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Dr Jennifer McIntosh and Dr John Bowlby - The debate

Family Law SECOND LETTER to Attorney-General Re Dr Jennifer McIntosh and Dr John Bowlby - The debate

Gecko,

The evidence is in the comments made in the newspaper article and the references made by Samba.

Above all in courtrooms, in the UK at least, over 90% of orders are for residence with the mother, not shared with the father.

kip

PS I do not know whether you might be interested in another video;

A Feminist Narrative of UK Fathers' Rights

http://youtu.be/AeoNveJCjpI

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'.
Gecko said
A true arguement does not resort to name calling. It is an nneccessary and bullish way of trying to make a point. You would earn more respect for your comments by refraining from such tactics. A simple"I dont agree but I respect your view" would suffice.
Err, presumptuously advising me not to be presumptuous for respect? - strike while the ironys hot.

Gecko said
But the problem is that we already know the ending and it's not happy - generational misery, child exploitation, mass fatherless, $billions thrown away of welfare, youth riots and the unravelling of society.
And your point is?
The point is obvious - we don't want to see it again

Gecko said
And how is overprotection recoginised as emotional etc abuse? Where are the studies for this?
Look, I'm not running a family law/psychology class for your personal benefit. If you are genuine there are numerous judgements on Austlii which deal with the issue of psychological and emotional abuse of children from an overprotective parent, how this is considered legally within the Act and references to precedents with supporting research and testimonies from expert witnesses. Go look them up yourself.

Gecko said
Also, if I can get this correct, the Fathers movement recognises that psychological abuse is seen as more sinister than physical abuse? If that is correct, then how so? And why then are such movements fighting aganst this being included in the amended laws? Lastly o this point, how can you label someone with "impaired mental health"? Is that not presumptious and are you allowing that presumption for both genders?
You're either incoherent or trolling. Pick an argument to make, and defend it, rather than squirting out new arguments in an ever-expanding cloud like some sort of squid. Briefly

Physical abuse is obvious and immediate. Does that give you a clue?

Where exactly do Fathers oppose the incorporation of psychological abuse in the amended laws?

I suggest you are doing the sole custody reversal trick here and giving us your bio. I argued strongly to have the protections against such abuses retained in the so-called friendly parent provisions.

Gecko said
OK. I have some confusion with this one. The childs rights are exclusive, as the parents should be working towards a goal of what works for the children, not them. Has it not been a mantra throughout this forum where many posters have stated that basically if it is inconvenient for the parent then bad luck? As parents, adults, we are able to make choices. Children do not have those same choices, so therefore as adults and parents we must try and mnake the situation (be it good or bad) safe and workable for the child(ren). That surely is what we are all aiming for is it not?
I do not accept the best interests of the child must be mutually exclusive to those of the parents. Now explain "How is it beneficial or even desirable for a child" that they should be. GO.

Last edit: by srldad101

There is a bit of mixing up of issues going on here.  The infant attachment issue and the shared care of children issue are quite separate issues.

Firstly, shared care of CHILDREN has been shown to be positive.  Research backs it up in most cases.  But that research was done on children and therefore the conclusions drawn from that research can be applied to children, not infants and babies.  That is a separate issue.

Secondly, the whole Bowlby/Ainsworth/McIntosh infant attachment issue particularly pertains to the appropriate care patterns of NEWBORNS, BABIES and INFANTS.  This area of research has not been able to demonstrate consistent positive outcomes for shared care, particularly in high conflict situations.  

Complicating the issue of care arrangements for babies and infants is biological neuroscience.  The first year of life is a critical one for neural development.  The baby's task is to make sense of it's world.  It learns day from night, hungry from satisfied, what the wiggly things are on the end of it's arm and all manner of things we take for granted.  The baby does not have a favourite parent.  It has a biological drive to have it's basic needs met and does this by forming a connection to the person who meets it's needs the most frequently.  Attachment is not exactly the same as an emotional bond.  A baby may form an emotional bond with many people.  Attachment is more related to the baby having it's basic needs met in a predictable and consistent way.  Once that is achieved the baby can be content and feel safe to explore it's environment and learn about the world around it secure in the knowledge that it's basic needs will be fulfilled when needed.

If a baby is stressed due to conflict between it's parents or if the baby can't make sense of it's environment the baby's cortisol levels go up. Now instead of learning and growing, the baby's cognitive abilities are taken up with pre-occupation with having it's basic needs met.  The baby may fret more that it's usual source of food is inconsistent or that it's environment is constantly changing.  This is not a fear that can easily be over come at this young age.  This is a biological response that has evolved over time to protect the perpetuation of the species, i.e. the infant with unmet basic needs will direct all of it's effort into having those basic needs met.  Adding to the cognitive workload of developing infants by constantly changing it's environment and care pattern can interfere with normal neural development, resulting in babies who are more clingy to the primary carer and more preoccupied with monitoring his/her wherabouts  rather than delving into the more cognitively useful job of playing, learning and exploring its self and surroundings.

I would urge people not to get too caught up with seeing the name Bowlby appear in these research reports.  It is protocol in the scientific community to refer to the originator of a theory in subsequent revisions or discussions of the theory. Bowlby is to  contemporary attachment theory as Newton is to modern physics.  Theories of attachment have become more sophisticated and gender inclusive over the decades.  I would suggest that reducing debate surrounding infant care patterns to that of Bowlby's theories might be detrimental to one's credibility.  Rutter has not done research into care patterns of babies and infants in post separation situations that I can find and his conclusions may therefore not be generalisable to these situations as such.


Samba said
Secretaryspca, I find this over exaggeration quite unprofessional the guidelines say:

When practical, and when the second parent is already a source of comfort and security to the infant, day-time care by the second parent should be prioritized above time spent in group day care.

Of course the other parent is the preferred carer if they are already an established figure in the childs life and the child has a firm attachment to that person.
I am not sure exactly what "over exaggeration" that I made which you refer to. Happy to take that on board and re look at what I may have eluded to.

The issue you raise in bold above is the problem. How does the second person ever get to a position of being a  source of comfort and security when the other parent wont allow time to establish that and reads reports like the one we are talking about.

Look at the headline "SEPARATED PARENTS should not share custody of babies or toddlers under two, according to guidelines released this week by a national infant welfare group.  AND ''Prior to the age of two years, overnight time away from the primary care-giver should be avoided, unless necessary'' according to the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health's ''guidelines for protecting the very young child's sense of comfort and security''. I have published the reports attached so we all get a context. I note the quote but how many mothers will read it as "Fathers should have contact rather than farming children out to day care"… I don't think I have been in a hearing where the Judicial officer says "Why is the child at Day care every day and not being offered to dad for some of those days where dad has the time available". The problem is dads are usually working during the day. Or why is the child with your mother every night while you are working and dad sits at home wanting to bond with his child". I don''t hear those sorts of questions.

Which research on "well researched guidelines on child development and mental health" should I read?

Attachment
Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc. Guidelines


Attachment
Clinical and research perspectives - Jennifer McIntosh, PhD and the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc.


Last edit: by Secretary SPCA


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
April said
There is a bit of mixing up of issues going on here.  The infant attachment issue and the shared care of children issue are quite separate issues.

Firstly, shared care of CHILDREN has been shown to be positive.  Research backs it up in most cases.  But that research was done on children and therefore the conclusions drawn from that research can be applied to children, not infants and babies.  That is a separate issue.

Secondly, the whole Bowlby/Ainsworth/McIntosh infant attachment issue particularly pertains to the appropriate care patterns of NEWBORNS, BABIES and INFANTS.  This area of research has not been able to demonstrate consistent positive outcomes for shared care, particularly in high conflict situations…  

I would urge people not to get too caught up with seeing the name Bowlby appear in these research reports.  It is protocol in the scientific community to refer to the originator of a theory in subsequent revisions or discussions of the theory. Bowlby is to  contemporary attachment theory as Newton is to modern physics.  Theories of attachment have become more sophisticated and gender inclusive over the decades.  I would suggest that reducing debate surrounding infant care patterns to that of Bowlby's theories might be detrimental to one's credibility.  Rutter has not done research into care patterns of babies and infants in post separation situations that I can find and his conclusions may therefore not be generalisable to these situations as such.
What a load of dissembling codswallop

You've marketed the AAIMHI guidelines on McIntosh's study which hijacks & repackages Bowlby's discredited theory and when this is pointed out you claim it's not Bowlby. That is you want us to believe the story but not the rebuttal. Rubbish. And Newtonian mechanics is more than adequate in the real World.

And adding the conflict proviso into this mix - presumably to ignore PSM Rutter - actually reveals the real purpose. If the Mother doesn't want overnights that is conflict and child loses biological Father. The supposed guidelines kill shared parenting before it can start.

Now the state steps in as defacto husband providing $billions of our money towards the collectivization of childrearing and institutionalized child care… That's the nub of Gillard's radical feminist National "careerism before family" Plan. Mum can keep the kids and career without the need for Dad.


I bring to readers attention the new Dr Steven Baskerville article Sex and the Problem of Human Rights in "The Independent Review" Winter 2012. This details how radical feminism has co-opted the UN human rights conventions to their ideology. How this feminist War by Treaty is corrupting society. It contains some very disturbing insights into what our government is really doing.

Gillard seems to be socially engineering CEDAW - The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women - which codifies feminist ideology as an official doctrine.

On page 8 "CEDAW prohibits making distinctions between the roles of mother and father,and teaching a traditional understanding of the family"…"careerism is the primary family policy - developing the collectivization of childrearing, institutionalized child care for under 4 ..

  p9: CEDAW insist that religious freedom and democratic rights must be curtailed when disagree with their agenda. expresses open hostility to the free exercise of religion, reporting that in all countries, the most significant factors inhibiting womens ability to participate in public life have been the cultural framework of values and religious beliefs.

  True gender equality does not allow for varying interpretations of obligations under international legal norms depending on internal religious rules, traditions and customs. If a nation's religious rules, traditions,and customs conflict with the CEDAW committees view of women's rights, that nation must find new religious rules, traditions, and customs. [that is abortion, gay marriage, school chaplains, anything God]

What is particular concerning is the overarching view that discriminations caused by the convention itself should be ignored as being in the short term and for the greater good.

 Radical Feminism really is Marxism without economics.


"This thread is sexist and should be shut down", sayeth Samba the greatest feminist of this century.


Bowlby's basic theory that babies attach to a caregiver has never been discredited.  Over the decades theorists and researchers in the field have revised and modified and argued against different aspects of the theories of infant attachment but that is a regular occurrance with many theories in the field of psychology/psychiatry.  

It is sad and frustrating to see that many times when discussions on this forum get heated that the word "feminism" gets used as though women have some secret agenda to gain some sort of power over men.  In regard to parenting the notion that only a woman should raise kids is very ANTI-feminist.

I did however have a thought as to how shared care could possibly be arranged with babies under 2 and that is one parent did days and the other nights and this pattern was consistent 7 days a week.  That would allow for consistency of care.  A fruitful line of research would be to find in tact couples who have such a care pattern (e.g. shift workers where one parent consistently does night care of infant) to see how it works for the parents  and infant and then endeavour to see how such an arrangement could be incorporated into post separation care arrangements. Just a thought.  

April I believe that you should go to Wikpedia and change it as it states:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Maternal deprivation said
Beyond that broad statement, which is now generally accepted, little remains of the underlying detail of Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation that has not been either discredited or superseded by attachment theory and other child development theories and research, except in the area of extreme deprivation.

I believe that this indicates bowlby's theory to be at least partly discredited (of course the WHO change could easily be checked) -

Many child health care professionals even at the time did not agree with Bowlby's theory and his ideas caused such a furor that the World Health Organisation was obliged to publish a clarification called, 'Deprivation of Maternal Care: Reassessed' (1961) in which leading authorities took issue.

and

Understanding Children's Development - Pewter K Smith, Helen Cowie & Mark Blades said
Bowlby's 'Maternal Deprivation' Hypothesis The 'maternal deprivation' hypothesis is that … hypothesis, at least in its strong form, has become largely discredited.

"Care and Education in Early Childhood (2003, p82), Audrey Curtis and Maureen O'Hagan", goes as far to say that present day research would appear to discredit Bowlby's "critical period" for attachment, ….

So April could you explain what I've done wrong in finding all of the above that are so very wrong?
Please note I said Bowlby's basic theory that babies attach to a caregiver has not been discredited.  Your quote from Wikipedia (!) supports what I said.  It states that Bowlby "suggested that emotionally available caregiving was crucial for infant development and mental health. Beyond that broad statement, which is now generally accepted, little remains of the underlying detail of Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation that has not been either discredited or superseded by attachment theory and other child development theories and research, except in the area of extreme deprivation."

Bowlby theorised that an attachment between an infant and it's caregiver is important.  That theory is not discredited.

Other aspects of his work have undergone revision and I also made that point in my post.  The concept of maternal deprivation has most certainly been revised and I have never even made mention to it for modern concepts of attachment don't incorporate issue of maternal deprivation.  Precisely why I advised that referring to Bowlby in discussions of care arrangements for babies and infants in post separation situations would be to detriment of credibility as that particular aspect of his work is redundant and newer research informs such discussions now.
April said
Bowlby theorised that an attachment between an infant and it's caregiver is important.  That theory is not discredited.
His theory and theories went far past that and it's not in the realms of rocket science by any way to understand that a child will be more satisfied/content/supported if given appropriate care than if not. Caregivers have fed babies since there have been babies, caregivers have soothed children from at least ancient times when lullabies can be traced back until. So it is clear that the basics that you appear refer to were well known well before Bowlby's theories and should not be attributed to Bowlby. Perhaps there should be MikeT's basic theory that people need food to eat to survive. At least you'd appear to support that one. :)
Very funny, but I think you need a catchier name for your theory!

What you say is true.  Newton saw the apple fall from the tree and said the process whereby that occured was called gravity, but people already knew apples fell from trees.

Bowlby saw baby ducks/geese following their mother and used this notion to name a similar process of connection between human baby and parent and called it attachment.  Intuitively simple, but he named it, like Newton named gravity.  Of course his elaboration of that theory was quite gender biased and half a century later attachment theory has evolved significantly.

Ok so I'll call it MikeT's catchier theory :). How is Newton's stuff gender biased? :) I wasn't aware that gravity even had a gender, is it male or female? :)

Regarding your intact families I don't think that our child suffered any duress being cared by us and from an early age from others. From soon after birth the mother returned to work which basically coincided with her leaving very shortly after I got home from work (around 6pm). I'd bath, feed, change nappies and put him to bed. Very few issues. At weekends we'd do whatever we did when we did but basically shared the caring duties. When he was 6 months we moved to Australia when his grandparent's would often take care of him. He was very content and happy most of the time. Not that I'm saying that just this could be considered a sound basis for anything. However, I have little doubt that our situation was that unique. He never took to breastfeeding and for the first few months had expressed milk, often from the freezer, and then formula. So I firmly believe that attachment is not limited to a specific gender nor likely even to an individual and that babies and infants are a lot more tolerant than some would have us believe.
You are right attachment is not gender based.

Good to hear of the care arrangements you came up with for your baby and how they worked.  I suspect that was at least partly because the care pattern you had was fairly consistent from the start.  If a baby is in a fairly consistent pattern then occasional changes become easier for the baby to make sense of.  Of course some babies just seem to be more settled than others.

The problem that courts face is coming up with care patterns for babies and infants when the care giving has been provided predominantly by one parent, and the other parent now wants more of a role when the relationship breaks down.  The conservative approach would seem to be preservation of the existing care pattern and this makes sense in light of what research suggests, particularly in high conflict situations.  High conflict cases are not just where one party is being difficult, it is where both parties can't co-operate.  This is where the people seem to disagree and suggest that babies should just be expected to cope with frequent change, however research shows that many babies really don't cope with inconsistent care arrangements and develop an insecure attachment which can lead to further problems.

Personally I would love to see a society where both parents share the care from day 1.  I suspect there would be less post natal depression, less financial disparity between the sexes, less disputes surrounding care after separation and maybe even less separations in the first place because both partners would be going through the same things.  This would require employers to offer more family friendly hours at a minimum and a change in thinking about gender roles.  

Editor said
An excellent post worth considering carefully. I have emphasised a couple of key issues. I would be interested to hear more about what we can do for high conflict parents where ONE parent does want to play a significant role and the other does not allow the role to develop. It is that scenario we see often cause a far more complex problem to resolve in court. Where one parent is wanting more than say a minuscule offering from the other, they are accused of being "difficult"

The new legislation may give us some additional leverage to deal with wayward parents.

Previous definition.
Paragraph 60CC (3) (c )
(c ) the willingness and ability of each of the childs parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;

New provisions

(c ) the extent to which each of the childs parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity:

  (i) to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and
  (ii) to spend time with the child; and
  (iii) to communicate with the child;

(ca) the extent to which each of the childs parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parents obligations to maintain the child;

All,

Cor blimey what a lot of activity,

McIntosh has edited a SPECIAL ISSUE of Family Court Review: Attachment Theory, Separation and Divorce: Forging Coherent Understandings for Family Law. Ypu can see the list of contributors at;

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fcre.2011.49.issue-3/issuetoc

McIntosh says the following about Bowlby;

As a body of knowledge, attachment theory was spawned in the 1950s by John Bowlby, then nurtured and developed significantly by Mary Ainsworth, Mary Main, and their colleagues. Recent years have seen a burgeoning of new psychological and neurobiological research into attachment relationships, aiding understanding about the process of attachment formation and its developmental functions through the lifespan.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-1617.2011.01382.x/full

McIntosh makes no bones about the fact that all the contributors are in the 'Bowlby Tradition'.

There is an interview with his son JOHN BOWLBY'S LEGACY AND MEANINGS FOR THE FAMILY LAW FIELD: IN CONVERSATION WITH SIR RICHARD BOWLBY which I personally find a hoot!

onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-1617.2011.01392.x
/full

Dr McIntosh mentions the neurological side but says this,

ON GENDER OF THE PRIMARY PARENT

On the role of gender, the following points were consistently made:

Infants do not have gender biases when it comes to attachment formation. Their bias is for responsive, attuned, predictable, warm care within one consistent caregiving relationship, and then, subsequently, others.

While being a woman is clearly not a prerequisite for being a primary caregiver, Schore suggests from current neuroscience that dominant mother care of infants is not just sociologically informed: in normal development, the female brain is specifically equipped for the largely nonverbal, affiliative, nurturant aspects of attachment formation with an infant.

This sounds like 'Double Dutch' to me because she wants it both ways.

Anyway my plan (if anybody is interested) is to make a video on each of the articles from the McIntosh Special Edition.

My first video was a general concern;-

VIDEO - Dr Jennifer McIntosh and the Bowlby / Ainsworth Paradigm

http://youtu.be/rS8Jo3oJo-Y

VIDEO - Professor Alan Sroufe and Shared Parenting -Divorce and Attachment Relationships (There is no mention of the neurological side in this interview)

http://youtu.be/dmwRGE535YI

The only problem with Shared Parenting arises when there is high conflict. About this, there is no argument.

kip

PS Some years ago I tried to edit the Wikipedia pages on Bowlby. However the pages are dominated by the popular view of Bowlby originally expressed by April and certainly admired by McIntosh.

PPS I had no idea about the McIntosh Special edition when I started my dialogue with April but it now seems apparent that this publication was the real inspiration for her new guidelines. What McIntosh is advocating is called by the judiciary in the UK as the 'Tender Years' doctrine.

PPPS Any comments on the videos much appreciated.

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'.
April - It's a pity Bowlby didn't study Kiwi birds instead of Ducks!
Kip said

My first video was a general concern;-

VIDEO - Dr Jennofer McIntosh and the Bowlby / Ainsworth Paradigm

VIDEO - Professor Alan Srofe and Shared Parenting - Divorce and Attachment Relationships (There is no mention of the neurological side in this interview)

The only problem with Shared Parenting arises when there is high conflict. About this, there is no argument.

kip



PPPS Any comments on the videos much appreciated.
I got a lot out of the videos, well presented so thanks for preparing those.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Kip, I appreciate you are a man passionate about the role of fathers in their childrens lives.  However your interpretation of theories and research in this field is misleading and demonstrates a lack of qualifications/education in child psychology.  The huge concern for me is you present yourself as an authority on these matters when you are a lay person.

Who published your book Even Toddlers need Fathers?  Anyone can self publish a book, send copies of it to official sources and request their feedback, and then quote that feedback as pseudo recommendations for ones own book.


I watched the first you tube video you mentioned in your most recent post and you have made a major fundamental error in your reasoning.  It surrounds the use of the word security. The word security has its regular meaning we would all be familiar with as in a sense of comfort and security.  In other words, to feel safe. However, within the scientific discourse of attachment theory the word security has a different meaning.  It is used to describe a style of attachment, not safety.  The word secure is used in a theoretical sense and not in relation to fear.  Infants who dont display a secure attachment are said to have an insecure attachment.  Again, this is not about fear, it refers to describing the style of attachment.  There has been ongoing discussion as to how best to classify and understand more insecure types of attachment, and Rutter and colleagues add to that discussion in the research you refer to at the end of the you tube video, which is -


Emanuel Miller Lecture: Attachment insecurity, disinhibited attachment, and attachment
disorders: where do research findings leave the concepts? By Michael Rutter, Jana Kreppner, and Edmund Sonuga-Barke and was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 50:5 (2009), pp 529-543

In that paper the authours (including Rutter) suggest that the existing secure/insecure classification should be expanded for the purposes of more accurate association between attachment style and strength and subsequent psychopathology.  The research is a discussion about expansion of the classification system to incorporate dimensional aspects of disinhibited attachment as a more sophisticated diagnostic paradigm than the classification system of secure/insecure.  The conclusion they draw is that clinical assessment may be enhanced by classifications which go beyond the more basic secure/insecure labels which may be too simplified and lead to misleading correlates with psychopathology.  This is not a criticism of the existing system of classification per se, but a suggested refinement.

At no stage in that report does Rutter and his associates refer to insecurity in relation to fear, rather it is discussed in terms of classification and assessment measures.

There is a danger in people surfing the internet in search of information and coming across abstracts from scientific journals and quoting from them out of context.  You have not read the above quoted report in full I suspect because if you had you would have noted that Rutter and his associates also wrote

"It was a major strength of Bowlbys original formulations that they derived from research across multiple species and not just human infants, and that it took account of evolutionary and biological perspectives"

"We need to remind ourselves that Bowlby was at pains to emphasise that attachment did not constitute the whole of social relationships"

"We conclude that the field of attachment is alive and well, and we welcome the broadening to include a much greater range of patterns involving different meanings, and also its greater focus now on the complexities of understanding the continuities and discontinuities in attachment features over the lifespan"

(quotes from p.539).

Kip you have suggested that Bowlby and Rutter were of complete opposite views.  While they had divergent views on some matters, the notion that Rutter stands opposite Bowlby is simply not true.  They are/were both attachment researchers.  Furthermore, the field of attachment is one of the most researched areas of psychology and your suggestion that babies should be made to adjust to inconsistencies in care patterns that we may wish to impose on them is contrary to the consistent findings of this field.
April,

You are good, you are very good and I hope others get as much pleasure from your postings.

I am a qualified and registered teacher with training in both Child Psychology and Child Sociology.

You say that 'Attachment Theory' is not 'gender based' but how did we get there?

As you are aware Bowlby in, 'Maternal Care and Mental Health' (1951), linked the act of mothering to the state of mental health in children,


'What is believed to be essential for mental health is that the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment…It is this complex, rich and rewarding relationship with the mother in the early years, varied in countless ways by the relations with the father and with siblings, that child psychiatrists and many others now believe to underlie the development of character and mental health'. (page 11)

Even towards the end of his career, in 1986, Dr John Bowlby still saw the,

     'relationship of a young child to the mother as an important determinant of mental health'.

What is alarming in the work of Dr Jennifer McIntosh is that in the interview with Sir Richard Bowlby he says that his father's first book was 'Child Care and the Growth of Love' but it was not. It was 'Maternal Care and Mental Health'.

You do not need to be the brightest card in the deck to see there is something not right here!

The reason Attachment Theory is not gender based is because of the work of Professor Sir Michael Rutter who did not come from a Bowlby tradition.

Even at the time Bowlby produced his theories there was professional disquiet and that was the reason the World Health Organisation published a follow-up to his own work called 'A Reassessment of the Effects of Maternal Deprivation'. (Please note this is not generally available and because Ainsworth is the first author cited, without sight of the publication, critics claim it was written in support of his theory!)

In 1972 Rutter produced 'Maternal Deprivation Reassessed', which I quote from in the video you have seen. He took these general criticisms of Bowlby's work and presented them in a single coherent book in which he shows that fathers can be just as important as mothers, even to very young children. As you will see from Bowlby's Citation Classic (1986) he cites this work and describes Rutter as his 'erstwhile critic'.

Bowlby's theory of attachment was called 'Maternal Deprivation'.

It was because of the work of Rutter that we now know that this theory is not correct and that the attachment theory should not be 'gender based'.

It is because of the work of Rutter, not Bowlby, that we also now appreciate that a child can have more than one primary care giver.

You are correct to say that I published my book, 'even Toddlers Need Fat
hers', myself (and would dearly like to republish). At the time I sent a copy to Rutter and was privileged to get an e-mail in reply describing it as an 'interesting and informative guide'. Amongst other people the Vice President of the Family Division Lord Justice Thorpe said that I have a, 'history of responsible campaigning and writing on issues relating to family relationships'.

I still write to Rutter, for example I asked whether he could produce a set of guidelines to deal with Parental Alienation? and received a reply.

In your posting you say to me,


     'You have made a major fundamental error (your emphasis) in your reasoning.  It surrounds the use of the word security.'

I do not know whether you have had the opportunity to read the whole of Dr McIntoshes Special Edition on Attachment Theory but I guess, given the amount of time, you probably have not.

But you have put your finger on something that really perplexed me. Throughout the Special Edition McIntosh refers to attachment in the terms of 'security' as you describe and in one article uses recent research from Rutter to justify this definition. (Dr McIntosh also cites her own article in support for her guidelines on Toddlers).

I could not rest easy with this explanation because it did not sound right(?)

So I followed up the citation by contacting one of Rutter's co-authors and, believe it or not, she works in the University in Southampton where I live!

I do not get free online access to these papers, as you know, so I e-mailed her explaining the reason for the request and received a copy in reply.

This research paper confirmed what I had suspected that the Special Edition had taken the quotations out of context and the work did not support the claims made in the publication.

The reason the Special Edition has used these references is because they want to give the publication credibility by pretending that it is endorsed by one of Bowlby's leading critics, sometimes described as the 'father of modern child psychiatry'.

As I say in the video, in her work Dr McIntosh is using security as a 'measure' of health and happiness in children which Rutter says, not only cannot be justified, but is 'misleading'. (This conclusion is reinforced by more recent research).

As you can understand because you come from the Bowlby / Ainsworth tradition this is quite a body-blow and undermines not only the central assumption made in the Special Edition but the Toddler guidelines.

This is a significant concern because it shows that the publication is not only inaccurate but dishonest and there are other aspects of the Special Edition that are not right which I intend to show in future postings.

I personally believe Rutter's greatest achievement was to challenge accepted sexist stereotypes which I believe Dr McIntosh is trying to resurrect and reinforce through her work, for example her guidelines. (Please see my video on Dr Sroufe who states in the Special Edition that fathers cannot 'nurse').

Your previous posting in which you try to distance yourself from Bowlby's work shows that the concern I expressed in my letter to the Attorney-General, with the kind support of the SPCA, is entirely justified.

You can now see this for yourself and therefore you have sought to defend the theory and attack me personally.

Because I come from the UK I feel as though I should not be interfering in an Australian forum but your postings have made me, at least, feel it is worthwhile.

kip

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'.
I must admit that I really enjoy the exchange of dialogue between April and Kip. Please keep it up.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
Kip wrote…Dr McIntosh is using security as a 'measure' of health and happiness in children which Rutter says, not only cannot be justified, but is 'misleading'

Right there is your fundamental error of reasoning. You have completely misunderstood what Rutter and his colleagues were concluding. I explained this in my previous post. You are confusing Rutters use of the word secure, as I explained in my last post.


Kip, you have found the following sentence in an abstract for a paper published in a journal of child psychology and psychiatry (full reference given in my previous post) and taken it completely out of context. It was from Rutter and colleagues work and the quote is -


It is seriously misleading to view all of these patterns through the lens of security/insecurity



You have interpreted that line to mean that Rutter et al are suggesting that security is not a measure of health and happiness in children and that we are all being misled. In other words you are using this quote to refute what McIntosh said.

WRONG.

Background - there are different types of attachment styles. An infant who has/her basic needs met in a reasonably predictable way is usually found to have a secure attachment style. Other infants experience inconsistent treatment from their caregiver or are abused or neglected. These infants are usually found to have an insecure attachment style. Note this is not about fear, just a word used to describe a style of attachment. However, lumping all of these insecurely attached types together under the one heading of insecure can be problematic from a classification and assessment point of view. So if all insecurely attached infants are studied as a sub group together, misleading outcomes occur in research and understanding. We know that infants with poor attachment (e.g. because they are abused or neglected or because their carer is a drug addict etc) exhibit disturbing symptoms. However, studying all insecurely attached infants as though they all have the same problem leads to statistically misleading correlations with subsequent psychopathology or disorders. Therefore, the next step is to understand and refine further the classification of different types of insecure attachment for the purposes of more accurate analysis of outcomes, and this process has been evolving for some time now. Rutter et al were contributing to this broadening of understanding attachment styles beyond secure/insecure. If you read the whole abstract (at least) you can see that was the purpose of the research.

To make it clear, Rutter et al were suggesting that it is misleading to consider attachment in such a simplified manner as secure/insecure as it lumps all insecure types together and does not recognise the variety of different insecure attachment styles (e.g. disinhibited) and that this over simplified secure/insecure classification is creating MISLEADING correlations and associations with subsequent psychopathology and psychological conditions. Your interpretation of the abstract you read is completely incorrect.

Kip, I am not in an ongoing discussion/dialogue/debate with you and I am concerned you are enjoying my posts. I respond to what you write because I know much of what you write is misleading and I am so concerned that the polite but grossly misinformed point of view you constantly present will be interpreted by people who read your posts as some legitimate alternative understanding. I am particularly concerned that you are now seeking support from the SPCA to lend legitimacy to your campaign. You make you tube videos as though you are some authority on the topic, but what you say in those videos is misleading.

I strongly urge the SPCA to be cautious about associating their good reputation with this man who is not qualified in any way as a psychologist/psychiatrist, who has not done research in the field, who selects bits and pieces of information that he finds on the internet and attempts to repackage them as some sort of cogent theory and who reduces any piece of contemporary research he does not agree with or understand to a debate about Bowlbys theories as they stood from the middle of last century.

I am distancing myself from any further discussions with Kip, because it appears that my attempts to correct his basic misunderstandings of research in this field are being interpreted by him as some type of legitimate debate on the topic.
monteverdi said
… the exchange of dialogue between April and Kip. Please keep it up.
It would be helpful to get some authoritative guidance by way of a comparison of the authorities used here. Which authority should be correctly applied to what argument. At the end of the day most contributors are interested in children and getting the best outcomes possible in high conflict cases. The extremes are no contact for three years and on the other some time arrangement that meets guidance outlined in the authorities tested here.  What is that time line? What would be workable in real orders where one parent is not co-operative? Is it possible to convert any of the good dialogue into some sort of operational framework?


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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