A thought about the way newspapers cover shared parenting legislation, child custody, fathers’ rights, etc.

Boston, MA–Background: The Boston Globe recently discussed Fathers & Families‘ shared parenting bill at great length in their editorial A fair role for fathers. While the Globe did not endorse the bill, the editorial essentially agrees with the main arguments behind shared parenting. Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Executive Director of Fathers & Families, responded to the Globe in his blog post A Win or a Loss? You Decide.
A couple thoughts about the way newspapers cover shared parenting legislation, child custody, fathers’ rights, etc.: They always seem to quote a string of attorneys opining on why shared parenting is not best for kids and why somehow dad shouldn’t see his kids more than a few days a month, yet none of them have any training or expertise on children. They’re not child development experts. They’re not child psychologists. They’re not psychologists of any stripe, nor have they usually had extensive experience with children. I’ll freely admit that the attorneys seem more credible on this stuff when they agree with me than when they don’t, but I always wonder why the people who spent their graduate years studying tax law and wills and trusts are quoted as the experts on this vital children’s issue, whereas the people who actually are experts on children aren’t. In the Globe piece, for example, Charles Kindregan, a law professor at Suffolk University, and Fern Frolin, a lawyer and the chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s family law section, are both quoted against the bill. They do quote psychologist Marsha Kline Pruett who, not coincidentally, is in favor of the shared parenting bill. The lawyers oppose shared parenting, the psychologist is in favor–hmmmm. Also, why are Holstein’s credentials and expertise on children ignored? Ned is identified as “the founder and executive director of Fathers & Families,” which is OK, but he also has a background in psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics. He has a Masters Degree in psychology and cared for many children when he practiced medicine. He is on the faculty appointment at Mt Sinai School of Medicine in NY and is a member of the Public Health Committee on the Massachusetts Medical Society. Some of that certainly seems worth mentioning.

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