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**PARENT-CHILD SEPARATION: PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS ON THE CHILDREN** - MICHAEL RUTTER

All,

I have made two recent postings off the back of my appearance on the 'Dads on the Air' radio programme. I do not know why but I thought everybody in Australia was listening to me but apparently I was wrong.

Therefore I have posted two accounts of different aspects of the discussion in different threads on this forum;

THREAD; The Attachment Theory and 'Maternal Deprivation' - Sexism and Guidelines for Infants and Overnight Care

This account explains how Dr McIntosh guidelines are based on Bowlby's discredited theory of 'maternal deprivation'. (Please note McIntosh edited a special edition of Family Justice Review on attachment theory which she said featured contributors from a Bowlby tradition).

THREAD; Is 'assessment' the key to understanding attachment?

This account tries to summarise the underlying flaw of Dr McIntoshes approach to the assessment of 'attachment behaviour' with is based on a Bowllby/ Ainsworth procedure.

In reply to the second thread I received this posting,

April said
No Kip you are wrong in your understanding of the variables used for the study.  In fact the relationship between the parents (how warm or hostile they were towards each other) was statistically controlled for.  Shared parenting of infants made a unique contribution to the negative outcomes in the McIntosh et al study.

Have you read the whole report or are you relying on other's interpretation of it?

If you think the analysis was poorly done then why don't you explain why you think that because you wrote..

Kip said
In research terms you cannot lump all the factors together using a statistical analysis and then say that it proves your theory.
but that doesn't explain anything.  Researchers in human behaviour never say a theory is proved.  You also wrote…
Kip said
But what is it about 'shared parenting' that has the 'negative outcomes'?
That is the million dollar question.  In fact the question should have "for infants" on the end because the study only found negative outcomes for infants in shared care. Why is that? Attachment theory could provide a possible answer but Kip you don't believe in all that Bowlby nonsense so why do you think these results were found?  I would love to read your opinion without you quoting from others.

 
April said
I would love to read your opinion without you quoting from others.

Well, my answer to that question is that 'We all stand on the shoulders of others'.

As if to make my point April quotes me as saying,

April said
Kip said
But what is it about 'shared parenting' that has the 'negative outcomes'?

That is the million dollar question.
To answer this question in more detail I have started a new thread quoting verbatim from the seminal work by Rutter. (PLEASE NOTE I DO NOT HAVE A 'READY MADE' ONLINE VERSION AND BECAUSE THE POST IS TOO LONG I HAVE HAD TO BE SELECTIVE IN THE QUOTATIONS TO GIVE AN IMPRESSION OF THE PAPER).

The point to make to April is that Professor Sir Michael Rutter has already looked into the variety of factors (variables) Dr McIntosh describes that contribute to problems at separation which would include 'shared parenting'. These factors included the age of the children.

His seminal work showed that it was the discord that is the overriding factor ie the million dollar answer. Shared parenting is not advisable when there is high conflict.

Until a few months ago April had not heard of Rutter. I think Smyth knows Rutter's seminal work and in the reference April quotes in her earlier posting is 'doffing his cap' to his contribution. If you are unfamiliar with his work you would not recognise the reference. I would say to April, you can either stand on other peoples shoulders or turn your back and look the other way. In reality it is Dr McIntosh who is playing on the ignorance of people like April in Australia and it is for this reason I contacted the Australian Attorney General. (Please see the THREAD; SECOND LETTER to Attorney-General Re; Dr Jennifer McIntosh and Dr John Bowlby - With SPCA Support)

I hope others on this forum find this helpful,

kip

J. Child Psychol. Psychiat., Vol. 12, 1971, pp. 233 to 260. Pergamon Press. Printed in Great Britain.

PARENT-CHILD SEPARATION: PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS ON THE CHILDREN

MICHAEL RUTTER


Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, S.E.5, England

INTRODUCTION

THE IMPORTANCE of the family as a formative influence on a child's personality
growth needs no arguing. Particularly in early childhood, it is the matrix within
which the child develops, the area where his strongest emotional ties are formed and
the background against which his most intense personal life is enacted (Lewis, 1956).
The family is the most intimate, one of the most important and most studied of all
human groups and yet our knowledge of it remains rudimentary (Anthony and
Koupernik, 1970).

Misconceptions, myths and false knowledge on the effects of different patterns
of child-rearing are rife. Generations of doctors, psychologists, nurses and educators
have pontificated on what parents need to do in order to bring up their children to
be healthy and well-adjusted adults. Over the last 50 years we have been exhorted
in the name of mental health to suppress masturbation, to feed children by the
clock, and then to let them gratify their impulses in whatever way they wish. (Stendler,
1950; Wolfenstein, 1953.) However, the claims that these policies were necessary for
normal emotional development were made in the absence of supporting evidence.
Research findings have failed to show any significant effects stemming from patterns
of feeding, time of weaning, type of toilet-training and the like (Caldwell, 1964) and
the consequences of different patterns of discipline appear surprisingly slight (Becker,
1964).

Uninterrupted mother-child contact has also been the subject of firm claims.
Bowlby (1946) suggested that "prolonged separation of a child from his mother (or
mother substitute) during the first five years of his life stands foremost among the
causes of delinquent character development and persistent misbehaviour". More
recently, he reiterated that because of its long-term consequences a child should be
separated from his parents only in exceptional circumstances (Bowlby, 1958a;
Bowlby, 1958b). These statements are arguable (0'Connor, 1956) but are cautious
compared with those of some other writers. For example Baers (1954) claimed that
the normal growth of children is dependent on the mothers full-time occupation in the
role of child-rearing and that "anything that hinders women in the fulfilment of this
mission must be regarded as contrary to human progress". Similarly, a W.H.O.
Expert Committee (W.H.O., 1951) concluded that the use of day nurseries and
creches inevitably caused "permanent damage to the emotional health of a future
generation". It is, perhaps, noteworthy that assertions of this kind have mostly been
made by men and from the tenor of their comments we might well agree with Margaret
Mead (1954) when she suggests that the campaign on the evils of mother-child
separation is just another attempt by men to shackle women to the home. Nevertheless,
it would be wrong to dismiss the argument on these grounds. If motherchild
separation actually does lead to delinquent character formations and if care by
fathers cannot compensate, then, however much the Women's Liberation Movement
may protest, it is necessary for women to be tied to their children during the growing
years.

MEASUREMENT OF FAMILY CHARACTERISTICS

The interview served two quite distinct functions: (1) to obtain an accurate
account of various events and happenings in the family (who put the children to bed,
how often the parents played or talked with the children, how often they quarrelled
and so forth), and (2) to provide a standard stimulus for eliciting emotions and
attitudes (warmth, criticism, hostility, dissatisfaction and the like). Different
techniques were necessary for these two aspects of the interview.

MEASUREMENT OF PSYCHIATRIC STATE

Similar care had to be taken in the measurement of the children's emotional
and behavioural state. For this purpose we used both questionnaire and interview
measures of behaviour in different situations. As with the family measures, the
reliability and, as far as possible, the validity of the ratings were tested and found
adequate (Rutter and Graham, 1968; Graham and Rutter, 1968; Rutter, 1967;
Rutter, Tizard and Whitmore, 1970).

PARENT-CHILD SEPARATION

So much for the background. Let me now consider the findings on the effects
of parent-child separation. If separation is such a serious hazard to mental health
as claimed, there are vital implications for public health policy and important
opportunities for the prevention of psychiatric disorder. But are the claims true?
In order to answer that question we have first got to pose it more precisely,
All children must separate from their parents at some time if they are to develop
independent personalities. Furthermore, most youngsters experience some form of
temporary separation from their parents during childhood. For example, Douglas
(1966) found that one in three children were separated from their parents for at least
1 week before the age of 4yr. Obviously most of these turn out to be quite normal
boys and girls so the question is not "should separation be allowed" but rather
"what sort of separation, at what age, for how long, and for what reason leads to
psychological disturbance?". Also, we need to specify separation from which parent?
Most emphasis has been placed on mother-child. separation, the father being regarded
as a relatively insignificant figure with respect to a child's personality development,
Is this so? Finally, it has been suggested that it is necessary for children to have a
relationship with a single mother-figure and that harm will come if mothering is
divided among several people. So the apparently simple question "is separation
from their parents bad for children?" turns out to be quite complicated.

SHORT-TERM EFFECTS

In attempting to provide a solution to the problem it may be appropriate to
begin with the short-term effects of parent-child separation. This has been most
studied in children admitted to hospital. Bowlby and his colleagues noted the frequency
with which children were upset after admission and described three phases
to the disturbance (Bowlby, 1958, 1968, 1969; Robertson and Bowlby, 1952).
First, the child cries and shows acute distress, the period of"protest", he then appears
miserable and withdrawn, the phase of "despair", and finally there is a time when he
seems to lose interest in his parents, the stage of "detachment". When the child returns
to his parents he often ignores them at first and then becomes clinging and demanding.
Some investigators have failed to confirm these findings (Davenport and Werry,
1970) but on the whole the observations have received support from other studies
(Yarrow, 1964; Vernon, Foley, Sipowicz and Schulman, 1965). Nevertheless, a
number of important qualifications have had to be introduced. The response
described is most marked in children aged 6 months-4 yr, but even at this age it
occurs in only some children (Illingworth and Holt, 1955; Prugh et al., 1953; Schaffer
and Callender, 1959). Moreover, it is misleading to regard the separation as only
from mother. While children at this age are often most attached to their mother they
are also attached to their father and to their brothers and sisters (Ainsworth, 1967;
Schaffer and Emerson, 1964). In the past the strength of these other attachments
has often been underestimated. Their importance is shown by the finding that
when children are admitted to hospital with their brother or sister they show less
distress (Heinicke and Westheimer, 1965). Although the separation is probably the
principal factor even in hospital admission the care during the separation is also
relevant (Faust et al., 1964; Prugh et al., 1953).

SUMMARY

The literature on parent-child separation is reviewed and findings are reported
from a detailed and intensive longitudinal study of patients' families. It is concluded
that a child's separation from his family constitutes a potential cause of short-term
distress but separation is of little direct importance as a cause of long-term disorder.
Separation experiences have some association with the later development of antisocial
behaviour but this is due not to the fact of separation itself, but rather to the
family discord which precedes and accompanies the separation. Both active discord
and lack of affection are associated with anti-social disorder but a good relationship
with one parent can go some way toward mitigating the harmful effect of a quarrelsome
unhappy home. The association between family disharmony and anti-social
disorder is probably largely mediated by environmental influences. Children differ
in their response to family discord; these differences are associated with both sex
and temperamental factors.

Last edit: by Kip


Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
This is a 'seminal work'.

It showed that children were damaged by discord not separation and formed the basis of the 'child care classic' Maternal Deprivation Reassessed;

i. Investigations have demonstrated the importance of a child's relationship with people other than his mother.
ii. Most important of all there has been repeated findings that many children are not damaged by deprivation.
iii. The old issue of critical periods of development and the crucial importance of early years has been re-opened and re-examined. The evidence is unequivocal that experiences at all ages have an impact.
iv. It may be the first few years do have a special importance for bond formation and social development. (Maternal Deprivation; Reassessed, Second Edition, 1981, pp.217)

It is considered a seminal work because it contradicted Bowlby's theory of 'maternal deprivation'. Your posting highlights your lack of knowledge.

Please check with somebody you trust because you cannot carry on posting in ignorance.

kip

Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
Out of the infants in the study (63 that were in weekly or more over night shared care) what % came from high conflict and non conflict families? What % from each of these groups reported adverse behavior?  I can't get onto the any site on this computer where I can read the full study, only can access the collective reports - which are vague and don't go into alot of important details.  
David Blunkett said "….Congratulations on your battle…" 2005

Buckingham Palace (The Queen?) "…It was thoughtful to inclose a copy…." 2006

Professor Michael Rutter "… Many thanks for sending…." 2002

Lord Justice Thorp "…history of responsible campaigning…" 2004
All,

When I first went to family court I thought decisions would be based on the best possible research.

I was horrified when a senior judge in my own case referred to a 'Dependency Theory' which I took to mean Bowlby's theory of 'maternal deprivation'.

Because of my background and qualifications I knew that this theory was wrong but that other fathers were experiencing the same problem in court. I eventually discovered that there were in fact Case Laws that supported what is known in court as the 'tender years doctrine'. As a result I produced my book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers'. (Frenzy, Have people in Australia really never heard of Professor Sir Michael Rutter?)

I realised how useful this could be when a friend, another trained teacher, grabbed a copy to show his family he was not making it all up.

The senior judge in my case was not happy and took away my Parental Responsibility Order, recognising me as the child's father, because of my 'ideas'.

Just before the appeal was heard I received an e-mail from Professor Sir Michael Rutter thanking me for a copy of my 'interesting and informative guide'.

When I asked Lady Justice Hale, now the only female member of the UK Supreme Court, If she knew who Rutter is? she was quite irate and said something like 'Of course I do I had tea and cakes with him last week'.

I was then able to argue that my PR order should not be taken away because they were not my ideas but Rutter's. If they were my ideas I would be having the tea and cakes with Lady Justice Hale, to much mirth in court. PR order was returned.

You can read my book online free of charge. It does not look like much and, of course, I do not work for profit.

There are still people like Be_MeDad and April, as well as fathers, who do not know the research. Their internal working model is set according to the Bowlby model of child development called 'Maternal Deprivation';
  • A child has an innate (i.e. inborn) need to attach to one main attachment figure usually the mother (i.e. monotropy).
  • A child should receive the continuous care of this single most important attachment figure during a critical period during the first two or three years of life.
  • The long term consequences of maternal deprivation might include the following: delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, depression, affectionless psychopathy
I think it was the NSPCC in the UK who got involved in family courts and dragged the Queen into the debate (I can't remember exactly how). I thought to myself there is a type of inverted snobbery in not letting the Queen have a copy of my book. Above all, she is a mother with sons and I thought she might appreciate a copy. I received a lovely reply suggesting the Queen had actually looked at my book and 'noted my concerns'.

The same sort of thing happened with David Blunkett the blind MP who was Home Secretary ie in charge of the UK police. He got into hot water over a 'love child' with a nanny. I thought he might need a book and told him because of his position not to write back. Given he is blind, I received a personally written reply.
(It is not what the book looks like but what is in it).

There is also the remark from Lord Justice Thorpe who gave me the unique privilege of publishing the County Court judgments from my family proceedings because of my 'history of responsible campaigning and writing on family issues'. You can read these judgments online.

It seems to me in the UK that Richard Chisholm was casting around for somebody with academic qualifications that could support his judicial opposition to shared parenting and that Dr McIntosh fitted the bill because of her ready-made version of the 'tender years doctrine' based on Bowlby's 'maternal deprivation'.
(Dr McIntosh was a guest editor for an academic journal she based on Bowlby's theory of attachment and her guidelines on Infant Care and Overnight Stays cite a source described as the 'American Bowlby').

Frenzy has just posted about Dr McIntoshes work,

The collective reports - which are vague and don't go into alot of important details.  
This is what I have argued (I think in my letter to the Australian Attorney General - If I didn't I meant to say it!). Dr McIntoshes work is 'vague' it suggests correlations as causations when there is no evidence. For example, she has put the two reports together because either one on their own does not stand up to scrutiny.

If you compare Dr McIntoshes research to the 'seminal' work of Rutter, as an outsider you begin to think she is, 'Taking Australian fathers for a ride'.

kip

LINKS

BOOK (unavailable) - http://books.google.co...hers.html?id=lHjwMbPYuAgC

JUDGMENTS - http://eventoddlersresearch.blogspot.com/

THE TENDER YEARS DOCTRINE - http://openfamilycourtsuk.blogspot.com/

HOMEPAGE - even Toddlers Need Fathers

i. Investigations have demonstrated the importance of a child's relationship with people other than his mother.
ii. Most important of all there has been repeated findings that many children are not damaged by deprivation.
iii. The old issue of critical periods of development and the crucial importance of early years has been re-opened and re-examined. The evidence is unequivocal that experiences at all ages have an impact.
iv. It may be the first few years do have a special importance for bond formation and social development. (Maternal Deprivation; Reassessed, Second Edition, 1981, pp.217)


  
I don't think there are too many people out there taking him seriously anymore.
 
 TruthJunkieMikael (3 months ago) These are awesome channels. Thanks so much for sharing this kind of info!

Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
Rutters observations in regard to orphans, while informing revisions of attachment, does not provide sufficient evidence for care patterns in a post separation situation because a re-homed orphan does not share a similar care arrangement to an infant who is moving back and forth between 2 homes.  The findings of Rutters "seminal" work are not generalisable to family law applications.
I am sorry to say Rutter was not looking at a 're-homed orphan' in the research cited. He studied families from the Isle of Wight and London. He also significantly looked at transient separations due to Day Care which was condemned by the WHO at the time in the same way Dr McIntosh disagrees with 'shared parenting'. This situation is directly comparable to family courts today and the research is still relevant. The reason for the separation does not matter to the child. It is the discord.
Consequently the theory was revised to replace "mother" with "caregiver" which can be a man or a woman, and replaced notions of "montropy" with those of attachment. This is the basis of attachment theory, and anyone who spends time with infants will recognise a typical infant;s attachment behaviour toward its primary caregiver especially when distressed or ill.
But 'monotropy' is central to McIntoshes theory and guidelines. Without this concept her arguments against overnight stays would fall down because the simple solution would be to make both parents primary caregivers. She cannot recommend making both parents primary carers because this would endorse 'shared parenting'. She believes children should have only one primary caregiver and 'bootstaps' the idea to the concept that they would be damaged by separation.

Your reference to recent development to neurobiology do not stand up to scrutiny. In Dr McIntoshes own special edition on attachment Dr Siegel described these ideas as 'laughable'.
The constant talk of Bowlby/Rutter  from 40 or 50 years ago is not helpful because it is very old theory development and things have moved on from there.
That is what 'seminal' means. His research has stood the test of time. Dr McIntosh has simply repackaged Bowlby.

Your reference to re-homed orphans is wrong and your reference to 'monotropy' vague and unclear.

Are you saying that children are allowed more than one primary caregiver?

kip

Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
Kip some of the psychophysiological research is interesting, it's a vaild research area. My son has been used as a guinea pig in research looking into the psychophysiological underpinnings of Autism.

I was reading somewhere, can't remember where now, about research into maternal-fetal relationships, which some are thinking may have some bearing on the infant attachment to the mother and others after birth. It's only in it's infancy, no one claims to know anything much yet.

There is increasing interest in studying genetic or gene-environment interaction effects on attachment. There are those that believe it isn't all nurture (ie environment, parenting) that there maybe an inter-play with nature.

I think there is still so much to learn and that in the scheme of things we know very little for certain.
Frenzy,

I know this will be hard to believe but Professor Sir Michael Rutter is at the forefront of the research you are talking about. In PART TWO of my interview I refer to the following video;

'The father of modern child psychiatry on gene-environment interactions - Sir Michael Rutter';

The father of modern child psychiatry on gene-environment interactions - Sir Michael Rutter - YouTube

Here is an earlier video from him specifically on 'autism' called simply, 'Professor Sir Michael Rutter';

YouTube

He is known as the 'father of modern child psychiatry' because he opposed Bowlby's ideas and is said to have put the discipline onto a scientific basis.

Neither of these videos is from my own video channels and I hope you find them worthwhile.

Many thanks for your kind interest,

kip

PS You can hear me mention the first video (including a LINK) at the very end of the recording of my own interview for 'Dads on the Air' called, "Men Can't Nurse" say Australian Guidelines on contact for fathers from Dr Jennifer McIntosh PART TWO at;

"Men Can't Nurse" say Australian Guidelines on contact for fathers from Dr McIntosh - PART TWO - YouTube

Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
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