NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
May 6, 2016
MOTHER’S DAY FALLS AMID FAMILY LAW REFORM ACTIVITY IN STATES INCLUDING MISSOURI
BOSTON – At least one-third of all mothers these days are single mothers. This Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 8 – National Parents Organization honors the crucial role of single mothers, while actively supporting shared parenting after separation or divorce as the best possible arrangement for them.
Shared parenting is a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent. National Parents Organization urges single moms to join the push to make shared parenting the new norm, specifically, to support legislative proposals in many states, including Missouri, that advance it.
“Caught up in the pain and anger of a divorce, it is often very hard for a parent to accept the fact that the child loves and needs the other parent too,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. “On top of that, the family courts are still stuck in the mindset that their job is to pick one parent to be the custodial parent. The attorneys often prey on parents by creating fears of losing custody, and also entice them with the supposed advantages of winning sole custody. These so-called ‘advantages’ include a bitter and expensive custody battle, children who do more poorly than with shared parenting, a permanently hostile ex, and a relentless ordeal of work and childcare.”
A treasure trove of research now shows that shared parenting is best for children if both parents are fit and there has been no serious domestic violence. Plus, shared parenting promotes parental equality, gives mothers and fathers equal opportunity to pursue career fulfillment, helps close the gender pay gap, allows them time to pursue personal aspirations, and allows both to be the hands-on, loving parents their children crave.
While full shared parenting remains unusual, a handful of states have had laws supportive of the arrangement for years, and at least three states, as well as Sweden and Australia, have implemented reform in recent years. Additionally, the arrangement has recently received high-profile endorsements, including support from the Catholic Church, the 2015 International Conference on Shared Parenting, and the Council of Europe. Contrary to the claims of opponents, shared parenting is overwhelmingly popular with the general public. For instance, when Massachusetts put shared parenting to a vote, an overwhelming 86 percent chose it as the best option in most cases. Similar results are found in several surveys and in formal academic research.
“Shared parenting is an all-around win,” Dr. Holstein said. “As we pause to celebrate Mother’sDay, I can’t think of a better way to help single moms than to make shared parenting the norm after separation or divorce.”
RECENT RESEARCH: SHARED PARENTING VERSUS SINGLE PARENTING
Shared Parenting Data
- The Journal of the American Psychological Association published a paper titled “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report” in 2014, and the conclusions were endorsed by 110 eminent authorities around the world. Authored by Dr. Richard Warshak at the University of Texas, the paper concluded, “… shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.”
- In 2016, Dr. Warshak wrote, “Two years after its publication, the conclusions and recommendations of the Warshak consensus report remain supported by science.” He also wrote, “The paper has been translated into at least eighteen languages and has informed legislative deliberations throughout the U.S. and parliamentary deliberations in several countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Finland, Romania, Croatia, and Sweden. Two years after its publication, the consensus report continues to be one of the most downloaded papers from the journal’s website.” He added, “The list of endorsers and their stature and accomplishments reflect the field’s general acceptance of the consensus report’s findings as rooted in settled science from more than four decades of research directly relevant to this topic, including seminal studies by many of the endorsers.”
- The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health published a 150,000-person study titled “Fifty moves a year: Is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?” in May 2015 that concluded shared parenting after divorce or separation is in the best interest of children’s health because the arrangement lowers their stress levels.
- The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) published the recommendations of 32 family law experts in 2014, and the group concluded, “Children’s best interests are furthered by parenting plans that provide for continuing and shared parenting relationships that are safe, secure, and developmentally responsive and that also avoid a template calling for a specific division of time imposed on all families.”
Single Parenting Data
According to federal statistics from sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, children raised by single parents account for:
• 63% of teen suicides;
• 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;
• 71% of high school drop-outs;
• 75% of children in chemical abuse centers;
• 85% of those in prison;
• 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; and
• 90% of homeless and runaway children.
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization
A regular contributor to local and national media, Dr. Holstein is Founder and Chair of the Board of National Parents Organization. Dr. Holstein was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to the Massachusetts Working Group on Child Centered Family Law, and he was previously appointed by a Massachusetts Chief Justice to a task force charged with reviewing and revising the state’s child support guidelines.
A graduate of Harvard College, Dr. Holstein also earned a Master’s degree in psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His medical degree is from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he serves on the faculty.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, seeks better lives for children through family law reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers after divorce or separation. The organization is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bond with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. In 2014, National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws. Visit the National Parents Organization website at www.nationalparentsorganization.org.