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Mothers: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

13th Oct 2008 | in Legal, Justice & Court

Judgment at its best is a silent equaliser, that expresses compassion for the wrongdoer and insists upon justice for the victim but in the Family Courts justice has become nothing more than a memory and judgment a byword for judicial gerrymandering.

The impact of these failings can be seen in the way the Family Courts view the role of the mother today. Crucially, the courts have understood to some extent that parenting can be diverse but unfortunately, this understanding suffers from short-sightedness when considering the benefits of a caring mother’s keen instincts for her children in the practice of fluid parenting styles.

With very little persuasion, it is as if the Courts view the mother’s instincts with great suspicion, the stuff of myth, witch hunts and ill-intended illusion. Mothers in divorce facing contact disputes are often perceived implicitly to be trying to wrench the children from their fathers, especially when very small children are involved. There are of course mothers who are hurt and do do this, just as there are fathers whose pain in divorce cause them to retaliate, but once again the cynicism that has infused its way into the courts makes it very hard for any competent mother to be heard. In family law, the language of motherhood remains misunderstood.

One of the greatest misconceptions of lawyers, judges and social workers during a separation or a situation involving children, is that parental attachment is viewed as unhelpful, an obstacle to allowing a child the ability to grow and become independent in their changing circumstances. Sadly, the opposite is true, but a vulnerable mother going through the court’s bullish and aggressive procedure is likely to find herself in the ultimate dilemma: how do I love and support my child through this process and avoid being labelled as emotionally unstable and irrational?

The court’s perception of course is that emotional input is a sign of weakness on the mother’s part, an overdose of affection that not only makes things harder on the child but indicates that the mother cannot ‘let go’. This is perhaps a vestige of a long-gone culture which in part misunderstood parenthood and the benefits of emotional expression (cue the stiff upper lip and the poker squarely placed you-know-where). These remnants of old English culture in our courts do not do justice to England’s egalitarian heritage, where the English gentleman was once a soft-spoken emotional giant and the peaceful pursuit of knowledge was welcomed not subdued.

Setting aside mothers who genuinely have lost the ability to cope and whose emotional expression is unhealthy and a sign of distress rather than her protective instincts for her child geared specifically towards protecting their best interests, mothers who have a close bond with their children should not have to endure being subjected to these courts trying to demonise them for their intuition.

In America, one professional family of paediatricians has understood the importance of that bond and their book “The Baby Book” * is a must-read for all mothers and fathers going through the family courts. The authors of this book are Doctors William and Martha Sears, who together with their two sons (they have a total of eight children) have become part of America’s leading paediatricians. They have written a total of ten books, one of which is the acclaimed “Attachment Parenting Book” which explains clearly and simply that emotional and physical closeness are necessities not luxuries when looking after a child and that although all mothers and fathers are on a learning curve, ultimately, too much expert interference can prevent a parent’s instincts from being cultivated and make that parent less able to see what is best for their children.

The message is there for all to see: instincts are as relevant today as they have always been and they will always be our most powerful tool to protect and nurture our children in an ever changing world.

Here are some of the myths the Family Courts promote, whether though CAFCASS policy or judicial discretion:

“Sleeping with your child in the same bed is bad for the child and fosters dependency:”
The Sears family in their book “The Baby Book” beg to differ; they actively acknowledge and understand that modern culture has lost touch with this beautiful custom and explain how sleeping with your child actually fosters social independence and makes your child very strong.

“Attachment parenting is bad for your child:”
Attachment parenting just means that you are getting to know your child by being physically and emotionally connected to them. The courts are not yet prepared to consider the perception that just because a mother voices emotional concern for the needs of her child that she has not deduced this purely through her own pain: an instinctive mother feels her child’s needs and can express them as her own. This is where the core issue lies: at the heart of the Family Courts’ misconception lies this undeniable fact: a competent mother expresses her child’s wishes through herself and yet this does not mean that her expression is egocentric. It is, more to the point, an elegant and selfless act on the mother’s part.

“Carrying your baby will make your baby dependent and unable to ‘let go’:”
Carried babies are content babies and content children cope better with life’s challenges. It seems arbitrary to suggest to a mother that just because she has separated from the child’s father that the child must now endure levels of separation from the mother that they cannot cope with and yet that is just what the court does. Pre-prescribed periods of time for contact that are a cure-all for every family just don’t cut it in the real world. Every child is different and mothers often do know inherently what their children can and cannot cope with. The very clinical and unfeeling approach the courts have taken in relation to children of certain ages is shocking and far too simplistic to have any positive effect on the changing family unit.

“Fathers and mothers are one and the same; it doesn’t matter who looks after the child:”
Whilst there is no substitute for a loving parent, every individual has strengths and weaknesses and every child goes through phases where they wish to be with one parent more than the other. Fathers are able to nurture their children just as well as mothers can, but there will always be times in a small child’s life especially, where that child will want to be with Mummy most of the time. The age-old cry of “I want my mummy!!!“ whether by a lost child in a supermarket or one that has woken up from their nightmare is ample illustration of the different and yet valuable role of the mother. However, this does not mean that a child loves his father less; young children often feel a huge sense of gratitude towards mothers and fathers who allow them to ‘be’ with the parents they wish to be with at any given time (and assuming that the child has not been subjected to negative perceptions of either parent) and often that gratitude grows into a deep and immovable love. With children, to give unconditionally of yourself makes for a strong and balanced little person and a truly healthy loving relationship between parent and child. After all, as a self confessed Daddy’s girl (whose father never changed a nappy or rocked me in his arms to sleep) I still know who to cuddle up to when things get rough.

Once mothers find themselves within the body of the Family Courts, the hand that rocks the cradle then belongs to the State. With its half-hearted notions of parenthood and its sound-bite concessions to the modern mother, family law is just not in good enough shape to support the family unit in its time of need. The Family Court’s mantra is a simple one: a child has the right to be placed in a situation where they can cope. I would dare to suggest another mantra: a child’s fundamental right is not just to cope in life, but to flourish by it.

 

 

 

Comments

  • On 30th Oct 2008 at 11:24 PM Richard said...

    WHERE THE HELL DID THIS STUFF COME FROM?

    Haven’t they read Bowlby and Attachment? This overthrows virtually all know theory on child raising.

  • On 30th Oct 2008 at 11:27 PM Richard said...

    Where the hell did this stuff come from?

    Haven’t they read Bowlby and Attachment?

    This overthrows all known theories of child raising.

  • On 7th Apr 2009 at 05:20 PM ian martin said...

    FamilyCourts are on the side of the mother, they do the state’s bidding, they want the father to continue to work and paying taxes. They use the full panoply of their workers and the police pawns , secret courts to do this

  • On 27th Apr 2009 at 08:13 AM Portia Barrett said...

    My experience was that the family court was anti mother and anti nature.

    Family law courts side with the authoritarion parent.- gender is not the isssue- just an illusion.

    Court is using the same thinking as Hitler, in the child’s best interest of course by depriving the child of mother love as early as possible, thus rendering the child an unemotional being, capable of being controlled.

    Mothers have one role, fathers another, but a mother cannot be a father, nor can a father be a mother- physically impossible anyway.

    However, fathers role is to support the mother and help out as much as possible with the child.

    All this old patriarchal thinking is destroying families, by brainwashing men that they possess their women and children, and womb-men are witches because of their gut instinct, which is never wrong.

    Now, let us recognise the roles of both parents, and stop falling into the trap of the system of divide and rule.

    Because, so far it is working nicely.

  • On 27th Apr 2009 at 04:50 PM ian martin said...

    My wife was a violent woman, who frequently stole from me, i had police statements. When i went to the police to complain about her, the cops laughed “What did you deserve to get that” , “Here it is the man who does the domestic violence”. All cupcake had to do to throw me out of her life after she was unfaithful was to go to the womens’ refuge who told her to say “she was scared of me and so were the kids”. With this i was thrown out of the house and my sons’ lives. She stopped me seeing them for 3 months, i had to fight tooth and nail JUST TO SEE THEM FOR 2 HOURS a fortnight, with supervision from Dr Barnardos. Because she was now a “victim”, she got Social security, a free house, free legal aid, i was out on the street at 1 hours’ notice ALL BASED ON FALSE ALLEGATIONS with the state’s complete backing. It was all just emotional terrorism, the state uses it full power to throw good dads from the kids in order to maximise it’s income. The last thing the state wants is both parents to claim Social security. That is why it has to have secret courts to hide the thrrible injustices that they are making against dads, mainly good dads who are being thrown away from kids lives
    Men are suffering terrible because of the feminises jurisprudence, WHERE ARE THE REAL WOMEN WHO TRULY BELIEVE IN FAMILIES ? WHY ARE THEY NOT TELLING THE STATE THE TRUTHAND HELPING MEN ? WHY DO THEY ALLOW ALL THE LIES ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE , nobody is helping us at all

  • On 27th Apr 2009 at 11:26 PM Portia said...

    Thank you all for expressing your own feelings on this matter.

    Family court is a Corporation and corporations are in business for the money.

    Parents and children are the pawns on the chess board and the only players are the lawyers, judges, expert witnesses etc, who are all part of a cosy cartel lining their pockets out of the misery of others.

    It is a sick game, where these people abuse service users- parents and children at their most vulnerable moments.

    They have studied human behaviour and know exactly how evil they are.

    I always say to parents - please do not feed the gremlins- because all they want is money.

    Family Court is just that - a court- where jesters perform.

    If you could see behind the scenes, when lawyers have their secret little chats- there you would see the real kangaroo court being planned and decided, long before we parents even enter the court room.

    There, you will see the lawyers snigger and sneer at how stupid we service users are, to fall for their scam.

    Also, please note that when we marry, there are 3 parties in the marriage, partners and the state, and guess who controls it all-?

  • On 28th Apr 2009 at 11:47 AM Admin said...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/02/ukcrime.women

    A very good article for you to read Ian and this is not to suggest men suffering domestic violence doesn’t exist as it does

    “?over 2 women a week will die as a result of domestic violence and about 60 men a year will also die as a result of domestic violence”

    I checked out the figures and thats over 100 (corrected figure ) women a year that die as a result of domestic violence from men and 60 men die a year from domestic violence, now I had to check out if the 60 men who die a year die because of women and it isnt that straight forward as the statistics have included men that have died from male partners where as the over 100 women that die are at the hands of violent men. It would be hard to desipher out of the 60 men how many die are at the hands of other men.

    So domestic violence whilst it does happen is not anywhere near in the huge numbers that occurs to women and I havent included the sexual abuse of children or rapes. A vast majority of abuse to children is by men, a vast majority or murdered children are by men

    I quote

    “The researchers say most infants are killed by men and such killings are often committed by people who do not have a severe mental illness.”

    Multiple homicides ie several children murdered at the same time are by a non custodial partner and as we have seen in the uk the numbers reported are commited by non custodial dads than women.

    This probably explains why the male domestic violence situation isnt highlighted as much by the LAW and all the other government departments and media

    That doesnt make it right I agree but it doesnt make all women the apitomy of life. Not all men are bad and not all women are bad but because of our personal experiences we tend to direct our anger at those we feel are responsible be it men or women.

    My mother suffered domestic violence from my father and social services did NOT take the side of my mother. They in fact took my dads side and the courts gave him custody of us and we were so badly beaten and abused by my dad and look where I ended up, in Kendall House. There are alot of dads that get custody of the children.

    I know plenty of mums who have lost their children to the dads when the relationships break down and the consequences have been disasterous for the children involved.

    It is rare we hear of things the other way around and I welcome hearing your views because it is important people know about this form of abuse but Ian putting it over on this site which as you know I own needs to be done in a constructive way. Believe me, I am very bitter with the church, police, government and all those who abused me which is both male and female carers when I was a child but as much as I want to stay bitter about it I have to consider others.

    We are trying to encourage mums and dads to unite because it is the system that is failing you all and the system loves it when your all condemning each other.

    You have every right to be angry and im happy to go into this further with you as your points are valid and need to be addressed.

    You can either inspire other dads of just wind them up further with anger and that doesnt help you, your children or other men

  • On 28th Apr 2009 at 06:05 PM Admin said...

    I accidently added an extra digit in the figure soz. However Ian Martin

    Your other posts will not be approved as they are so abusive and display unacceptable behaviour. They extremely abusive and vile towards the female authors on here and to women in general and we as women are not here for you to abuse.

  • On 16th Jul 2009 at 06:51 PM toni webb said...

    i think that as mothers should have rights to ask the courts why this happeneds to us all the time as my famley was broken up wrong as a seven year old boy abuse my gilrl and nothing got done at all as the socailwokers dont want to now at all so i am arecuy of the outcome what going on aand it not fair why should i get nothing and her son at home and it very hurt ful why i have been throught this and i am not sto now so someone can help me get the justic 4 my kids and i c cases like everyday in the papers so come on it can not carrier on

  • On 25th Dec 2009 at 06:48 PM Ameda Ultra said...

    All I want to say is thank you for the post, it’s really very well written, have learned some great things in here, keep sharing like this!

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