It’s the first Monday in December and as Christmas draws closer, it’s a lovely reminder that the central focus of our family unit is on our children, as they delight in innovative ways to catch Santa Clause squeezing down the chimney and even more mind-bendingly clever ways of ensuring they stay on the Nice List, so our question this week is also centered around children (alright, alright, like it is every week, you got us)….

The Nuffield Foundation report, co-authored by Professor Fortin and Dr Lesley Scanlan, entitled “Taking a longer view of contact: Perspectives of young adults who experienced parental separation“, looks at contact arrangements from the viewpoint of young adults who experienced such arrangements during childhood and has become controversial not just for daring to suggest that shared parenting legislation may not be the way forward in relation to improving contact between children and their parents, but also for using empirical evidence in the form of personal recollections from young adults to bolster this view. (A summary of the research can be found by clicking the link above and scrolling down).

Our question this week then, is does the use of childhood memories and their interpretation by young adults who experience these memories make the research less valuable?

Possible answer: No, it does not. To suggest that young adults do not possess the ability to assess their childhoods in a mature and rational way, regardless of whether or not they have been given all the information available to do so or have acquired the information themselves, is tantamount to suggesting that adults cannot assess their environment or experiences in a meaningful way, either. Any diversity in views then, must be accepted as part of a greater picture which makes the information invaluable, simply because it allows us to understand how experiences affect different people, whether they are young adults or not so young ones. We don’t question empirical evidence taken from samples of mature adults and there is no reason why we cannot give weight to young adults’ views, either.