Tag Archives: Parenting

Trinity warriors: A loving mother and father fight for a child’s right for both parents

As with predominant dualistic thinking, (parent-children) relationships are also wrongly understood as between two parties. It seems to be the insecure ego’s desire to own a person. A trinity warrior, on the other hand, doesn’t have to control through exclusive possession. Instead, he or she recognizes an individual’s right to be complete by one’s own and to maintain other relationships with both parents too.

Take the mother, who can separate her romantic bonding from exclusive rights on the common child. Look at the father, who respects the child’s need to have a mother and a father. Real adults know that balanced and meaningful contact with each parent in everyday life is a most powerful predictor of a child’s future health, well-being, and positive social functioning. Responsible parents respect that maternal and paternal parenting is equally vital for a child’s well-being.

Time distribution arrangements that ensure the involvement of both parents in essential 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. The insecurely egoistic parent, in contrast, practices parental gatekeeping and works towards alienating the other parent to let their selfish urge win over reason and the well-being of others. That’s not right; we all can feel it. And, there is plenty of research showing the benefits of shared/joint parenting(https://mathias-sager.com/2017/05/23/shared-parenting-research-geteilte-kinderfursorge-forschung/).  

#acrylicpainting #painting #art #artist #abstractart #abstract #modernart #contemporaryart #psychology #philosophy #awarenessintelligence #awareness #parents #parenthood #children #figurativepainting #figurativeabstract

Separation: The Mother of Frustration


Like a nation‘s immigration
So its mothers’ alienation
Strategy for protection
Through separation

Like a society’s identification
So its mothers’ justification
Need for appreciation
Through separation

Like a family’s condition
So its mother’s assertion
Status for position
Through separation

How do you define …

How do you define ‘right’
If you know only black and white
Asks a pen the other
When denied to draw together

How do you define ‘between’
If you know only up and down
Asks a pair of hands
When denied to come to terms

How do you define ‘family’
If you know only friend and enemy
Asks a father the mother
When denied to see his daughter

How do you define ‘collaborators’
If you know only in- and outsiders
Asks a colleague the other
When denied to add his matter

How do you define ‘life’
If you know only birth and death
Asks a thought the conscious
When denied to become perpetuous

To truly love a child

I have lost the child

Of a lonely man

Not in an accident nor war

A suffering psyche of scar

Has lost peace to seed

Fear’s possessive greed

Of a mother’s doubt what could be

If she were free

To truly love


I have won the children

Of all world’s men

Not by fighting back to win

A loving heart within

Has found peace to share

Forgiveness to take care

Of a father’s knowing what can be

Because he’s free

To truly love

Metacognitive Strategies for Learning (LD) vs. Intellectual Disabilities (ID)


Summary. This article describes some metacognitive strategies to learner profiles and then evaluates those strategies for individuals of different ages with intellectual and learning disabilities. In order to do so, different variables that effect those with intellectual and learning disabilities are identified. Social and cultural implications, as well as life span stages and interpersonal communication are discussed.

Continue reading Metacognitive Strategies for Learning (LD) vs. Intellectual Disabilities (ID)

History and Philosophy of Learning Theory


Introspection as the scientific method had to give place to behavioral psychology in the nineteenth century [1], which opposed mentalist approaches to the study of associative mechanisms in learned behavior [2] with rigorous observable laboratory experiments and animal behavior training as performed by B.F. Skinner [3] (Figure 1.). Associationists like E. Thorndike believed in biological processes which construe memory in the form of neuronal connections in the brain [1]. Reinforcement, for example in the form of dopamine rewards, was considered necessary feedback for learning enablement [4]. Today there is substantial evidence that learning can happen without this kind of reinforcement though [5]. The classical conditioning (Figure 2.) through basic physical stimulation proven too simplistic, Ivan Pavlov introduced a second system allowing for linguistic inputs too [2]. L.S. Vygotsky considered language as a requirement for the human ability to analyze the world by cognitively separating real-world objects from related conceptualizations [6]. Signs and symbols allow a shared subjectivity, e.g., between teacher and student [7]. Verbal animal behavior is studied to find roots for the development of human language sophistication [8].

Skinner.pngFigure 1. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning Quadrant

Pavlov.pngFigure 2. Pavlov’s classical conditioning

Cognitive Approach to Learning

Noam Chomsky criticized that animal verbal behavior might follow different principles that wouldn’t allow generalization attempts to human behavior [3]. The lack of real-life conditions in the laboratory environments and the difficulty to repeat animal experiments in wild life [8], ethical constraints in animal research limiting invasive practices [21], utterly operant-mathematical approaches, and an over-emphasis on language opened the way towards cognitive approaches beyond the study of language [2]. The negligence of instinct’s role, as proven by Konrad Lorenz to be relevant for imprinting mechanisms in learning (Figure 3.), also brought behaviorism into critique [9]. Vygotsky’s developmental method of research of the human species was re-discovered [10]. Around the same time, after the mid of the twentieth century, Jean Piaget’s schema theory (Figure 4.) introduced the concepts of assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration as the developmental cognitive principles of his influential genetics based philosophy [11].

Konrad Lorenz.pngFigure 3. Konrad Lorenz’ Imprinting

Piaget schema.png

Figure 4. Piaget’s Schema stages

After 1980, intelligence, especially Howard E. Gardner’s multiple intelligences (Figure 5.) (but also, Robert J. Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence [12], as well as his personality characteristics related to thinking styles [13]), were taken into account in education programs [12]. Autonomous learning raised from Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (Figure 6.) noticing that human behavior is about willful and context-dependent mental processes [14]. Innate needs for competence, as described by Skinner [16], and Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory further contributed to the motivational aspect of learning [15].

Gardner multiple intelligences

Figure 5. Gardner’s multiple intelligences

Bandura social cognitive theory.pngFigure 6. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory


Piaget and Vygotsky both construct human development holistically from transactional, relational, and situational thinking perspectives [17]. Such a constructivism also implies that education is about active learning rather than teaching [18], putting the focus on human growth experience instead of economic principles [19]. Vygotsky with his socio-cultural approach to psychological development (Figure 7.) is, in my opinion, best reflecting Plato’s principle of “the meaning of the world is embedded in the experience of the world” (p. 399) reminding us that the theory of learning remains a dynamic and context-sensitive science going forward [20].

Vygotsky socio-cultural developmentFigure 7. Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural approach



[1] Malone, J. C. (2014). Did John B. Watson really ‘found’ behaviorism?. The Behavior Analyst, 37(1), 1-12. doi:10.1007/s40614-014-0004-3

[2] Jerome, B. (2004). A Short History of Psychological Theories of Learning. Daedalus, (1), 13.

[3] Palmer, D. ). (2006). On Chomsky’s appraisal of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior: A half century of misunderstanding. Behavior Analyst, 29(2), 253-267.

[4] Jeff A, B. (2012). Thorndike’s Law 2.0: Dopamine and the regulation of thrift. Frontiers In Neuroscience, Vol 6 (2012), doi:10.3389/fnins.2012.00116/full

[5] Artino, A. J. (2007). Bandura, Ross, and Ross: Observational Learning and the Bobo Doll.

[6] Chuprikova, N. (2016). Unknown Vygotsky: Cultural-Historical Theory in the Context of Pavlov’s Theory of Higher Nervous Activity and H. Werner’s Differential Development Theory. Kulʹturno-Istoričeskaâ Psihologiâ, Vol 12, Iss 3, Pp 232-246 (2016), (3), 232. doi:10.17759/chp.2016120313

[7] Pardjono, P. (2016). Active Learning: The Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Constructivist Theory Perspectives. Jurnal Ilmu Pendidikan, Vol 9, Iss 3 (2016), (3), doi:10.17977/jip.v9i3.487

[8] Reznikova, Z. (2007). Dialog with black box: using Information Theory to study animal language behaviour. Acta Ethologica10 (1), 1–12.

[9] Átima Clemente Alves, Z. (2007). Instinto, etologia e a teoria de Konrad Lorenz / Instinct, etology and the Konrad Lorenz theory. Ciência & Educação (Bauru), (3), 337. doi:10.1590/S1516-73132007000300005

[10] Salonen, L. (2013). L. S. Vygotsky’s psychology and theory of learning applied to the rehabilitation of aphasia: A developmental and systemic view. Aphasiology, 27(5), 615-635. doi:10.1080/02687038.2013.780284

[11] Zhang, Z. (2015). Assimilation, Accommodation, and Equilibration: A Schema-Based Perspective on Translation as Process and as Product. International Forum Of Teaching & Studies, 11(1/2), 84-89.

[12] Ekinci, B. (2014). The relationships among Sternberg’s Triarchic Abilities, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and academic achievement. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 42(4), 625-633.

[13] Nahla, A. (2017). Differences in styles of thinking ‘In Light of Sternberg’s Theory’: A case study of different educational levels in Saudi Arabia. Journal Of Technology And Science Education, Vol 7, Iss 3, Pp 333-346 (2017), (3), 333. doi:10.3926/jotse.291

[14] Ponton, M. K., & Rhea, N. E. (2006). Autonomous Learning from a Social Cognitive Perspective. New Horizons In Adult Education & Human Resource Development, 20(2), 38-49.

[15] Joko, S., & Sri Wiwoho, M. (2017). Motivation Engineering to Employee by Employees Abraham Maslow Theory. Journal Of Education, Teaching And Learning, Vol 2, Iss 1, Pp 86-92 (2017), (1), 86.

[16] Fryer, L. K. (2017). Building Bridges: Seeking Structure and Direction for Higher Education Motivated Learning Strategy Models. Educational Psychology Review, 29(2), 325-344.

[17] Vianna, E., & Stetsenko, A. (2006). Embracing History through Transforming It: Constrasting Piagetian versus Vygotskian (Activity) Theories of Learning and Development to Expand Contructivs within a Dialectical View of History. Theory & Psychology, 16(1), 81-108. doi:10.1177/095934306060108

[18] Cattaneo, K. H. (2017). Telling Active Learning Pedagogies Apart: From Theory to Practice. Journal Of New Approaches In Educational Research, 6(2), 144-152.

[19] Illeris, K. (2015). The Development of a Comprehensive and Coherent Theory of Learning. European Journal Of Education, 50(1), 29-40.

[20] Spector, J. (2001). Philosophical implications for the design of instruction. Instructional Science29 (4/5), 381–402.

[21] Rollin, B. (2006). The regulation of animal research and the emergence of animal ethics: A conceptual history. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 27 (4), 285–304.

Parental Gatekeeping and Alienation

mathias-sager-parental alienation

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.

Attachment and Moral Development Theory

mathias-sager-attachment-moral development


This essay evaluates whether “the fundamental problem of social psychology is the moralization of the individual by the society” (McDougall, 1908 as cited in [1], p.8). Also, how does attachment theory permeate aspects of human (and ecological) relationships [2], and how are emotional, moral, and identity development and personality theory aspects intertwined? Finally, implications are suggested regarding factors that have the potential to influence attachment style throughout the lifespan and across cultures.

Attachment Theory

According to John Bowlby’s attachment theory, a child develops a secure attachment style from experiencing availability and sensitivity from primary caregivers. In contrast, caregivers who are unavailable or insensitive cause a child developing insecure attachment, and abuse and threat lead to so-called disorganized attachment styles comprising of anxious and avoidant types [3]. Secure attachment style enables better relationships with oneself and others [3]. The preferred view of a natural need for a mother as the foundation for the traditional nuclear family that was propagated by the mid 20th-century society became challenged by Harlow’s experiments. Laboratory monkeys perished when deprived of their parents, but given a surrogate caregiver, they survived without a biological mother; they developed antisocial behavior due to the ‘machine-mother’s’ over-availability though [4]. Harlow found also that peer relationships (e.g., playmates) allowed monkey infants to survive maternal deprivation or abuse, while the absence of peer experiences left them psychologically damaged [4].

Attachment styles and their effects

Attachment style is predictive of health-promoting behavior, whereas insecure attachment increases the probability of engaging in unhealthy behavior, such as risky sexual relationships, substance abuse, and poor diet [5]. Avoidant attachment prevents an individual from effective socialization, communication, and problem-solving [6]. Individual differences in mindfulness in adolescence can be traced back to early childhood background [7]. A positive (vs. harsh, controlling, or uninvolving) parenting style is associated with lower relational aggression [8]. Secure attachment is predictive of seeking help and consequently getting support [9]. Collaboration, companionship, and support from classmates, co-workers, and family affect emotional processes that are decisive in academic success, which is especially challenging in intercultural environments with differing motivations and socio-emotional competencies. A student’s connection to the school determines school success [10]. Social and emotional learning (SEL) can strengthen self-esteem, competence, and social inclusion that is supportive of the social and emotional health of youth [10]. For adolescents, new close friendships satisfy age-appropriate attachment needs [11]. The importance of high-quality peer attachment in adolescence is reflected by its negative correlation with exposure to violence [12] and depression that often impacts later romantic relationships [11].

Adult relationships and social bonding

Both child-parent and romantic partnerships follow a process from pre-attachment to a goal-corrected partnership [13]. This bonding development towards a secure base is possible without secure attachment style of the partners. A couple defines each other as primary origin of support, whether this is effective or not [13]. Romantic relationships may compensate for insecure attachment and related adverse developmental consequences; therefore, a secure partner’s behavior may directly alleviate an avoidant or anxiously attached partner’s concerns [14]. Attachment in adulthood is also related to Hirschi’s Social Bonding Model. One’s attachment to norms as established by a workplace could be measured by job satisfaction that was found to be predictive of rule-breaking ideation and toleration [15].

Moral development

Is morality the result of socialization from child-rearing, education, and promotion of norms? Lawrence Kohlberg with his influential research on moral development from the 1960s onwards provided evidence that already young children care about the needs and suffering of others and take spontaneous action to help [16]. An indirect relationship between moral reasoning and attachment theory exists regarding secure attachment being favorable for cognitive development [17]. Early social relationships foster empathy [18], which might be important for moral behavior. A 7-month-old child’s lowered attentional bias toward fearful facial expressions and the resulting less intensive engagement with the social contact was found to be predictive for lower attachment security at the age of 14 months [19]. An infant’s egocentrism has to be seen as a cognitive inability to coordinate own and others perspectives [20]. Promisingly, instructions can positively stimulate the reaching of higher moral levels [21]. Kohlberg’s successive stages of moral development range from stage 1 that is guided by fear of punishment or seeking reward up to stage six that represents an independent and overarching orientation of moral principles [15].

Factors influencing attachment and moral development

Attachment style was reported to be modestly associated with some personality traits [22]. Lonely persons might have a less positive stance towards others, what can reinforce their insecure attachment style [23]. However, personality factors such as temperament and genetics are incapable of predicting attachment [19]. Women suffer more from avoidant attachment style than male in their romantic partnerships [24]. There is, however, no gender difference in moral perspectives evidenced [15]. Religion and culture, though, can be influential on attachment orientation [6].

Emotion regulation training proved to be positively impacting attachment when targeting self-esteem as the primary reason for insecure attachment [6]. When relationship difficulties are impeding self-worth with negative influences on secure attachment, the risk for anxiety and depression increases [22]. Social anxiety mediates attachment [25], why therapies addressing anxiety work well for insecure attachment treatment [26]. Insecure attachment has been successfully addressed by attachment-informed therapy promoting positive group relationships, e.g., in the context of substance abuse to substitute inter-personal relations [27]. Motherhood itself can strengthen a mother’s self-esteem and therefore help her improve her attachment security [28]. More than a third of people who grew up without a clear sense of belonging to a particular culture experience difficulties in establishing intimate friendships, but they use their shared transnational lifestyle to bond with others [29]. Social orientation, compliance, self-control, and self-esteem are seen as preconditions for moral development [30], which are, at the same time, factors that are necessary for the healthy growth of individuals in general too.

Photo credit: loilamtan (pixabay.com)


[1] Kohlberg, L. (2008). The development of children’s orientations toward a moral order: I. Sequence in the development of moral thought. Human Development, 51(1), 8-20. doi:10.1159/000112530

[2] Rubinstein, G., Tziner, A., & Bilig, M. (2012). Attachment, Relationship Quality and Stressful Life Events: A Theoretical Meta-Perspective and Some Preliminary Results. Revista De Psicologia Del Trabajo Y De Las Organizaciones, 28(3), 151-156.

[3] Barnes, R., & Josefowitz, N. (2014). Forensic assessment of adults reporting childhood sexualized assault: A lifespan developmental analysis. Psychological Injury And Law, 7(1), 18-33. doi:10.1007/s12207-014-9185-z

[4] Vicedo, M. (2009). Mothers, machines, and morals: Harry Harlow’s work on primate love from lab to legend. Journal Of The History Of The Behavioral Sciences, 45(3), 193-218. doi:10.1002/jhbs.20378

[5] Bekaroglu, E., & Özlem, B. (2017). The Relationship Between Attachment Styles, Emotion Regulation Strategies, and Health-Promoting Behaviors: Extreme Sports Participants Versus Non-Participants. Journal Of Clinical Sport Psychology, 11(2), 89-106.

[6] Tayebeh, R., Aliye, S., Morteza Modares, G., Saeed, V., Toktam, K., & Shadi, S. (2016). Effects of Emotion Regulation Training on Attachment Style of Primiparous Pregnant Women with Insecure Attachment. Journal Of Evidence-Based Care, Vol 6, Iss 1, Pp 19-28 (2016), (1), 19. doi:10.22038/ebcj.2016.6709

[7] Pepping, C. A., & Duvenage, M. (2016). The origins of individual differences in dispositional mindfulness. Personality And Individual Differences, 93130-136. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.05.027

[8] Kawabata, Y., Alink, L. R., Tseng, W., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Crick, N. R. (2011). Maternal and paternal parenting styles associated with relational aggression in children and adolescents: A conceptual analysis and meta-analytic review. Developmental Review, 31240-278. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2011.08.001

[9] Moran, P. (2007). Attachment style, ethnicity and help-seeking attitudes among adolescent pupils. British Journal Of Guidance & Counselling, 35(2), 205-218. doi:10.1080/03069880701256627

[10] Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.

[11] Gorrese, A. (2016). Peer Attachment and Youth Internalizing Problems: A Meta-Analysis. Child & Youth Care Forum, 45(2), 177-204.

[12] Heinze, J. )., Zimmerman, M. )., Cook, S. )., Wood, E. )., & Dumadag, A. ). (2017). Friendship Attachment Style Moderates the Effect of Adolescent Exposure to Violence on Emerging Adult Depression and Anxiety Trajectories. Journal Of Youth And Adolescence, 1-17. doi:10.1007/s10964-017-0729-x

[13] Sochos, A. (2014). Couple Attachment and Relationship Duration in Psychotherapy Patients: Exploring a New Methodology of Assessment. British Journal Of Guidance & Counselling, 42(2), 138-153.

[14] Bradford, A., Burningham, K., Sandberg, J., & Johnson, L. (2017). The Association between the Parent–Child Relationship and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression: The Roles of Attachment and Perceived Spouse Attachment Behaviors. Journal Of Marital And Family Therapy, 43(2), 291-307. doi:10.1111/jmft.12190

[15] Donleavy, G. (2008). No man’s land: Exploring the space between Gilligan and Kohlberg. Journal Of Business Ethics, 80(4), 807-822.

[16] Turiel, E. ). (2008). The development of children’s orientations toward moral, social, and personal orders: More than a sequence in development. Human Development, 51(1), 21-39. doi:10.1159/000113154

[17] Reimer, K. (2005). Revisiting moral attachment: Comment on identity and motivation. Human Development, 48(4), 262-266.

[18] Thompson, R. (2012). Whither the Preconventional Child? Toward a Life-Span Moral Development Theory. Child Development Perspectives, 6(4), 423-429.

[19] Attention to Faces Expressing Negative Emotion at 7 Months Predicts Attachment Security at 14 Months. (2015). Child Development, (5), 1321. doi:10.1111/cdev.12380

[20] Boom, J. (2011). Egocentrism in moral development: Gibbs, Piaget, Kohlberg. New Ideas In Psychology, 29(Special Issue: Cognitive Robotics and Reevaluation of Piaget Concept of Egocentrism), 355-363. doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2010.03.007

[21] Kohlberg and Piaget: differences and similarities. (1991). Journal of Moral Education, (1), 47.

[22] Surcinelli, P., Rossi, N., Montebarocci, O., & Baldaro, B. (2010). Adult Attachment Styles and Psychological Disease: Examining the Mediating Role of Personality Traits. Journal Of Psychology, 144(6), 523-534.

[23] Trémeau, F., Antonius, D., Malaspina, D., Goff, D. C., & Javitt, D. C. (2016). Loneliness in schizophrenia and its possible correlates. An exploratory study. Psychiatry Research, 246211-217. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.09.043

[24] Barry, C., Madsen, S., Nelson, L., Carroll, J., & Badger, S. (2009). Friendship and Romantic Relationship Qualities in Emerging Adulthood: Differential Associations with Identity Development and Achieved Adulthood Criteria. Journal Of Adult Development, 16(4), 209-222.

[25] Manes, S. )., Nodop, S. )., Altmann, U. )., Gawlytta, R. )., Strauss, B. )., Dinger, U. )., & … Willutzki, U. ). (2016). Social anxiety as a potential mediator of the association between attachment and depression. Journal Of Affective Disorders, 205264-268. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2016.06.060

[26] Ravitz, P., McBride, C., & Maunder, R. (2011). Failures in interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): factors related to treatment resistances. Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 67(11), 1129-1139. doi:10.1002/jclp.20850

[27] Fletcher, K., Nutton, J., & Brend, D. (2015). Attachment, A Matter of Substance: The Potential of Attachment Theory in the Treatment of Addictions. Clinical Social Work Journal, 43(1), 109. doi:10.1007/s10615-014-0502-5

[28] Buchholz, E. S., & Gol, B. (1986). More than playing house: A developmental perspective on the strengths in teenage motherhood. American Journal Of Orthopsychiatry, 56(3), 347-359. doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.1986.tb03468.x

[29] Jang, J. (2010). Transnational Student Identity Development through the Cosmopolite Lens: Benefits and Challenges of Straddling Cultures. Vermont Connection, 31136-146.

[30] Berkowitz, M. W., & Grych, J. (1998). Fostering goodness: Teaching parents to facilitate children’s moral development. Journal of Moral Education, 27, 371–391.

Fathers: More than a playmate


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. 

Continue reading Fathers: More than a playmate

Attachment Theory Applied to Social Media Interactions

mathias-sager-social media-attachment


  • Ubiquitous social media
  • Attachment style predicts social media use
  • Social media’s role in dating relationships & Social media addiction
  • Self-expression and branding in social media
  • Violent content and cyberbullying
  • Conclusion: Risks & opportunities

Continue reading Attachment Theory Applied to Social Media Interactions

The Oedipus Complex: Development of One’s Sexual Identity and the Risk for Neurosis


Summary. Sigmund Freud’s childhood development stages remain an influential idea. Out of the sequence of the oral, anal, phallic, and genital stages, the phallic phase between 3 and five years with its rise of the Oedipus complex seems to be a central psychic reference point. Freud’s Oedipus complex model suggests that overcoming the competition with one’s father or mother for the affection of the other parent (of opposite sex) is defining one’s sexual identity. Unsuccessful passing respectively suppression of the Oedipus complex risks to result in neurosis in later life.

Freud’s oedipal development phase

Considering Freud’s life development stages from childhood to adulthood may remain worthwhile to consider as child development may indeed provide a better conceptualization of the mind than research data from exclusively adult studies [1]. Models following the one of Freud, for example, the relational model by Melanie Klein, started to focus more on earlier mental development childhood phases [2]. Freud considered the phallic stage from around 3 to 5 years [3] to be the age when the Oedipus complex arises to become the central psychic reference point [4] and acting as the “nuclear complex of development” [5].

The Oedipus complex’ influence on personality development

What Freud discovered through self-analysis to be a child’s competition against the parent of the same sex for the one of the desired opposite sex remains very influential in modern psychoanalysis [6]. According to [4], the Oedipus complex is inherited by all human beings and therefore also explains everyone’s bisexuality and finally, according to how the Oedipus is overthrown, the development of sexual identity. The oedipal mechanism gets imprinted in the Ego as self-identification that influences the functioning of the Superego [4].

Development of neuroticism

According to Freud, how an individual is overcoming the Oedipus complex is determining whether he/she will develop neurosis [6]. In other words, suffering from an unresolved Oedipus complex leads, according to the oedipal theory, to increased neuroticism, letting people experience more and stronger negative feelings [7], such as jealousy and envy as directly resulting from Oedipal complexes. Consequently, Eysenck isn’t as elaborative as Freud in explaining the emergence of neuroticism when just saying that neuroticism has a stronger biological basis than most of the other personality traits [8]. However, both Eysenck and Freud are compatible with each other in that both neuroticism as a predisposition and as a possible result from the innate Oedipal complex indicate more or less direct inheritance of the trait.

Photo credit: TonyoCorales (pixabay.com)


  1. Sugarman, A. (2013). The Centrality of Beating Fantasies and Wishes in the Analysis of a Three-Year-Old Girl. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33(4), 351-367.
  2. Longhin, L. (2011). Three: The mind also becomes sick: how? when? why? The problem of “normality-anormality”. Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies, 1357-90.
  3. Turner, J. S., & Helms, D. B. (1995) Lifespan Development (5th ed.). USA: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
  4. Hartke, R. (2016). The Oedipus complex: A confrontation at the central cross-roads of psychoanalysis. The International Journal Of Psycho-Analysis, 97(3), 893-913. doi:10.1111/1745-8315.12561
  5. Schein, M. (2016). Thinking Forbidden Thoughts: The Oedipus Complex as a Complex of Knowing. Psychoanalytic Review, 103(2), 251-263. doi:10.1521/prev.2016.103.2.251
  6. Zepf, S., Ullrich, B., & Seel, D. (2016). Oedipus and the Oedipus complex: A revision. The International Journal Of Psycho-Analysis, 97(3), 685-707. doi:10.1111/1745-8315.12278
  7. Trnka, R., Balcar, K., Kuška, M., & Hnilica, K. (2012). NEUROTICISM AND VALENCE OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONAL CONCEPTS. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 40(5), 843-844.
  8. Briley, D. A., & Tucker-Drob, E. M. (2014). Genetic and environmental continuity in personality development: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 140(5), 1303-1331. doi:10.1037/a0037091

June 1st was World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day (WNAAD)

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.

See https://www.facebook.com/WNAAD/) and http://www.wnaad.com/

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!

Recognizing the ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)’

Relational aggression in the form of maternal gatekeeping

Relational aggression in the form of maternal gatekeeping

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‘


Recognizing the ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)’



Children’s biggest wish is to maintain a healthy and strong relationship with both parents; in some cases, a parent fosters distance or even the child’s rejection of the other parent, despite the deep-seated desire to experience mutual love between them and their both parents (Kruk, 2013, April 25). (See also article Divorce: Regular overnight stays with dad are the best for small children / Scheidung: Regelmässige Übernachtungen bei Papa sind das Beste für kleine Kinder)

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

Irrational accusations

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.).

Input for the ‘Loving Parent/Father Petition‘. It’s ready to SIGN IT! Thank you for your support.

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

Guillen, L. (n.d.). Parental Alienation Syndrome. Visitation Rights. Retrieved from http://family-law.lawyers.com/visitation-rights/parental-alienation-syndrome.html

Kruk, E. (2013, April 25). The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children. Co-parenting after divorce. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201304/the-impact-parental-alienation-children

Major, J. (n.d.). Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation. Retrieved from http://www.breakthroughparenting.com/PAS.htm

Stines, S. (2017). Children with Attachment Based Narcissistic “Parental Alienation Syndrome”. The Recovery Expert. Retrieved from https://pro.psychcentral.com/recovery-expert/2016/06/children-with-narcissistic-parental-alienation-syndrome/

United Nations Children’s Fund. (n.d.). The Convention on the Rights of the Child. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/crc/files/Survival_Development.pdf

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)

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

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

After parents’ divorce, regular overnight stays with dad are best for most young children (Professor Richard A. Warshak)


  • Awareness is growing that also for separated parents shared parenting is best for their children
  • Scientific findings make clear that misinformation and policies around one-sided custody practices have to be revised
  • Double standards regarding shared parenting in relationships and one parent’s full-time presence in case of divorce or separation are causing children to lose their uniquely contributing fathers
  • Babies and toddlers need affectionate and sensitive fathers
  • Children benefit from multiple caregivers that are tender and sensible to their needs
  • Except for mystique beliefs, there is nothing that speaks for mothers to be naturally more suitable to care for children
  • Immediately after separation, day and night time spent with their child should be optimized by both parents, so the children are not losing one of the two loving parents

Full article: https://childandfamilyblog.com/parents-divorce-regular-overnight-stays-dad-best-young-children/

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

Ganzer Artikel: https://childandfamilyblog.com/parents-divorce-regular-overnight-stays-dad-best-young-children/

Photo credit: Pexels @ pixabay.com

Shared parenting research / Geteilte Kinderfürsorge (Forschungsstand)

Summary of the essential points

  • 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)

Shared parenting

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.

Mindful parenting

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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Sims, J., & Coley, R. L. (2016). Independent Contributions of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Language and Literacy Practices: Associations with Children’s Kindergarten Skills across Linguistically Diverse Households. Early Education And Development, 27(4), 495-512.

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Photo credit: Pezibear @ pixabay.com

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


You know, my daughter, I care. Your loving dad

German and Japanese versions see below

Welcome to the Loving Father Initiative

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:

  1. Building awareness regarding the state of research and parenting practices in the interest of the child (articles, research summary, and references) -> See content below
  2. 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)

Share your story, your suggestions, and questions with us. To do so, please use the comment section on the bottom of this post

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

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.

Thank you!


  • 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:

  1. Das Bewusstsein für den Stand der Forschung und Erziehungspraktiken im Interesse des Kindes fördern (Artikel, Forschungszusammenfassung und Referenzen) -> Siehe Inhalt unten
  2. 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)

Teile deine Story, deine Vorschläge und Fragen mit uns. Bitte benutze dazu die Kommentar Box weiter unten auf dieser Seite

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

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.

Herzlichen Dank!


  • 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