Having learned English, French, and Japanese while living and working in different cultures, and as a global citizen, psychologist, and artist, languages (words, images, and the heart) are vital for me every day. Research into the psychology of language, or psycholinguistics, has helped better understand the mental aspects of language and speech with new and innovative implications on how we approach learning from a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral level.
Language organizes thoughts
You can perceive the world with your five senses and experience feelings and emotions without words. However, Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed that “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world,” which I find accurate. What if everything is just “cool?” Reports from people losing language as a result, for example, of brain tumors, evidence that when they cannot describe the world with words anymore, it essentially remains unchanged and, for that matter, unchangeable. Grasping, developing, and changing concepts requires analysis and interpretation of reality, which is accomplished through structured language. Only through organizing one’s thoughts can we fix ideas, reflect on, and monitor them. This inner, explicitly linguistic thinking enables consciousness to become awareness (for my differentiation between consciousness and awareness, see https://mathias-sager.com/2021/05/02/soulfires-flames/). Unfortunately, blissful quitting of thinking in meditation or distractions seems to be more in vogue than thinking critically about one’s thinking; for me, the main challenge of humanity. Again, we may think without language, but language lets us know that we are thinking.
The language of images
There are around 7000 languages spoken in the world today. However, there are many more different languages like specialty languages (e.g., computer languages), sign languages, even smell, and the language of images and music. As an artist, I have a visual vocabulary, which sometimes is not translatable to any words that I’d know. My inner speech while painting often isn’t either in German or English, but purely of images. I love to switch to the mode where I utter thoughts with colors. As my paintings and accompanying texts illustrate, the artistic language of colors, forms, and textures is more direct, compact, shorter, and faster than the concepts described in words.
I like that my artistic language for me is more independent from socio-cultural conventions. Although language helps to connect and build communities, it is used to exclude and manipulate. For example, my daughter and I are told not to use German anymore, which constitutes a strategy of maternal gatekeeping and parental alienation. [-> I love you, Natalie! As always, this work is for you!]
The ambiguity of language
The ambiguity of language can easily cause erroneous thinking. That is probably why many of us discover that life hadn’t turned out as we were told and had planned when we were younger. For example, all the promises about happiness primarily addressing only the hedonistic aspects of the term. The same with love; are we always clear what we mean by it: romantic, affectionate, familiar, playful, or selflessly compassionate?
Any language is possibly imperfect, so we all need to find the combinations of levels of perceptions, spoken words, and expressive means that serve us well.
Parental Alienation More than twenty years ago the late author and renowned child psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner coined the term Parental Alienation Syndrome. He used this term to characterise the breakdown of what was previously normal and healthy parent-child relationships during divorce and child custody cases. The definition of parental alienation according to Gardner is simple. One parent (in […]
Without parents having done something wrong, the socio-cultural environment and some mothers themselves can be non-supportive regarding equality in parenting, even in cases where mutual parenting would be logistically feasible. For children at any age, anger, anxiety, and sadness can carry the risk to lead to depression and developmental problems. Are you concerned and missing the cooperation from your partner to find a solution suitable for the child? Then it is time to take the ‘Loving Father Initiative.’ Let’s prove our children that we care.
There may be two primary caregiver roles: one of a secure haven and one of exploration and discovery. These functions are not gender-specific though. Across different cultures, fathers who are alone with their children show similar behavior as mothers. Dual attachment offers the opportunity for children to build sensitive relationships with their fathers too, which is important for their development throughout life. Awareness should be increased regarding the risks and (socio-cultural) barriers that exist about fathers’ family involvement.
An infant requires a stable establishment of relational trust that is nourished by positive emotional and social connections with a primary caregiver (e.g., father, mother, or grandparent, etc.). Attachment types, such as the healthiest secure attachment style, determine the socio-emotional development and how someone manages social relationships across the lifespan. Differences in parenting and resulting attachment styles need to be put into cultural perspective. Secure attachment at any age can be promoted to support individuals in the achievement of their full potential of well-being and personal growth.
World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day (WNAAD) is a global, online movement to raise awareness about the damaging impact of narcissistic abuse. Join the cause, and help spread awareness by taking part in this international event.
I love their slogan ‘If My Wounds Were Visible’ as it brings to the point the severity of emotional abuse. A person’s mind is not less intimate, vulnerable, and critical for survival than his/her body. In contrary, our mind is our most valuable asset. Applied to the ‘Loving Parent/Father Initiative (LFI),’ depriving somebody of food would have legal consequences; but denying a child of another parent’s love is not sanctioned at all, although it represents a not lesser crippling.
I have researched and written a lot about the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and maternal gate-keeping, which represent a form of psychological abuse of children and can be caused by personality disorders such as narcissism. It is crucial to protect children because they are so dependent, vulnerable and therefore easily victims of psychological manipulation. I am looking for ways how to cooperate closer with individuals and organizations as I am continuing to raise awareness for the particular case of PAS.
It seems almost to be a Zeitgeist that standing up for a good cause to help others is called narcissism. However, seeking attention is sometimes required for effective information and communication. On the other side, acting for one’s inner circle’s benefit only and without empathy for the more vulnerable and ones in need generally, is becoming more and more common and seemingly accepted (and even presidential in some cases). That’s why awareness about any form of narcissism, paranoia, and other extreme personality traits that are hindering people to see the harm they cause to others, is so important.
Thank you for raising awareness by sharing the message!
Definition of ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)’
While ‘gatekeeper parents’ are often specifically referred to in contexts of married couples, similar concepts are also applying to any parent-parent and parent-child relationships and are coined by terms such as parental interference, parental alienation syndrome (PAS), and parent-child abuse (Wikipedia, “Gatekeeper_parent,” n.d.). (See also the article about “maternal gate-keeping”)
Earlier, PAS was considered a mental disorder; today it is classified rather as a relationship dysfunction (Kruk, 2013, April 25). PAS is a form of psychological manipulation and Stines (2017) calls it a brainwashing strategy to turn a child away from a relationship using psychological rewards given by the parent perceived as more powerful by the child. Experts agree that parental alienation is abusive to children (Kruk, 2013, April 25).
Parental alienation is not as seldom as one could expect and is found increasingly in legal cases (Kruk, 2013, April 25). As Kruk (2013, April 25) is citing Fidler and Bala (2010), PAS occurs in 11 – 15% of divorces involving children; according to a report from Bernet et al. (2010), ca. 1% of US children experience parental alienation. In most known cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) the mothers are the alienating party (Major, n.d.).
The United Nations Children’s Fund (n.d.) states that “Children have the right to live with their parent(s) unless it is not good for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child (Article 9)”.
Current or past marriage is not a requirement for a child’s rights. Also, cultural context or social movements shouldn’t lead to a child’s deprivation of a parent. Today, it seems as the societal presumption of ‘mother knows best’ has not been thoroughly revised by the presumption of ‘the best parent is both parents’ (Major, n.d.).
The problem and what can be done about it
We talk here of parental alienation syndrome if from the other, the alienated parent’s, side is no abusive or neglecting behavior evident and any such charge is merely based on the alienating parent’s allegation. Sometimes, the alienating parent’s hatred can lead to horrible statements, including claims of domestic violence, stalking, or other indicators for why a father would be a bad parent (Major, n.d.). For the accusing partner, the lies seem to be real. That’s why the reports are often so vivid and detailed. A crucial part of treating parental alienation therefore is to realize the severity of the psychological confusion that leads to that irrational perception (Major, n.d.).
Need for change in custody dispute procedures (See petition)
If PAS is not stopped, a child risks losing unnecessarily its father, which is an immense psychological burden. If the child stays with the abusively alienating mother, there is even the danger that a child’s character is damaged due to the time spent exclusively with the role model of an abusive mother (Stines, 2017). As the mother may likely have experienced dysfunctional family conditions, the child risks developing alienator traits too (Major, n.d.).
In most countries still, custody disputes often react to the claims of the alienating mother, without proper investigations. Judges tend to respond conservatively to parental alienation cases and leave it to the parents to take a joint decision rather than to enforce sanctions on the abusive PAS behavior. Until PAS evaluations are in place and the legal system is considering it, the alienation may be already progressed and have caused considerable damage to the child. Some therapists and lawyers may not capture the issue appropriately and consequently testify a wrong picture, such as, e.g., the expressed but not real fear of a child based on manipulation occurred (Major, n.d.).
Provided that no official evidence exists that such an agreement exposes a child to a harmful parent, the “Loving Parent/Father Petition” is asking legislation for a juster parenting practice. Whenever feasible and wished by the parents, 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 performed 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.
What causes PAS
PAS arises when a parent is unable to separate from the conflict with the partner and cannot focus on the needs of the child (Kruk, 2013, April 25). Further, Guillen (n.d.) lists the following possible motivators for PAS:
– Because of perceived wrongs during the relationship, the alienating parent may express anger towards the other parent by means of PAS
– Projection of childhood issues that are projected now onto the ex-partner
– Personality disorder, such as narcissism or paranoia that hinders the alienating parent from seeing the harm they cause to the child
– Over-identification with the mother role or with the child that lead to the perception of competition over the child
– Their environment and family may push some alienators for their wrong motivation
A cause may be the lack of own and promoted independence, which can also be culturally be influenced (e.g., individualistic and collectivist cultures). A mother can keep “spoiling” the child for longer as would be age-appropriate. For example, a mother would insist on sleeping in the same bed (and even same time (with the child, although the child would be developmentally ready for more reasonable independence (Major, n.d.).
The control desire of a mother can also lead to a strict time management to ensure permanent supervision, why she may even prefer to send the child to nursing school/kindergarten rather than allowing time with the father.
How to recognize PAS
Early recognition of the symptoms of parental alienation help to prevent damage to the child (Darnall, 1997). Most alienated fathers who have become distanced from their daughter lost contact unwillingly and mostly as a result of parental alienation (Kruk, 2013, April 25).
Besides a possible apparently limited time allowed to spend with one’s child, the child’s behavior can also be a sign of its exposure to alienation practices. Guillen (n.d.) describes, amongst others, the following possible signals shown by the alienated child:
– Bad-mouthing the father
– Giving no explanation for anger towards the father
– Doesn’t show empathy towards the targeted parent
– Doesn’t want to have contact with the father’s friend and family
– May not want to see or talk to the alienated parent/father
How to best handle PAS
While being stable, constructive, correct, loving and strong (i.e., forgiving offensive alienation signals), parents best would visit a thorough parenting course to increase parenting skills (Major, n.d.) and open the communication with each other. For litigation purpose, any parenting efforts, even if they are not recognized, a father should document his efforts. Some ex-partners may be unsupportive of collaboration in any way, why a therapy wouldn’t be successful neither though and more creative approaches would be required, including a break in the relationship with the alienating parent, a revitalization of the child-father relationship, and the restoration of the power imbalance (Stines, 2017).
Will alienated children ever understand what happened to them? They need in any case someone who recognizes PAS and can help them to reunify whenever it is possible. That’s a loving parent’s task, and hopefully the ‘Loving Parent/Father Initiative’ makes a helpful contribution to that goal. Take care of yourself, so you have the strength to take care of your child, whatever it takes.
Darnall, D. (1997). Symptoms of Parental Alienation. Retrieved from https://www.parentalalienation.com/articles/symptoms-parental-alienation.html
Gatekeeper_parent. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology
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.
Nach der Scheidung der Eltern sind regelmäßige Übernachtungen mit Papa am besten für die meisten kleinen Kinder (Professor Richard A. Warshak)
Das Bewusstsein wächst, dass auch für getrennte Eltern geteilte Elternschaft am besten für ihre Kinder ist
Wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse machen deutlich, dass Fehlinformationen und Politik rund um einseitige Sorgerechte überarbeitet werden müssen
Doppel-Standards bezüglich gemeinsamer Erziehung in Beziehungen und einseitigem Sorgerecht zugunsten eines Elternteils im Falle einer Scheidung oder Trennung führen dazu, dass Kinder ihre einzigartig beitragenden Väter verlieren
Babys und Kleinkinder brauchen liebevolle und sensible Väter
Kinder profitieren von mehreren Betreuern, die bezüglich ihrer Bedürfnisse lieb und aufmerksam sind
Abgesehen von mystischen Irrglauben gibt es nichts, was dafür spricht, dass Mütter von Natur aus besser dazu geeignet wären, sich um Kinder zu kümmern
Unmittelbar nach der Trennung sollte Betreuungszeit rund um die Uhr von beiden Eltern optimiert werden, so dass die Kinder nicht einen der beiden liebenden Elternteile verlieren
Balanced and meaningful contact with each parent in the course of everyday life is a most powerful predictor of a child’s future health, well-being, and positive social functioning
Maternal and paternal parenting is equally important for a child’s well-being
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
More frequent contact with fathers brings benefits but does not come at the expense of the quality of the mother– child relationships.
Doing things differently by / with the father is OK
Time distribution arrangements that ensure the involvement of both parents in important aspects of their children’s everyday lives and routines—including bedtime and waking rituals, transitions to and from school, and extracurricular and recreational activities—are likely to keep nonresidential parents playing psychologically important and central roles in the lives of their children.
There is no evidence to support postponing the introduction of regular and frequent involvement
Spending half time as a parent with infants and toddlers is more than sufficient to support children’s needs. Thus, to maximize children’s chances of having a good and secure relationship with each parent, both parents are encouraged to maximize the time they spend with their children. Parents have no reason to worry if they share parenting time up to 50/50
Two-thirds of Swedish preschoolers with non-cohabiting parents live in two homes
Zusammenfassung der wesentlichen Punkte
Ausgewogener und aussagekräftiger Kontakt mit jedem Elternteil im Alltag ist der wichtigste bestimmende Faktor für des Kindes Zukunft, Wohlbefinden und positive soziale Funktionieren
Die mütterliche und väterliche Erziehung ist für das Wohl eines Kindes gleichermaßen wichtig
Die Forschung bezüglich Kinder-Übernachtungen mit Väter begünstigt den Standpunkt, dass Kinder unter vier Jahren nachts mit je beiden Elternteilen sein können, und nicht jede Nacht im selben Haushalt verbringen müssen
Häufigerer Kontakt mit Vätern bringt Vorteile, geht jedoch nicht zu Lasten der Qualität der Mutter-Kind-Beziehung
Die Dinge mit/von dem Vater anders machen ist OK
Sorgerechtsvereinbarungen, welche die Einbeziehung beider Eltern in wichtige Aspekte ihres Alltagslebens und -routinen sicher stellen, einschließlich Schlafenszeit- und Aufweck-Rituale, Bringen und Holen von der Schule, und außerschulische und Freizeitaktivitäten, sind geeignet die psychologisch wichtige und zentrale Rolle der Eltern im Leben ihrer Kinder zu bewahren.
Es gibt keine Nachweise, die das Verschieben der Einführung regelmäßiger und häufiger Erziehungs-Beteiligungen unterstützen würden
Als ein Elternteil ist das Verbringen der Hälfte der Zeit mit einem Kleinkind mehr als ausreichend, um dessen Bedürfnissen gerecht zu werden. Folglich, um die Chancen der Kinder zu maximieren, eine gute und sichere Beziehung mit jedem Elternteil zu haben, werden beide Eltern ermutigt, die Zeit zu maximieren, die sie mit ihren Kindern verbringen. Eltern haben keinen Grund zur Sorge, wenn sie die Elternzeit bis zu 50/50 teilen
Zwei Drittel der schwedischen Vorschulkinder mit nicht zusammenlebenden Eltern leben in zwei Haushalten
Research details with references
Importance of family and parenting environment
Piotrowska et al. (2016) Pathways to health, well-being and positive social functioning have their roots in childhood. Perhaps the most powerful predictor of these pathways is the quality of early family and parenting environments to which the child is exposed.
Jurczyk and Klinkhardt (2014) The family is the first context for a child’s development, and the most important. …. In their daily interactions, children, mothers and fathers learn from and with one another. They develop empathy and a sense of responsibility, and learn to deal with conflict. Values, beliefs and norms, passed on from parents to children; evolve in the course of everyday life. Thus parents exert an enormous influence on their children’s educational opportunities and overall life chances – as research in Germany and other countries has clearly shown. (p. 3)
Warshak (2016) Young children’s interests benefit when two adequate parents follow a parenting plan that provides their children with balanced and meaningful contact with each parent.
Definition of shared / joint parenting
Pruett (2014) Joint decision making (joint legal custody) and shared parenting time (joint physical custody).
Importance of having time alone with parents
Bastaits and Mortelmans (2014) Results reveal that the impact of maternal and paternal parenting is equally important to the well-being of children. This remains the same for both children in joint custody and in families with non-residential fathers. Parental support has a particularly strong effect in improving the well-being of children. The parenting of divorced fathers is therefore just as important to the well-being of children as is the parenting of divorced mothers. (p. 351)
Wilson and Prior (2010) What they believed was important for children in having this time together alone (with their father) again featured love and closeness (attachment), and the opportunity to demonstrate both their difference to their partner (doing things differently) and their parenting importance and competence as being equal to that of the mother (co-parenting). … The importance to fathers of their love and affection for their children was clearly evident in the current study, and the opportunity for unique father–child time may be important in the formation of father–child attachment.
Importance of overnight stays with both parents
Warshak (2016) 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. We find the theoretical and practical considerations favoring overnights for most young children to be more compelling than concerns that overnights might jeopardize children’s development. …. Overnights create potential benefits related to the logistics of sharing parenting time.
Warshak (2016) Parenting schedules that offer the father and child 2-hr blocks of time together, two or three times per week, can unduly stress their contacts. Consider the logistics of loading a baby and necessary paraphernalia in a car, driving to the father’s residence, unloading the car, feeding the child, and helping the child become accustomed to the surroundings. If the child has to be returned within 2 hours of being picked up by the father, this leaves little time for relaxed interaction. Overnights help to reduce the tension associated with rushing to return the child, and thus potentially improve the quality and satisfaction of the contact both for the parent and child. Overnights allow the child to settle in to the father’s home, which would be more familiar to the child who regularly spends the night in the home compared with one who has only 1-hr segments in the home (allowing for transportation and preparation for the return trip). The physical spaces in which father– child interactions take place influence the nature and types of interaction, and affect the father’s identity as a parent (Marsiglio, Roy, & Fox, 2005). Spending the night allows the father to participate in a wider range of bonding activities, such as engaging in bedtime rituals and comforting the child in the event of nighttime awakenings. An additional advantage of overnights is that in the morning the father can return the child to the daycare; this avoids exposing the child to tensions associated with the parents’ direct contact with each other. … Depriving young children of overnights with their fathers could compromise the quality of their developing relationship.
Advantage of different households with different cultures and languages
Sims and Coley (2016) Analyses revealed significant differences in inputs by ethnic/language group membership and significant associations between both maternal and paternal inputs and children’s skills. These associations did not differ across ethnic/language group membership. Practice or Policy: These results point to the importance of promoting rich home language and literacy environments across diverse households regardless of the language in which they take place or the parent from which they derive. (p. 495)
Relationship between daughter and biological father
Flynn (2015) A child recognizes biological ties within their immediate and extended family.
Gežová Katarína (2015) One of the serious problems caused by the absence of one of the parents during the upbringing process is a missing opportunity to achieve sexual identity by identification with the parent of the same gender and differentiation from parent with the opposite gender. “Child needs both parents, especially due the differences between the genders, the mental selfhood of man and woman, who complement each other as two halves forming one whole unit. A child, who is, for any reason, brought up only by a father or mother, is literally lacking the second half. And this can originate to a miscellaneous life and personal complications.”
Gežová Katarína (2015) A daughter who did not experience a father’s love may arrive at a conviction that it is normal and can end up in the relationships which will not satisfy and fulfil her.
Relationship between mother and daughter
Warshak (2016) More frequent contact with fathers brings benefits but does not come at the expense of the quality of the mother– child relationships. The research reviewed earlier on parenting time in intact families shows that the average infant in the United States spends less than half time in the care of the mother and even less time receiving direct care from her. Combined with the daycare studies, this research should put to rest the idea that children are inevitably harmed by extended separations from their mothers. (p. 58)
Pruett (2014) We believe that, when all potential hazards are addressed, shared parenting offers unparalleled opportunities for families to reorganize and sustain their better selves after separation to ensure that children continue to be nurtured by parents whose collaboration sets a path for a strong family future. (p. 171)
Warshak (2016) Shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children. (p. 59/60)
Martínez-Pampliega et al. (2015) … The aim of such responsibility is to try and create a suitable climate and foster positive relationships with children, irrespective of what the other partner does and irrespective of whether conflict is present which, at times, may be inevitable between ex-partners. (p. 3791)
Warshak (2016) A multidisciplinary group of experts, sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, met in 1994 to evaluate the empirical evidence regarding the ways in which children are affected by divorce and the impact of various custody arrangements. This group issued a report (Lamb, Sternberg, & Thompson, 1997) with the following conclusion relevant to parenting plans for young children: To maintain high-quality relationships with their children, parents need to have sufficiently extensive and regular interaction with them, but the amount of time involved is usually less important than the quality of the interaction that it fosters. Time distribution arrangements that ensure the involvement of both parents in important aspects of their children’s everyday lives and routines—including bedtime and waking rituals, transitions to and from school, extracurricular and recreational activities—are likely to keep nonresidential parents playing psychologically important and central roles in the lives of their children. How this is accomplished must be flexibly tailored to the developmental needs, temperament, and changing individual circumstances of the children concerned (p. 400). (p. 59)
Warshak (2016) 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. Child developmental theory and data show that babies normally form attachments to both parents and that a parent’s absence for long periods of time jeopardizes the security of these attachments. Evidence regarding the amount of parenting time in intact families and regarding the impact of daycare demonstrates that spending half time with infants and toddlers is more than sufficient to support children’s needs. 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. Parents have no reason to worry if they share parenting time up to 50/50 when this is compatible with the logistics of each parent’s schedule.
Warshak (2016) Parenting plans that provide children with contact no more than six days per month with a parent, and require the children to wait more than a week between contacts, tax the parent–child relationships. This type of limited access schedule risks compromising the foundation of the parent–child bond. It deprives children of the type of relationship and contact that most children want with both parents. The research supports the growing trend of statutory law and case law that encourages maximizing children’s time with both parents. This may be even more important for young children in order to lay a strong foundation for their relationships with their fathers and to foster security in those relationships.
Warshak (2016) There is no evidence to support postponing the introduction of regular and frequent involvement, including over-nights, of both parents with their babies and toddlers. Maintaining children’s attachment relationships with each parent is an important consideration when developing parenting plans. The likelihood of maintaining these relationships is maximized by reducing the lengths of separations between children and each parent and by providing adequate parenting time for each parent. Such arrangements allow each parent to learn about the child’s individual needs and to hone parenting skills most appropriate for each developmental period.
Fransson (2016) Joint physical custody, i.e., children spending an equal amount of time in both parents’ home after a separation or divorce, is increasing in many countries. In line with the national policy to promote paternal involvement in parenting, two-thirds of Swedish preschoolers with non-cohabiting parents live in two homes. Internationally, there has been a debate regarding the benefits or risks with joint physical custody for infants and toddlers. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the reasons given by divorced parents for sharing joint physical custody of children 0–4 years of age. Interviews were conducted with 46 parents (18 fathers and 28 mothers) and analyzed using systematic text condensation. Two themes emerged in response to the research question. In the theme Same rights and responsibilities, parents described that joint physical custody was ‘a given’ as both parents were seen to have equal rights to and responsibility for the children. Both men and women described involved father- hood as an ideal goal. In the theme For the sake of the child, parents emphasized that joint physical custody was in the best interest of the child. Some parents had conflicts with their ex-spouses, but were still convinced of the benefits of joint physical custody and strove to make it work. (p. 154)
Warshak (2016) There is no evidence to support postponing the introduction of regular and frequent involvement, including over- nights, of both parents with their babies and toddlers. Maintaining children’s attachment relationships with each parent is an important consideration when developing parenting plans. The likelihood of maintaining these relationships is maximized by reducing the lengths of separations between children and each parent and by providing adequate parenting time for each parent.
Medeiros, Gouveia, Canavarro, and Moreira (2016) The child’s perception of security in the relationship with their parents mediated the link between the mindful parenting of both parents and the well-being of their child, and these associations were not moderated by the child’s age. Our findings suggest that mindful parenting is positively associated with a child’s well-being through a more secure perception of the relationship with the parents. This result highlights the importance of including mindful parenting practices in parental training programs directed at both mothers and fathers of children and adolescents with the aim of promoting a more secure parent-child relationship and, consequently, the child’s well-being. (p. 916)
Bastaits, K., & Mortelmans, D. (2014). Does the Parenting of Divorced Mothers and Fathers Affect Children’s Well-Being in the Same Way?. Child Indicators Research, 7(2), 351-367.
Flynn, S. I. (2015). Alternative Family Structures. Research Starters: Sociology (Online Edition),
Fransson (2016) Why should they live more with one of us when they are children to us both?: Parents’ motives for practicing equal joint physical custody for children aged 0-4. (2016). Children and youth services review, 154. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.05.011
Gežová Katarína, C. (2015). Father’s and Mother’s Roles and Their Particularities in Raising Children. Acta Technologica Dubnicae, Vol 5, Iss 1, Pp 45-50 (2015), (1), 45. doi:10.1515/atd-2015-0032
Jurczyk, K., & Klinkhardt, J. (2014). Father, Mother, Child? Eight Trends in Family Life for Policymakers to Keep in Mind. Summary.
Martínez-Pampliega, A., Aguado, V., Corral, S., Cormenzana, S., Merino, L., & Iriarte, L. (2015). Protecting Children After a Divorce: Efficacy of Egokitzen-An Intervention Program for Parents on Children’s Adjustment. Journal Of Child & Family Studies, 24(12), 3782-3792. doi:10.1007/s10826-015-0186-7
Medeiros, C., Gouveia, M. J., Canavarro, M. C., & Moreira, H. (2016). The indirect effect of the mindful parenting of mothers and fathers on the child’s perceived well-being through the child’s attachment to parents. Mindfulness, 7(4), 916-927. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0530-z
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This initiative is for our daughters, for all children missing their fathers, and for the sad dads (and mothers) who are suffering from the socially perpetuated uncritical assumption that mothers would be naturally and culturally predestined to be the sole caregiver for a couple’s child. Although a family’s benefit from father’s involvement in child rearing has been demonstrated, mothers who are trying to fulfill social expectations to be a single mom and even “maternal gate-keeping” have persisted to be a controlling practice hindering the participation of the children’s fathers. Children and fathers in many cases/societies don’t have a legal voice at all. Countries are still failing to uphold a UN convention setting out children’s rights to maintain relationships with both parents.
Separation or divorce is the result of problems between parents. It is not the children’s fault. But it does affect children a lot. Therefore it is about protecting the rights of children to have two loving parents fully involved in their lives wherever possible, to the benefit of the children, their families, and wider society. Children have the right to meaningful contact with both parents. Although 50/50 time share enforcement may be unpractical, to maintain an emotionally close relationship a 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.
Without fathers having done something wrong, the socio-cultural environment and some mothers themselves can be non-supportive regarding equality in parenting, even in cases where mutual parenting would be logistically feasible. For children at any age, anger, anxiety, and sadness can carry the risk to lead to depression and developmental problems. Are you concerned and missing the cooperation from your partner to find a solution suitable for the child? Then it is time to take the ‘Loving Father Initiative.’ Let’s prove our daughters that we care. We show that we are active for them, by:
Building awareness regarding the state of research and parenting practices in the interest of the child (articles, research summary, and references) -> See content below
Sharing our experiences how we express our love for our daughters/sons (e.g., by engaging in father related organizations or blogs, writing letters or diaries, creating dedicated art, or communicating in any other (indirect, over distance) symbolic way with our child. Just financial commitment may not be specific enough here)
COMMENT Share your story, your suggestions, and questions with us. To do so, please use the comment section on the bottom of this post
SUBSCRIBE Stay connected and informed, by using the subscription page where you can select ‘Loving Father Initiative (LFI)’, or you can subscribe to the whole site on the right side email-registration bar
SIGN THE PETITION Please sign the LFI petition
You may lose against lawyers, but by taking this initiative as a loving father, you can never get accused of not having listened to your heart and of not having considered the latest state of research and good practice that is in the interest of the child. So, let’s spread the word and not give up!
May a lot of positive signs of love create the energy and traces that are and will be the bonds for a healthy relationship with our child, providing the necessary guidance, attention, and instruction from us as their loving dad. May this initiative also help mothers rethink the “motherhood mystique” and the related one-sided pressure it puts on their shoulders as single mothers, as well as equipping them with common sense, scientific knowledge and encouragement to provide their children the best conditions for a happy parent-child relationship and successful personal development.
It is important to strengthen all involved parties in the acknowledgment of facts against the established misinformation that is still guiding public opinion and policies causing children losing their father’s care.
The terms ‘child,’ ‘daughter,’ and ‘son’ are used interchangeably.
There may be mothers experiencing possible discrimination related to child rearing too. So, please feel welcome to share your experience regardless of gender
Weisst, meine Tocher, du bist mir das Wichtigste. Dein liebender Vater
Willkommen zur ‘Liebender Vater Initiative‘
Diese Initiative ist für unsere Töchter, für alle Kinder, die ihre Väter vermissen, sowie für die traurigen Väter (und Mütter), die unter der gesellschaftlich fortbestehenden unkritischen Annahme leiden, dass Mütter natürlich und kulturell prädestiniert wären, die alleinige Betreuerin für ein Kind zu sein. Obwohl familiäre Vorteile von der Beteiligung des Vaters an der Kindererziehung nachgewiesen wurde, versuchen Mütter soziale Erwartungen zu erfüllen und Alleinerziehung zu erzwingen, was die die Teilnahme der leiblichen Väter behindert. Kinder und Väter haven oft keine rechtliche Unterstützung. Länder sind immer noch immer nicht in der Lage, dem UN-Übereinkommen nach zu kommen, welches festlegt, dass Kinder das Recht für die Aufrecherhaltung beider Elternbeziehungen besitzen. Trennung oder Scheidung ist das Ergebnis von Problemen zwischen den Eltern. Es ist nicht die Schuld der Kinder. Die Kinder sind jedoch sehr betroffen. Deshalb geht es darum, die Rechte der Kinder zu schützen, um zwei liebende Eltern wo immer möglich voll und ganz in ihr Leben einzubeziehen, zum Nutzen der Kinder, ihrer Familien und der breiteren Gesellschaft. Kinder haben das Recht auf sinnvollen Kontakt mit beiden Elternteilen. Die Durchsetzung einer zeitlichen 50/50 Regelung kann unpraktisch sein. Es ist jedoch klar, dass für eine emotional enge Beziehung das Engagement eines Vaters in alltäglichen Aktivitäten, in Schlafenszeit Rituale erforderlich ist, das über ein paar Stunden Spielzeit ein- oder zweimal pro Woche hinaus geht. Ohne dass Väter Unrecht getan hätten, so können die soziokulturelle Umgebung und einige Mütter selbst die Gleichstellung in der Erziehung verhindern, auch wenn die gegenseitige Erziehung logistisch möglich wäre. Für Kinder jeden Alters können Ärger, Angst und Traurigkeit Risiken bergen, die zu Depressionen und Entwicklungsproblemen führen. Bist du besorgt und vermisst die Zusammenarbeit von deinem Partner, um eine kindgerechte Lösung zu finden? Dann ist es Zeit für die “Loving Pater Initiative”. Lass uns unseren Töchter beweisen, dass wir uns um sie kümmern. Wir zeigen, dass wir für sie aktiv sind, indem wir:
Das Bewusstsein für den Stand der Forschung und Erziehungspraktiken im Interesse des Kindes fördern (Artikel, Forschungszusammenfassung und Referenzen) -> Siehe Inhalt unten
Unsere Erfahrungen bezüglich unseres Ausdrucks der Liebe für unsere Töchter / Söhne teilen (z. B. indem wir in entsprechenden Organisationen oder Blogs beitragen, Briefe oder Tagebücher schreiben, Kunst kreieren oder in irgend einer anderen Form (indirekt, über Distanz) mit unserer Tochter symbolisch kommunizieren. Nur finanzielle Beiträge sind hier nicht spezifisch genug)
KOMMENTIERE Teile deine Story, deine Vorschläge und Fragen mit uns. Bitte benutze dazu die Kommentar Box weiter unten auf dieser Seite
ABONNIERE Bleibe verbunden und informiert. Bitte benutze dazu die „Subscribe“ Seite, wo du ‘Loving Father Initiative (LFI)’ auswählen kannst, oder abonniere die Seite mit der Email-Registration in der Seitenleiste
UNTERZEICHNE DIE PETITION Unterzeichne die Petition [pdb_signup]
Gegen Anwälte mag kein Ankommen sein, aber durch das Unterzeichnen dieser Initiative als liebender Vater können wir den Vorwurf verwerfen, dass wir nicht auf unser Herz gehört und den neuesten Stand der Forschung/Praxis berücksichtigt hätten, welche im Interesse des Kindes ist. Also, lass uns die Nachricht weiter verbreiten und nicht aufgeben! Mögen viele positive Zeichen der Liebe die Energie und Spuren hinterlassen, die unsere Bande mit unserem Kind für eine väterliche Beziehung aufrecht erhalten. Mögen wir so schlussendlich die Führung , Aufmerksamkeit und Hilfe eines liebenden Vaters erbringen, die unser Kind für eine gesunde und glückliche Kindheit benötigt. Und möge diese Initiative auch den Müttern helfen, die “Mutterschaft Mystik” und den damit verbundenen einseitigen Druck so bald wie möglich zu überdenken, den sie auf ihre Schultern als einzelne Mütter laden.
Es ist wichtig, alle beteiligten Parteien in der Kenntnis der Fakten gegen die etablierten Fehlinformationen zu stärken, die immer noch die öffentliche Meinung und Politik nicht davor bewahren, Kinder gegen den Verlust ihrer sorgenden Väter zu schützen.
Die Begriffe ‘Kind,’, ‘Tochter,’ und ‘Sohn’ sind synonym verwendet
Möglicherweise gibt es Mütter, die ebenfalls Diskriminierung im Zusammenhang mit der Kindererziehung erleben. Es ist jedermann und jederfrau geschlechtsunabhängig willkommen, ihre/seine Erfahrungen zu teilen
Human aggressive behavior is any intentional causation of harm to others, and increasingly severe acts of aggression can represent even violence (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). Anderson and Bushman (2002) distinguish between instrumental and hostile aggression, the former being a means to reach a goal and the latter being a reactive impulse to harm an opponent. Relational aggression, as defined by Oka, Brown, and Miller (2016), constitutes a specialty of emotional (vs. physical) aggression that involves third parties, such as is the case of social sabotage, to damage relationships and hurt the victim through the unfulfilled need of belonging in those relationships.