, I recommend for example the book “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know”, which is a 2007 parenting book by Meg Meeker, MD, which provides guidance to fathers on raising their daughters. Meeker argues that “fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter’s life.” As you say “should stay with mothers primarily,” that can still be the case; my point is just that fathers should be allowed to remain involved in a meaningful way as well. And ‘meaningful’ means that fathers are not degraded to a play buddy for the child, but are a carer who is involved in daily child rearing decisions and activities. Seeing a child once in a while (weekly, or even bi-weekly or monthly as I hear court rulings) is not enough to maintain an emotionally close relationship that children need to have with both parents whenever possible.

      • The only proof I have for my way of thinking: when a child is in need of something, mostly they shout for ‘mum!’
        I totally agree, father can be good caretakers too and I think we are on common ground with this; both parents should at least been given the opportunity to stay in their child’s life on a more frequent base then you sketched. However, as you said also; practically is it possible? Are both parents willing to give up their own needs? For instance, don’t move for a (better) job opportunity and live together in the same surroundings, so it is even possible what you like to achieve?
        Even if a child wants to have both parents in their lives, does a parent have to give up everything?
        All I am saying; your initial petition is to generic for me, personally.
        As always I appreciate you taking the time to discuss, with me, very interesting and important topics.
        Have to go now, but I definitely will think about this some more 😉

      • Hi Patty. Thanks for your response! Again you raise another important aspect; the one of parent’s own legitimate needs. It’s admittedly difficult to define “legitimate,” although I think one’s freedom should be where it does not hurt others who are dependent on oneself. Possibly the (only) ones who are really, really dependent on us, are our children. That’s why I find the topic so important. Have a great day, Patty!

  • Marriage has it’s difficulties but it’s better than divorce…especially for children! I believe we need tougher divorce laws and stronger commitment to marriage. Let’s stop ripping our family units apart. Just my thoughts…

    • Hi, Lynn. Thanks for your good point. I agree that there may be a more and more individualistic tendency and people not being prepared to commit more firmly and steadily. I understand and respect the tradition of marriage. However, I hope it is OK to look at the concept of marriage a bit more critically too. I see marriage as a reinforcing institution for socially normed relationships. Indeed, this can provide helpful guidance and stability, especially economically, for individuals and society overall. However, a couple can have a marriage that is not equivalent to a good relationship, which however marriage is trying to stand for too. I know about families where the husband is supposed to not come home before 10 pm to not disturb the bedtime procedures of the children. Others are not speaking with each other due to lack of interest, which is not the role model for a healthy relationship neither for a child. In that case, it would be better if parents had a great relationship with a new partner while co-operating friendly for shared parenting with the ex-partner with whom they have the child with. This is my understanding of a mature, self-responsible way, rather than the attitude of ‘all or nothing,’ ‘black or white,’ ‘friends or enemies,’ ‘fully together (married) or entirely separated (divorced).’ With self-reliance I mean: Why can’t parents negotiate and agree on themselves for a fair and equal collaboration, rather than requiring a lawyer to decide on their personal matters? And the ex-/divorced partner is still a once loved person (although I heard about marriages that were not only motivated by love, unfortunately). Sorry for the long answer and thank you very much again for stimulating the discussion! All the best!

    • Thanks for this good point to consider too! If this is objectively confirmed, then of course an unfit parent shouldn’t have an impossible responsibility. Just, an accusation of a vengeful partner is not yet evidence for any lack of parenting fitness.

      • Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, I understand that. Vengeful partners, however, suffer most themselves. Rather than counter-attacked them, they should be helped (what is the intention of the ‘Loving Parent Initiative’). Due to lack of self-esteem, they’re thinking to feel worthier when possessing and controlling what actually can’t be possessed (a child). And, gate-keeping partners may be responding to social pressure to fulfilling the role of a good single parent (typically mothers), although this can lead to physical and mental overload with adverse effects on their and the child’s well-being and health. That’s why the still enduring societal paradigm of misunderstood feminism regarding excluding fathers from their parenting role in the case of conflict should be addressed.

      • Totally agreed..

        Some mothers use those babies as pawns..
        Without realizing the great effects it has on the children who can’t understand the reasoning behind her actions..,

        To think it was her choice to have a child for that man.. and then turn around and try to punish that father and that child by being vengeful

        It really sucks..