Baby guru and child psychologist Penelope Leach has, as one might imagine, angered fathers’ rights groups by suggesting that separating mothers and small children from each other to allow for overnight contact with fathers is damaging children and not in the best interests of these children. And we couldn’t agree more.
As Penelope points out in her new book, there is a great deal of research which shows that this kind of arrangement does not only cause attachment issues, but it can also cause serious problems with development. She quite rightly points out that these overnight arrangements merely suit the adults in question and take no account whatsoever of whether or not they suit the child. It’s Parental Rights gone wild, and as we don’t advocate the notion of a ‘right’ when it comes to what parents feel they are ‘entitled’ to regarding their children, we applaud this lady’s courage for telling it like it is.
There is however one caveat to this sentiment for us. Not all mothers make for the best carers of young children, and there are many fathers out there who are far better at giving that kind of care than their mummy counterparts. The lesson to learn from all of this, is that we are still looking at parenting as a rights-based issue rather than a sharing of responsibilities, which should, we would argue, be allowed to fluctuate easily from one parent to another, without one parent feeling that they have lost a battle of some kind.
We salute you, Penelope.