June 21, 2011
The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine ran a feature interview Fighting dad (6/18/11) with Fathers and Families” Board Chairman and founder Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. The piece discussed, among other topics, H02684, our Massachusetts shared parenting bill, which has been endorsed by nearly a third of the Massachusetts legislature. Holstein explained:
Women”s groups are also against [the bill], but they can”t turn out a crowd on this issue. The public understands this is good for children.
The Globe’s Jenna Russell asked “A decade and a half ago, you founded Fathers and Families, now a national advocacy group that lobbies to make shared custody the default after a divorce. What”s been your biggest obstacle?” Holstein replied:
Old-fashioned gender bias. Just as it hurts women in the workplace, we think men and children are hurt in family court by the same bias. Judges still award [physical] custody to mothers by default; fathers still see their children every other weekend and maybe Tuesday nights. It”s a cookie-cutter solution that has outlived its usefulness.
The consequences of this, Holstein noted, include:
There is evidence showing adverse outcomes [for kids]. They feel terrible, they long for the missing parent, and begin to draw conclusions that they”re not worthy.
Russell asked “Is it frustrating to get stereotyped as ‘angry dads’ out for revenge against ex-wives? Holstein replied:
Of course. Opponents attribute all kinds of negative intent, but our idea is so simple: We love our kids and want to help raise them.
The full interview can be seen here.