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Dr. Isabelle Fox on Overnight Visitations: As Harmful as We Suspect?

Submitted by on Friday, September 4 200948 Comments

By Rita Brhel, managing editor and attachment parenting resource leader (API)

Isabelle Fox, PhD

Isabelle Fox, PhD

Attachment Parenting International regularly fields questions from members regarding different aspects of attachment, child development, and challenging family situations. Easily the largest area of concern is among divorced and separated parents who are involved in custody cases in which the other parent is demanding overnight visitation for an infant or young child.

Parents involved in this stressful situation believe that overnight visitation is harmful not only to their individual attachment with the child but also to the child’s overall development. Isabelle Fox, PhD, a psychotherapist, author of Being There, renowned expert on API’s Principle of Providing Consistent and Loving Care, and a member of API’s Advisory Board, wants to leave parents with the truth – that, yes, overnight visitations can be quite harmful to the young child…but that, unfortunately, the courts system is woefully behind on education in this arena of child development.

Dr. Fox spoke during the second day of API’s 15th Anniversary Celebration gathering in Nashville, Tennessee, last weekend, in a special Hot Topic session, “Custody and Separation.” The session was attended by parents, therapists, and others who work frequently with attached parents dealing with the heartbreak of shared custody, especially with infants and young children who are not yet able to verbally express their needs and wants.

Among these parents was Christy Farr, API’s former executive director who lives in Nashville. She went through a divorce when her children were very young and struggled through a time when there was little information as to the effects of various custody arrangements on the wellbeing of children. Even now, as more information becomes available, parents are still challenged by a courts system that focuses more on what the parents want in terms of equitable division of assets rather than on the rights of the child.

“It’s been only in the last ten to 15 years that I’ve been confronted with so many people going through divorce,” said Dr. Fox, who not only advocates for attached parents in shared custody cases but who is also involved in divorce prevention. Her and her husband, Bob, an attorney, are co-authoring a new book, Who to Marry?

Why Divorce is So Hard on Children

Regardless of the many reasons why divorce rates have soared the past decade, marital separation is certainly a concern of child development: “All children experience it as a great stress,” Dr. Fox said.

When one parent moves out of the house, and out of the family dynamic, that poses a major break or disruption in attachment that, if not handled sensitively, can cause long-term damage to the child’s emotional health and ability to maintain healthy relationships.

While divorce and separation is never easy for any age of child, those who are school-age or older are able to verbally express their feelings in the presence of a supportive parents. But what about a preverbal child – an infant or young child not developmentally ready to describe their feelings about a situation in words? No doubt that the end to a marriage, and family dynamic, can be especially confusing and frightening to this age group.

The Problem with Overnight Visitations

Probably the most talked-about tension surrounding shared custody is when the courts system grants overnight visitation rights of an infant or young child to the parent who is not the primary caregiver, so that a baby who is accustomed to cosleeping and nursing at night is forced to be separated from the primary caregiver and put into the care of the parent who may be reluctant to continue attachment-promoting practices.

Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to overnights, not only because the more intense Attachment Parenting (AP) practices such as cosleeping and nursing at night are likely at this age but also because children this age have a difficult time understanding separation.

“Aloneness feels much more intense during the night, the dark,” Dr. Fox said.

She gave the example of Steven, a typical ten-month-old baby who has learned to handle the nighttime hours by seeking comfort in the smell, touch and holding, singing voice, and rocking motion provided through his mother. Steven’s father demands overnight visitations and the courts system grants his wish. While the situation could be aptly explained to an older child, who can also voice his concerns, Steven has no language development either to express his feelings or to be prepared through explanation for the sudden change in nighttime routines he’ll experience going from the familiarity of his mother’s care to unpredictability and perhaps fear and confusion, as in the case of a father who does not practice AP himself.

It is impossible for a parent to explain to a ten-month-old baby that she will be back. “All that stays with him is loss and anger and fear,” Dr. Fox said. “There is no cognitive understanding” of what is happening.

In Steven’s situation, there will be a lot of crying at his father’s home during the overnight stays. Eventually, the crying may stop but the rage remains. When Steven returns to his mother, he will be extremely clingy, irritable, and anxious about separation from her for several days after each overnight visitation. Steven will feel a sense of abandonment during each visitation, then anxiety upon returning to his mother, and literally a need to re-acclimate to his normal care routine. It’s an enormous amount of stress on a young child’s emotional capabilities.

The biology of this stress is illustrated through the high levels of the hormone Cortisol, which floods the brain and impairs development. Lifelong effects of chronic Cortisol release include anxiety disorders, anger problems, and withdrawal. In addition, overnight visitations do nothing to improve the attachment bond with the non-primary caregiver and actually strains it.

Attachment-Based, Not Biological

Dr. Fox’s recommendation against overnight visitations with a non-primary caregiver applies always with the primary caregiver, often the mother but perhaps the father or a grandparent. The trauma an infant or young child can experience is related to the threat to the attachment bond, not to the biological role of each parent. Therefore, “overnights away from this father [the primary caregiver] could be just as stressful as overnights away from the mother,” Dr. Fox said.

“There are 3 million stay-at-home fathers in the United States right now,” she added. “So, you can’t be judgmental; you have to see what the situation is,” and not assume the mother is always the primary caregiver.

The same holds true for families in which both parents are primary attachment figures to the child, a phenomenon known as tandem parenting and explained by James McKenna, MD, during API’s 15th Anniversary Think-Tank Event. The solution here would be to allow overnight visitations with the parent who is accustomed to putting the child to bed at night, whether or not he or she is the primary caregiver in all childcare tasks. “This is because sleep is different; it’s a process,” Dr. Fox said.

Alternative to Overnights

Night and day visitations have very different impacts on a young child, Dr. Fox said. A parent demanding overnight visitations must be especially careful of who is the primary attachment for the child, as well as whether the child is developmentally ready to handle an overnight visitation. A child normally isn’t ready to spend a night away from home, except an emotionally close family member, until at least the school-age years.

Rather, a parent who is not the primary caregiver and would otherwise wish for an overnight visitation should request more daytime visitation.

When Overnight Visitations are OK

If the parent can wait until the child is at least three years old before requesting overnight visitations, the effect is much smmother on the child who is able to better sense time and has improved language development. The child can not only better express their feelings but also can understand a parent’s explanation of what will happen during a visitation and afterwards.

“Wait until the child is two or three and is able to truly prepare for a different process of going asleep,” Dr. Fox said. “So, it isn’t such an abusive act to snatch the baby away from one parent and give him away to another.”

The Problem with this Logic

Whether a parent would ignore a child’s developmental needs in favor of overnight visitation rests in the parent’s maturity level as well as pressure from the courts system.

“The courts are miserable,” said Dr. Fox, who added that the system is under educated on how nighttime separations affect child development, to the point that some spouses who speak up for their children against overnight visitations are labeled as anti-father or anti-mother. The focus in Western society is on the rights of the parents, rather than that of the children. “Courts are very fair and equitable in what to give to each parent,” Dr. Fox said, “but a child is not a bank account to be divided.”

What it comes down to is the decisions made by the parent seeking custody. Dr. Fox told the Biblical story of Solomon who encountered two women claiming the same baby as her own. The woman who was truly the mother was the one who cared more about the baby’s wellbeing than custody of the child. The take-home message, then and now, is: The parents who love their children will focus on what’s best for their child, regardless of whether visitation is granted during the daytime only or overnight.

While there are many cases of the father being the primary caregiver, it is a recent development that non-primary caregiving fathers have started to demand overnight visitations. Part of this new trend, believes Dr. Fox, could be that if a father can get partial custody, he pays little to no child support.

“In years past, the courts never took children away from their mothers until three or four years old. Even then, preschoolers have a very difficult time moving from home to home,” Dr. Fox said.

A Compromise?

Some parents and therapists believe that getting infants and small children used to small separations away from their primary caregiver helps to prepare a child for overnight visitations. Dr. Fox warns of this advice, especially with the younger child: “I think three or four year olds can have small separations like going to a preschool or something else during the day, but overnights are a big deal!”

Inevitably, some parents will have to deal with shared custody and overnight visitations of their children at the non-primary caregiver’s home. So what does Dr. Fox recommend?

  • Talk about the situation and play it out with dolls or teddybears.
  • Teach the non-primary caregiver how to put the child down for a daytime nap to ease into the bedtime routine.

Divorce-Proofing Your Child

The future of marriage and stable family life lies in what our children learn about dealing with conflict and stress in relationships from our own marriages – and AP is helping parents to lay the foundation for future, healthy marriages.

“To make a good marriage, you have to have the capacity to form real, long-term commitments and you teach that in the first two years of life,” Dr. Fox said, further illustrating that overnight visitations are a bigger issue than who has custody rights.

48 Comments »

  • Caitelyn Smith says:

    Oh thankyou so much – I am currently going through a particularly difficult custody battle, and one of the main points is my son’s father wishes overnight visits from Nov 20 THIS year.
    My son is 16 months old. We don’t co-sleep, but his cot is less than a metre away from my bed, and we sleep facing each other, as well as the fact that he likes to cuddle my shirt to sleep – this is his comfort blanket. He is also still breastfed during the night – he finds it more fun to just play during the day unless he is tired.
    But my point is that I shall be printing this for my lawyer, to prove the point that his father is pushing too hard – while I understand his father may love him, this is more about what his dad can get from Social Welfare.

  • Micaela says:

    I read with attention the article because I am separated and my two-year-old child lives with me and we co-sleep. His father wishes overnith visits but, fortunately, in Italy, courts generally decide that the age 3 is better for it. I am still waiting for the court decision, and I hope this trend is rispected.
    I completely agree with you, children until they’re 3 or 4, aren’t ready to spend the night far from their house.

  • Kelly says:

    I’ve experienced this firsthand. I co-sleep and nurse my daughter (now 2 who was 14 months old at the time. My ex wanted overnight visitation, because he felt like it was only fair. I was outraged and terrified. He had seen her a handful of times for the first 5 months. Since then he gradually saw her more, and did bond with her during the day on weekends and sometimes for a day during the week. I tried presenting him wih information about overnight visitation, and why it was not a good idea until she was older. I offered him as much daytime visitation as he could do. He even stated himself on one occasion that he thought holding off overnight visitation until she is older was in her best interest. But then he got mad at me over something, and basically told me to forget any sort of agreement outside of court.

    Unfortunately, it did not go well in my case. I didn’t have a terrific lawyer, and when I tried explaining Attachment Parenting to the judge, and how/why I wanted to wait until she was older for overnight visitation, his lawyer made me look like a father-hating, power-hungry mother.

    Since the judge’s ruling (overnight visitation every other week) my ex claims that she has gone to sleep just fine without crying. So, who knows. But I did notice after I would pick her up from his house on weekends she stayed with him, she would act out more than normal and was a bit clingy. She would cry the next day when I would drop her off at the babysitters, for example. Things have improved since then a little, but I often wonder if it will have any long-term consequences.

  • Sonya says:

    I’m going to be battling the same thing. My son is 7 1/2 months and his father wants to take him over night and I keep saying he isnt old enough. My son is not a very good sleeper and he still breast feeds in the middle of the night and co-sleeps after he wakes. He sleeps so good with me. His father thinks I baby him and react immediately to my sons wants and needs. I will go to court and fight with everything I have to prolong the overnights for as long as I can. I don’t want my son to suffer or to have any long term effects because of my poor choice of a partner.

  • Concerned Father says:

    This is crap.. pure and simple. Attachment styles have everything to do with parenting style, and there are enough studies that say children of divorced parents who get along and are able to work together have just as good a chance at normal lives than kids who come from intact homes. And there are plenty of kids from intact homes who end up with very serious emotional problems. What of them? Why is this only an issue when people divorce? It’s all about the parents, plain and simple, and whether or not they are still together doesn’t matter one bit.

    I’m so sick and tired of women who think just because they pushed out a baby, they have exclusive rights to it and all decisions about the child’s welfare. Children deserve to be loved – and deserve equal time – with BOTH parents. That is why the courts have been trending toward awarding 50/50 custody… because that IS WHAT’S BEST FOR CHILDREN. BOTH PARENTS. It’s quite hypocritical for women to cry for equality in every other aspect of society.. but eff dads who actually want to be a part of their kids’ lives. They don’t deserve it because, well, they’re just dad. Go get bent.

  • Father says:

    What about daycare? Is overnight visitation with the father much different than 8+ hrs in daycare while the mother is at work?

  • Another Father says:

    We agreed to the AP approach to parenting our 25 month old child, however I did not agree to be squeezed out of the picture when my wife decided to move out a month ago.

    Thank God the courts agree that a working father could have as much of a bond with his child as the stay at home mother and granted me equal shared custody.

    I agree with one of the other father posts… the AP model we agreed to as parents placed mom as the primary caregiver when we were a couple and she was at home. Now that she is going to have to work to support herself, what makes the daycare or non-father caregiver that would watch the child a better replacement than the father.

    Supporting this nonsense (non overnight visitation) and preventing/delaying the child from dealing with the new dynamic is, in my educated (child psychology) opinion, just as confusing and damaging to the child. In fact, all perpetrating this myth does is support the mothers legal custody battle, and prevent the father from ever becoming an equal ‘primary caregiver’.

  • Concerned Grandmother says:

    My concerns are what to do if no primary caregiver is established? We have a 15 month old grandson whose unwed parents decided to separate after 9 months. The mom works days and the dad works nights. The child is moved around between 3 different homes. This includes both day and night visits. If we are watching the child while our son sleeps and if the mother is working until 10-12 at night, we will usually keep our grandson over night rather than disturb his sleep. All 3 place have a child’s room. I realize this is not an ideal situation but we do try to provide a period of transition as the child is dropped off and picked up. I worry alot about attachment but for now, there seems to be an even balance. Kisses are given to the parent as they leave for work and our grandson seems to know they will return. There are no tears or scenes made. I hate that the family life is so unconventional but we try to do things together so he knows we are all supportive of this young one’s life. I guess time will tell…as for now we are doing the best we can.

  • Not Having It says:

    It’s amazing to me. So many men* are so quick to walk out on their children, then moan and cry about how it’s their “right” to equal time. These men will break up a family because of their own selfishness, and then go to court to complain that it isn’t fair for them not to have their children own terms. Seriously, “fathers,” you need to grow up. If you want equal time with your kids, then love their mothers and figure out a way to keep your families intact. Instead of assuaging your own guilt by reading some study that claims that children from divorced homes can fare just as well as kids from intact homes, do the best thing for your children and give them the best possible chance by working on keeping your families intact. And don’t believe the lie that society tells you: when you divorce your spouse, you actually DO divorce your children, too.

    *For the record, I’m obviously NOT talking about men who’ve been left by their wives.

  • N.Z says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more…..”Not having it”!!! I believe in what you wrote with all my heart. I so wish people would see what all this family separation is doing to all these kids!

  • K says:

    “not having it”- You are my hero! Well spoken! I wish someone could have slapped that information into my soon to be ex husbands head. We have a 6 month old and he wants 50/50 custody even though we are now 130 miles apart! Right now he has unlimited time to come see or son in my home and so far in the last month he has spent 2.5 hours with him. He is a stranger.

    I did everything I could to try to save my marriage for the sake of our son. I worked harder and put up with things that no woman should have to. Just to find out he was skimming money from our account to divorce me behind my back and had been having an affiar since before our son was even born.

    He talks the talk about wanting to be a dad but never does the actions. I just hope and cross my fingers and pray that the judge will see that too. My son and I are very close. Until he can verbalize his wants and needs, he does not need to be sleeping over night anywhere but home.

  • A Great Father says:

    I can’t believe this garbage. You have these people that think that all men are useless. I am a child of divorce, and I loved when I got to go see my dad. They separated before I was 4 years old. I myself separated from my wife when my son was only 2 years old. She was the one that left the house, but my son is only allowed to sleep at my house 2 nights every other week. My son tells me now, he turned 5 in June, that he wants to be with me more… the problem is, is that his mother, and the power of the liberal courts, won’t allow it even though it is what he wants. If they were truly looking out for the best interest of the child, they would actually consider what he wants. The kick in the pants is that my new wife is expecting a child, and my son won’t be able to spend very much time with his younger sibling.

    Thank you liberal America.

  • lauren says:

    What about this. I have a thirteen month old little boy who i have raised by my self after his alcoholic father ran us off… Father lives in Mississippi, we had to come to Colorado, this is where my mom and family is, I needed help and support! It was a tough time. We moved here st patricks day and phone records show where my sons father has called 2 or 3 times. The father also doesn’t even sign his own child support checks. My sons 67 year old grandmother wants to fly here to Colorado and take him back for 7 days..This absolutely crushes my heart.. I’m not comfortable with the situation at hi so i just went to pribt shipping labethis must have been a mistake on my part, all. My little boy will not go to bed unless im right there by him, he wants his “mama”. I don’t know what to do. He fell at daycare last week and got stiches, so that made me realize if something happens 2000 miles away it would be awful..I am.concerned about his well being . He is 13 months and 100 mph and in everythinh. They are older and he is a handful. Not to even mention the father of my child AMD the things going on in his life. I will not have my child around drugs, drinking, profanity, etc. My son doesn’t know these people well and the last thing i want is for him to feel scared of betrayed… Please help!! What do i do..

  • Mother 2 says:

    Dear Mothers and Fathers

    I guess we all agree, that we want to ensure that we increase likeliness of having our children grow into functional adults.

    So, why not research what the Professional’s are saying, like Dr Fox, then lead with your heart, for what is best for the children, not ourselves.

    I believe that Primary Carers are NOT saying that the Others are incapable with overnight stays or that they have no rights for overnights stays.

    I believe that Primary Carers, are asking to hold off the overnight stays until the child is able to verbalise requests and have a better sense of time, and also understand that the primary carer will return. Night time is a different ball game to day time. I also believe, that we, Primary Carers, are NOT wanting to hold back frequent day time visits.

    When the child has developed their language, they will feel so much more confident for overnight stays.

    To the Secondary Carer, please understand, its not a dig or stab at you… its about trying to reduce the risk of emotional disfunction. I do understand that you may be grieving the loss of your child but please understand, its not about the Primary Carer or yourself… Its about the children…. Look at the day time as a great opportunity for you to bond to the child/ren

    I do hope my daughters Father will have her over night, when she has developed her language and has already built a solid trusting relationship with me, so she learns how to strengthen a solid relationship with her Father and others, forever more.

  • Cassie's Mama says:

    Every case is different. If the child does well with visits with the non-custodial parent- let them do it. That unfortunately doesn’t work in every case though. For us, my 2 year old daughter screams bloody murder for hours when left with anyone else. Night time- forget about it. Nobody will get sleep with the screaming (note: we are an attachment parenting family, so crying oneself to sleep is not encouraged). For some children, it truly is too stressful to be away from the primary caregiver. We have tried for awhile to make the transition easier and it is not getting better. She is just emotionally not ready to leave mama and the nest. Please consider your child’s emotional reactions. It is always case by case, but if this is your situation- work out a solution for the child- not the parents. And yes fathers- I agree it is good for your child to spend time with you and develop a bond too. However, sometimes there is a role that you just cannot fill through no fault of your own. No daddy bashing here- there is just a way to handle the situation for the child and a way to handle it selfishly.

  • Simon says:

    This information is very generalised and can be misleading. The statement that a child is not ready for overnights away from the primary caregiver until they are ‘at least school age’ is, frankly, rather ridiculous and contradictory. Perhaps at age 3 that can be said, or whenever they develop language and cognitive and self-awareness (toilet trained?) abilities they are fine for a single overnight stay once or twice a week. What is not good is consecutive nights in a row before that stage. And notice that the key is they retain an attachment style routine at night, ie, the father should have the toddler in bed with them, not isolate the child in a room alone when it is used to API style with mum the rest of the time. If the father believes and practices API before the separation there is no reason a child from about 24 months and older cannot have occasional overnights with a loving and devoted father who the child already has some API style night time experience with. This is article should have been more balanced along those lines.

  • Momy says:

    My ex married me to get an immigration benefit. After our son was born he left within 2 1/2 weeks. He withdrew all money in the bank and told me he would not say where he was going. Someone must have pulled his coat tail and said do not throw out the baby with the bath water. He resurfaced and demanded visitation. He now wants overnights. I believe he committed fraud in order to obtain his immigration benefit claiming that I abused him. The court does not care who did what to whom and seem very sympathetic towards him. I was told to contact immigration this was useless. Look at the news they are only chasing criminals. Needless to say I do not trust him. I think he is a flight risk. Any suggestions???

  • me&thegirls says:

    My husband was having an affair while I was pregnant with our second daughter. My oldest was 2 at the time. I tried hard to save the marriage but. once I realized he was lying & had no intention on ending his affair. I moved out with my daughters who were then 9 months & 3. At that point the affair was almost a yr long he had barely any attachment to the youngest as he wasn’t ever home to bond with her. After I moved out he could’ve cared less to help out financially or see the girls as he was busy wining & dining the other woman. I went and got child support enforced & filed divorce (he was appalled that I did such a thing) <~~guess he thought I was a weak! They are now broke up and he has been seeing the girls more but cancels frequently even though he knows this upsets my oldest who is now 4. He wants overnight visits now I told him when the oldest is 6 I think she will adjust better to that transition he disagrees. Anyone have any thoughts? (Let me add they will never be permitted to spend the night where he currently resides as the basement is a moldy mess he hasn't had garbage pickup in months and they will be foreclosing on it soon)

  • Yuri says:

    When mental health professionals offer opinions that obviously violate logic, common experience, and common sense, we cannot rule out the possibility of intellectual dishonesty….

    “Infants and toddlers often sleep away from their mothers and away from their cribs. They sleep in strollers, car seats, bassinets, and parents’ arms. They sleep in day care, in church, and in grandparents’ homes. Any married couple who takes a vacation in the first few years of their child’s life leaves the child in someone else’s care. Clinicians do not routinely advise parents against taking such vacations. If infants can tolerate sleeping away from both parents during nap time at day care centers, on what basis can we argue that sleeping away from one parent, in the familiar home of the other parent, would harm children?

    The opinion that children can tolerate sleeping during the day in their fathers’ presence, and in the presence of hired attendants in day care centers, but not at night with their fathers, cannot be said to express a scientific judgment. It reveals a bias often rooted in inaccurate assumptions about early child development. Experts who endorse blanket restrictions cannot provide adequate scientific justification for their opinions. Courts, attorneys, and parents should be aware of such limitations.”(Warshak 2000)

  • C says:

    My daughter had to leave her abusivev spouse when the child was 2 weeks old. The now former spouse is ODD,Mood Disorder,OCD and Clothmeia(sp?). He only wants to make her life as hurtful as possible.He has visitation and recemntly started an overnight on=ce a week The baby now 10 months old comes home exhausted and looking confused. What can be done. It seems a crazy dad has rights but a child has none.Ky

  • Good Dad says:

    My daughter’s mother and I never lived together. Great baby, unfortunate circumstances. I would love to spend every day with my daughter, but unfortunately I am forced into being a part-time dad. The mother is insistant on this attachment parenting theory and thus expects that I won’t have overnights for 2-3 years.

    However, this is a theory, right? Are there years of analysis that says this is the best style of parenting? Most of the articles on the topic on this web site are by one person, Dr. Isabella Fox.

    I see some indication in the articles that if the father practices attachment parenting (co-sleeping, etc), then the baby should do okay away from the mom at night. However, there is no article that goes into detail about how this is done – because if it can be done, then it should be acknowledged by this site as an alternate arrangement. If not, then this site is simply a propaganda tool in favor of a single theory.

  • Elisha says:

    It’s unbelievable to me how I can read through the entire thread and tell the bitter parents and the parents who genuinely want whats best for their children.

    I used to be that way too, that’s how I can spot it. My son’s father used to be that way as well, so the statements sounded more than familiar.

    I am happy to say we got over the righteous attitudes and resentful behavior.

    Yes, I brought my son into this world, but I did it with the help of his father. That gives my son the right to bond, spend time, and love his father just as much as he does with me.

    Yes, his father moved 3 cities away to marry someone else. But my son still deserves to have a life with two parents involved with his growth and success.

    Yes, my ex did not know or really see our son the first 16 months in his life, so why would I desire that my son go without his father any longer.

    Yes, my ex said hurtful things about me to me and in court, but so did I when he abandoned us for those 16 months, so why continue finding reasons to bicker about the past with someone I have to leave my son with and trust will communicate with me.

    IT IS NOT ABOUT A FATHERS RIGHT! IT IS NOT ABOUT A MOTHERS RIGHT!

    ITS ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S RIGHT TO HAVE TWO PARENTS WHO HAVE THEIR BEST INTEREST AND ONLY THEIRS IN MIND AT ALL TIMES. YOUR CHILD HAS A RIGHT TO A SUCCESSFUL FUTURE, A SUPPORTIVE UPBRINGING, AND HUMBLE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH TO GROW AND FEEL SAFE COMMUNICATING WHEN FORCES OUTSIDE THE HOME BECOME YOUR CHILD’S OBSTACLES.

    Our children have so many pressures in life they will face already, whether it be education, social life, extra-curricular activities, puberty, drug/alcohol influences, and puppy love. Why add drama too?

    By getting pregnant and going through with having the child, its clear that at some point both the mother and the father thought they could both be great parents together. Why does that change all of a sudden because someone needs a break, cheats, says something hurtful, moves out, remarries, or feels needy of their child. If those are the factors that create the new basis that a person is not able to co-parent something is terribly wrong.

    No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, we all do things we regret and hurt other people, intentionally or accidentally. But this should never have anything to do with whats best for your child.

    The goal should be to help each other learn to forgive, learn to communicate, and most of all put your child first. Your past, your relationship, and your mistakes have no place in raising your child.

    Grow up before your child grows up and realizes that not mom or dad had their best interest in mind at all.

  • Michelle says:

    I have a similar situation but in a way opposite. My ex and I divorced back in 2010 and our daughter age 5yrs old then stayed overnights at times through August of 2011 with out her having any issues with going and staying but after slept horrible at my house, had nightmares, and issues. Since August of 2011 and no overnights she sleeps great, has a routine, etc… the few times she did stay overnight she came home upset over. Well now at age 7yrs and for past 6 months he is demanding more time and weekends with her staying overnights. Just asking her she has meltdowns and does not want to go. He lives with his sons ages 10yrs and 15yrs from a previous marriage and then his brother age approx late 20′s, so has been a male house from get go. Though now his girlfriend and her 5yr old stay weekends and I think it is because of her he is now showing this new found interest in his daughter. Feel helpless.

  • Penny says:

    My Grandson was put in a 50/50 custody arrangement at 18 months old. He was only with his Mother full time until then. He has to be taken from his Mother at 7 p.m. Friday until the following Friday. The Father is a Firefighter and works 72 hour shifts. During this time my Grandson is with his other Grandmother.

    This has been such a terrible strain on my Grandson and his Mother. He now has a stammer and hides when anyone rings the doorbell.
    I’m disgusted with the Florida court system for enforcing this!!

  • Bailey says:

    My daughter is a single mother whom had no idea that you have to make sacrifices when you decide to become a parent… In saying that, I(the grandmother) have been there for my grandson since birth. I was the one whom got up with him during the night when my daughter slept through his cries the first few weeks of life.

    I did not plan on raising my 26 year old daughters child but this baby needed me and I have had the pure pleasure of helping in raising my grandson. I use the word helping very loosely as my daughter puts her own needs and wants ahead of her childs and leaves all of the sacrificing to me…Which are not sacrifices to me as I love him with all of my heart.

    I am past willing to do this for him as my love for my grandson is so very deep…He is a true blessing…

    My grandson not only spent his days(10+hours per day) with me but also would spend several nights as well.

    The biological Father, by his own choice, is not involved at all and has not made any attempt to see my grandson…I am happy to say that he is in prison right now for operating a drug house and has been in and out of juvenile, jail and prison since he was 15. He is a very dangerous man that served another 4 year sentence prior to this for breaking in a persons home and beating them almost to death while stealing their money and items in their home. This man deals in hardcore drugs such as crack, heroine, ecstasy and many more.

    My Grandson and I have a true bond and since he was 5 months old, he has been rejecting her.

    My Grandson has been showing stress when his Mother is present since he has been 5 months old. He screams when she walks in the door and would hit her if she got close to him.

    The hitting turned to biting and every single day that she arrives to pick him up from my home, he gets extremely stressed and cries at the sight of her. He will not let her get close to him and I have to carry him out to her car because he will not let her touch him.

    This completely breaks my heart and talking to my daughter about it only makes things worse. My daughter is not someone that listens to reason or even capable of having a conversation like this because when I gently bring up his stress, which is so obvious to her, she yells, swears and leaves my home with the baby very angrily.

    My daughter is very moody, to say the least and when I bring this up, she gets even angrier and threatens that I will never see the baby again.

    My Grandson would prefer to be with me as his behavior shows this. I was the one whom bonded with him as his mother felt that sleep was more important than feedings and diaper changes.

    My Grandson needs me, I am his only security and his only voice as he is unable to speak for himself.

    Seven weeks ago, I frantically called my daughter wondering where my grandson was. I am rarely away from my grandson and when I could not reach her, I panicked. I was so afraid that she had left him with some stranger or even worse.

    Bare with me as I needed to give a little background so maybe someone out there whom is a licensed child psychologist or has been in a similar situation
    could give me a little direction.

    Turns out that my daughter drove, with my grandson, to a prison 9 hours from her home to visit the drug dealer/bio father…

    My grandson does not do well in a vehicle but once again, my daughter put her own needs ahead of my grandson. Not to mention that I do not believe a prison is a good place to take a 16 month old!!!

    I am trying to make this as short as possible as there is just so much more to the story but I will get to my point.

    My daughter thinks she is going to spend her life with the prisoner when he is eligible for parole in 2014.

    I, needless to say, was very upset and without thinking it through, even though I know my daughter’s temper toward me, I told her that I was going to seek custody and prevent her from raising my grandson in a drug infested home.

    My daughter told me that I would never see my grandson again.

    This has been hell. A total nightmare…

    My husband and I, along with my youngest daughter, went to see the best, well known attorney, only to find out that Grandparents do not have any rights over there grandchildren, although it is so evident that my grandson is more secure with me and shows this openly.

    My daughter has prevented me from seeing him and is leaving him with anyone and everyone.

    My youngest daughter, however, was allowed to see him after 3 weeks at my daughter’s home. My youngest daughter told me that my grandson was acting very violent and aggressive. The attorney said that he did speak with a child psychologist and stated that this was one of the signs of separation.

    It has been 7 agonizing weeks worrying for my grandson’s safety and well being…

    Then just today, my daughter called me and said that she would drop him off for an hour so I could see him. She had something to do and I was more than willing to spend any amount of time that I could with him. That hour turned into the best 3 and a half hours since this nightmare began.

    My Grandson is very different now. He is withdrawn and just so different. Difficult for me to put into words.

    When my daughter showed up, my grandson clung onto me and started crying, he then started hitting his own head very hard. He once again would not let her near him and continued to hit himself in the head.

    I gently brought this up to her and she flew off the handle and yelled, swore and left with the baby angrily as he was reaching out for me and once again told me that I would never see him again and neither would my youngest daughter….

    The courts are of no help to us. They suggested child protective services but as my attorney stated, unless there is physical or visual abuse, the chances are slim to none that it would even be looked at.

    My daughter on the other hand called me to tell me that she already contacted child protective services and told them that I was crazy and trying to take her baby away from her. My daughter is a manipulator and I feel like my hands are tied and am looking and praying for some kind of direction to turn. My grandson is suffering and I feel so helpless in my lost efforts in trying to save him….

    If anyone out there has been or is going through a similar situation, I am eagerly seeking some direction.

  • Nicola says:

    I resent the comment about absent fathers wanting overnights to reduce child support. I see the issue from both sides being married to a parent without care and having a best friend who is a single parent with care. Both have overnight visitation agreements. Daytime visitation is not possible due to distance apart. My friends son is 2 and has done this all his life happily. My stepson is ten and bar nine horrific months when his mother decided overnights were ‘damaging’ he has had overnights. If we didn’t he would barely see his brothers or father, being at school in the day and too far for evening visits.

    Ps, the nine months he didn’t get overnights were the most damaging. He thought we didn’t want him to stay because his mother hadn’t explained why. He lost a lot of confidence due to the feeling of rejection..

  • Good Mother says:

    Well here is my story and I would love to hear from the men. My daughter was three years old when her father wanted to become involved, I was on my second child in a new relationship. He served me on Thanksgiving with his new girl friend at my new address. He wanted joint custody, at the time he served me he tried to take her from my home by force. Now mind you he lives with his mother still does and was unemployed when he first put us in the system,he is employed now. He worked for 5 months in 2009 was fired, now this is his second job in the 9 1/2 years of our daughters life. We are going back to court after he physically attacked me and I stopped visitations. He filed a contempt charge that I have to fight. In his paper work he has said that I am a physically and mentally abusive mother.I provide 100% of her care and he now wants more weekends. So because he is her father does he deserve it? So when you read post don’t be so judgmental because there are some fathers out there that are full of (expletive). If the shoe fits wear it.

  • Miranda Lambert says:

    I recently am having trouble with my child. she is 2 years of age. At christmas when she came home after a week stay at her dads she refuses to put her coat on. When i finally get her to and take her to meet with him or his mother She is fine as long as i am there and when its time to leave with them she screams and says no sleep at daddys house. i sleep at mommys house. and when her dad picks her up she says she is scared and hides behind me and sometimes she covers her face so she doesn’t see him. I am now have more trouble with her. her whole attitude is changing so fast. she now spits, kicks, trys to bite. its just not her. she only does this when it is time for her to go to her dads. her dad doesn’t care about her. He just cares about his parenting time and he says its his time with her. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know if it is too much time with the overnights or if something else is going on for her to be scared of him like this. when i mention it to him his response is it is typical 2 year old behavior. I told him if it was 2 year old behavior it seems like she would do this stuff with every one not just him and his mother. I don’t know what to do

  • nick p says:

    This has to be the worst artical i have ever read in my life. Fox is so dumb im sorry but to actually think that 1 the mother is automaticlly a primary parent is outragious the baby will only be harmed if the mother tries to keep the father away from bonding time with their child this is not equal to the father but more important the baby the baby should start having overnight asap this will allow the baby to easily bond with the child bc when they start to realize whats going on only then they will be effected by change they dont know untill yhere atleast one year old so the sooner the better soo within the first three months bonding as much as possable so when the child starts to have overnight he is comfortable with the father so theres no harm the baby will feel like he belongs there bc he is used to the father and reconises daddy just as much as he does mommy lack of equal parenting only hurtkids in the long run the more equal the better for the baby everyone who adds to thos is promom and lacks heart and soul for a childs needs and a fathers rights every child i know that is wiyh there mom more the dad or visversa only seems to be emotionally damaged from the feeling of abandedment the children with both parents eaqually raising there child are the happiest smartest kids in this world as long as the have parents do the right things and are not scumbags and show there kid love everyday i cant stress enought how important it is for the father to be an equal part of the vhilds life do the words equal and fair mean anything to these ppl bc thats exactly what a child needs to be well balanced sry for my lack of grammer but its commen sense theres no other way toraise ur kid beside the right way whivh is fair equal i cant belive how ignorant these ppl are by the way my son was raised with me and mother not together he was loved on both ends and was comfortable with both never for a second did he want mom more then dad i have the happes smartest baby i could ever ask for do the right thing for your child he neeeeds daddy just as much as mommy !!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am an EXTREMELY DEVOTED single MOTHER of an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL,INTELLIGENT,FUNNY, CARING, PRECIOUS little 3 1/2 year old girl. I was surprisingly in love with her father when she was concepted. Her father and I had a VERY short 4 month relationship. During this time he has been dishonest with me. I also know he has a DARK SIDE, finding out he is into freaky Alternative sex. That was definitely one reason why I broke up w/ him, and knowing that he has had 3 DUI’s in his life, he is 50. Before knowing all this we did speak of marriage etc… Well, THANK G*D I did NOT marry him, but I also THANK G*D that I met him because my daughter is my LIFE. When I found out I was pregnant, three weeks after I broke up w/ her father, he wasn’t surprised, but he wanted to marry me, and there was NO WAY I would marry him. I completely fell OUT of love with him, BUT I did want him in our child’s life on a real level. Lonnng… story, I REFUSED to give our daughter his last name for a few reasons: #1 WE ARE NOT MARRIED #2 His last name is NOT his biological last name, he changed it, so not one other person in his family have his last name anyway #3 HE’S A STRANGER!!! Since our daughetr was born, he has seen her 3X, and I didn’t file for child support until she was two. All of a sudden since he found out that he had to pay for child support, NOW he wants custody. Yes, when he saw our child, of course he played with her, spoke with her, but then NEVER CALLED. All he has EVER DONE was be EXTREMELY INTIMIDATING to me; GOT IN MY FACE RAISING HIS VOICE that he’s going to get OVER NIGHT visits. He lives with his father, he told me his father does not agree with him being involved in the 1st place. He also tell me he’s in a relationship (Which I am THRILLED about) he told me she has a child, when I SIMPLY asked,” Oh, how old?” He raised his voice tell me it’s NONE of MY BUSINESS. When asked how his father is, “He said he doesn’t need to tell me anything.” So, he wants over night visits and he’s really VERY UNSTABLE, I truly think he is bipolar but I’m not sure about that. His hads are very shaky, he told me he has a lung problem. I would want SUPERVISED visits, for a long while, then I would mind if he saw her everyday if she felt comfortable being alone with him, how can I ENFORCE NO OVERNIGHT VISITS??? How could I send her to a stranger’s house, he’s even a stranger to me. I DON’T KNOW HIM. I’m scared to death. Any suggestions? I believe he just wants her in his life to lower child support payments, and because he wants to SPITE ME. He does NOT have our daughet’s best interest at heart.

  • Dear Anonymous,
    We invite you to email us at editor@attachmentparenting.com for more information and support.

  • Anonymous says:

    Would just like to point out to the males who commented that this is geared to bashing the father that the author clearly states this is attachment based. She acknowledges that if the father or even grandparent is the primary caregiver then separation from that person at night is detrimental. Also, for those asking how is overnight separation any different than being at daycare or other daytime separation, this website has a good article about what make daytime separation different than nighttime separations.

  • glockgrl says:

    For: me&girls – make sure you keep meticulous notes I find it’s easiest to keep them in a calendar so you can keep your dates in order. Record everything visitation missed dates EVERYTHING!
    If visitation is requested through the court then request an inspection of the property where the kids would be staying you could do some recon (pic) on your own if it is truely as un-sanitary as you described.
    Check out your local & state laws for children allowed in rental.

  • cindy says:

    I was a nursing, cosleeping mother and my ex husband moved out when the baby was 9 months old. He nursed frequently, latching on and off while we both slept. He slept right next to me very peacefully. He would spend every other Friday and Saturday night with his father. I would get engorged. In the morning we would meet in a parking lot and I would nurse him. It was heartbreaking. Then on Sunday nights after he came home, he would use his fists to punch me in the night and instead of latching on in his sleep he would cry and thrash around. Sometimes that lasted through Monday night. The United States Judicial System is abusive. The needs of children are not considered. The decisions are made by many who formula fed and used institutional care for their children from the early months on. The anti-family, anti-child legislation continues. “Like” Protect Full Time Mothers from Alimony Reform and 50% Child Sharing” on Facebook and learn how devalued full time mothers are in the US, especially Florida where Senators are pushing a bill to MANDATE 50 50 child custody.

  • christine says:

    I am going through custody for my 9 month old daughter. She has never lived with her father and only spent nights at his house when she was a newborn before we split up. I have let him come over to see her as long as he wanted, under my supervision since he refused to let me out of his house with her once and said he would put her in daycare while he works so that I cannot see her. Without a custody order yet, he really could do that! He spent about 6-10% time with her. Safe to say i am primary caregiver. We had court last week where he requested having her 3 days/nights a week. Its great that he wants to spend time with her so much and it would make school and work easier on me, but my concern is the baby. She is very attached to me and it seems cruel to separate like that. I noticed some dads previously commenting angrily that women are father hating and that it should be equal to be fair, but in court, they are supposed to be looking at the best interest of the child FIRST, then equality NEXT. if you want what is best for your child then you will look past your wants. Also, i think that if my ex and i had split up when she was first born, then splitting the week would be ok. Or had we been living together, doing time and care equally. None of those happened and she is accustomed to her life and its important psychologically she feel safe, secure and comfortable. Non primary caregivers should want to ease their young child into the change. Im glad the judge said no overnights, short and frequent visits is best. I didnt even have to say i didnt want over nights, the judge stated on his own she is too young. He was given a minimum amount of time he can visit. Im happy because now i dont have to supervise or worry about his threat of keeping her from me. Its sad though that he was only given 3 hours twice a week. I wouldve given him more.

  • jennifer s says:

    I live in Indiana I have sole custody of my son whom is four. My question is can he keep him overnight if he has no place for him to sleep?

  • Mims says:

    It’s heart-breaking reading some of these comments. My daughter and her boyfriend broke up when she was about 3 months along. My grandson stays over his father’s house for 3 days and nights since he was 2 months old. He was nursing, but when my daughter had to go back to work she put him on formula, and that’s when he started staying at his Dad’s – he is now 1 1/2, and seems very happy and well- adjusted. I think starting the overnights at such a young age enabled him to bond with both families… I hope he stays this happy…I believe it was easier for him because he was so little and doesn’t know anything else… Of course, if a mother is nursing, you couldn’t share so young…

  • Daddy Time says:

    i am not the primary parent of a 22 month old girl. My daughters mom and i get along well and we started implementing overnights at 18 months old.

    While we were together and our daughter was younger i often put our daughter to bed and got up throughout the night to calm her down and put her back to sleep.

    Now with over nights at Dad’s she does fine. Sleeps well, behaves, is not clingy, plays by herself, laughs, smiles, seems to be a happy toddler. Back at Mom’s she is a terror. She will not nap, sleep, and is having behavioral problems often times lashing out at mom.

    In the best interest of our daughter we are going to back down the overnights to see if she adjust better at moms since we believe she is not mad at mom but trying to show her disdain for the possible “abandonment”?

    Were not sure how common this is but we are willing to try anything for our daughter. i wish we would try our relationship again but that’s out of the picture.

    any other similar stories?

  • Dave says:

    My wife left when she was 8 months pregnant and we have been seperated for 8 months. She gave birth to our son without me and didnt inform me when she went into labor..i admit i acted immature and disrespected her, i felt abondoned cz she would prefere her family over me every time and she would stay at her moms constantly i finally had it and i blew up in rage..i was feeling hurt but being a man didnt really know how to express it so id get mad intead. After she left i went to theropy and have been for 7 months now. I feel i have improved but she is still the same..doesnt want anything to do with me..i give her money every paycheck, 450 to 550 a month but she still wants more..she says i dont love our son and he belongs to her only that i shouldnt even come around cz i dont care about him…it breaks my heart to hear she thinks that. I love our son and her but my wife is out for revange, i have done everything i can to save my marriage but she thinks she has done nothing wrong and will not go to counseling together. Now our son is 7 months old and i want to be an active parent in his life not juat a visitor..she wont even consider letting me take our son for a few hours and now when i go to visit her whole family treats me like i shouldnt be there and i feel uncomfortable and im not allowed the freedome to bond with him..im thinking of filing for joint custody and over nights stays. I think it would be beneficial for our son to get use to the situation and become comfortable in both home. I feel women want equality but yet dont want men to have it. I want whats best for our son but she seems to be just thinking of herself..it would be great to give our marriage a chance but i cant do it alone. I think she got what she wanted, to be with her family.

  • Dave – Though you did not specifically ask for additional resources in your comment, we can provide more information and resources about infant attachment and separation/divorce/custody issues if you are interested. Please feel free to email editor@attachmentparenting.org for more information.

  • Laura says:

    Addressing this “equal rights” issue that mostly the Father’s are bringing up: When it comes down to it there is no such thing. You are confusing your equal “rights” for equal “time” and equal “roles”. Biologically, babies bond with Mom for a reason. They were in womb for 9 months and most who practice attachment parenting know this carries over into breast feeding. If this was about “equal rights” baby would have taken up in your womb for 4.5 months, then you would have shared in the actual nursing. (not just bottle fed which is totally acceptable of course). And i am positive if this was possible the majority of you caring Father’s would have done so. I mean no disrespect there, but my point is this: There is an oxytocin hormone involved when breast feeding. This is a Mom and Baby dynamic here.

    There are two main breastfeeding hormones released during nursing, and they both serve distinct purposes for the mother and baby.
    Oxytocin and prolactin are the hormones produced during breastfeeding that work together to make milk, establish a letdown, and keep up with the supply and demand of a nursing infant.
    Oxytocin is also an important part of the mother and infant bonding process. It is the hormone that is also released during other loving behaviors that makes us feel good about a person. The surge of oxytocin while nursing is one of the ways that the mother falls in love with her baby, and the baby benefits as well because the mother is more likely to interact and care for the infant.

    I believe that Mother’s and Father’s DO have EQUALLY important ROLES but this does not necessarily mean equal time or rights. It means DIFFERENT roles that adapt to the emotional development and emotional intelligence of each individual child and family dynamic. Each child and family dynamic is unique. Most children from birth naturally have a stronger bond with Mom and as time goes on the bond forms with Dad. I am sure there are exceptions to this where Dad is primary and Mom secondary, but my guess would be there is no exclusive breast feeding from Mom.

    I am sure as our 3 yr old son matures and is allowed to wean at his own pace (only reason he wouldn’t is because Dad wants his overnights) he will be more interested in Dad and less interested in Mom and nursing. And that’s OK! Because it was done on our child’s time. That is how our species is biologically designed. Yes, if our children have forced overnights they most likely will recover and most will end up fine, possibly with some anxiety and an inability to fully empathize as adults (yikes) but our children are only 1-2- 3-4-5 ONCE. They only nurse approximately for 6months-5 years (that is stretching it in our culture) out of their ENTIRE life! These years are important in creating a stable secure attachment. Why risk it for a few overnights if the child has a set routine. The child is sleeping and if they nurse, they will be nursing. What will the Father (or second primary caregiver) be doing? Sleeping? Trying to comfort an upset and confused child? If access to nursing is not there, then what? How is that in the best interest of the child? Unless the child is ready and has no upset (and Mom of course wants to discontinue nursing or pump or nurse child next morning) there’s NO reason to do overnights until they are ready. At least in my family dynamic and my specific situation.

    In my case, my son is 3 and nurses in the middle of the night and in the morning and has co-slept since birth. Dad wants overnights, which I am open to when our son is READY. Asking a breast feeding Mom and a nursling to cease the breast feeding relationship and wean too early DOES cause behavioral and psychological issues. How could it not? Imagine you being asked to quit something you love and find comfort in cold turkey. Yet, these are babies and children who don’t truly understand what is being asked of them or why.
    Most of us do better when there is a set goal, a PROCESS. Time to ease into stressful change. Why should we ask more of our children when we need this of ourselves?
    The more Father’s try to understand and respect a Mother/child bond and respect the biological relationship, the more good he will be doing for the relationship of Father/child thus creating a better world.

  • A loving father says:

    I lived with my daughter for her first 13 months. Her mom moved to her parents house on the other side of the country. Since then I have moved as close as my job would allow which is 2 hours by car. I was generously allowed by my child’s mother to see my daughter 1-2 hours every two weeks. After the new state finally got jurisdiction I took her to court and the judge feels like I do. I’m not just a check in the mail, I am my daughters father. It’s a permanent relationship it started when she was born. I don’t understand why mothers fail to recognize the value of an invested father. If a dad can’t see his child his bond with his child is gradually eroded. My child’s mother has no issues with her being in daycare 120 hours a month but God forbid she spend a weekend with her dad to maintain a loving nurturing bond. I could understand this article if it was for infants under 6 months. But my child hardly recognizes me and after being up all night with her every other night and doing 25% of the care taking until 13 months it’s unfair. I’m sure some dads take only what the mother gives them to stay out of court and then end up completely estranged and uninvested in their kids. I’m going to maintain my bond with my kid regardless of what this author or my child’s mother think. I know 36 hours away from her mom might not be easy, and I will need to skype with them, but I’m her dad, and if I let her go now, what kind of dad will I be in the future. I agree with this stuff in infancy, because stability and learning trust with a single primary caretaker is important. But after 8 or 9 months, more harm is done by the seperation of child/father than the seperation of mother child for a weekend.

  • Andi says:

    I am so concerned for my friend’s 14 month granddaughter.
    Her daughter tried to make a marriage work for the sake of the baby.
    She moved to the Midwest away from all her supports and family in the East. 6 months ago, she left with the baby, and moved back east where her family is. There was lots of drinking and control issues.
    The daughter just signed papers agreeing to letting her baby travel 5 times a year to spend from 3-5 weeks with the dad.
    This sweet little baby has not seen her dad for 6 months.
    The dad is flying here next week, spending a day with her, then flying back to the Midwest with her for 3 weeks!
    I have been involved with early childhood education for 35 years! Every red flag in my being is going off! How can this be anything but detrimental for the baby’s emotional development?
    This little girl is very good at transitioning already. The mother works all day, but there is a network of aunts and grandmothers who take care of her. She has stayed with her grandmother the one I know. She has done very well acclimating to her grandfather while the grandmother worked. She has stayed here without her mother for days at a time and done well. I have watched this myself. She is a very happy well adjusted baby, right on track developmentally.
    Perhaps is this a new generation and with the detachment of many families these days, communicating through chats, Skype and emails, children have evolved with a new wiring?
    Instead of focusing on what doesn’t seem right about this situation, I am trying to formulate good suggestions so good success can come from this inevitable situation.
    This dad, who has spent hardly any time with his daughter, let alone any young children, will need many suggestions and “helpers” if he is going to make this work.

  • Andi,

    I can understand your concern for your friend’s granddaughter. If you would like additional resources related to divorce/custody issues and Attachment Parenting, please feel free to email me at editor@attachmentparenting.org.

    ~Lisa Lord, Editor

  • Hollywood Jones says:

    The age range is off beat to this article however I am desperate for input. My child is 8 years old. Us parents live 2500 miles apart. When we found out I was pregnant he gave me an ultimatum, get an abortion or I’m not coming back to get you (we were in the middle of our cross country move. Clearly I did not hesitate and went with the 2nd choice, he is still in his state I am still in my state. He has seen the child 5 times 4 of which were for a week give or fake a day. The other was for 2 hours. In these 8 years he has obtained 3 DUI’S ( one of which was here on his visit) and is an overly proud medical marijuana patient who admits to being a daily smoker. When him and I were together he would steal my prescriptions after my surgery to get high and purposely overdosed and convulsed in our home. He married a woman I met for an hour so she would not be deported. She also is heavy into alcohol and marijuana. They are also openly swinging with many partners. Every time her father has come I opened my home to him and allowed him to stay the whole week straight so he could be part of the childs everyday life. This last visit I refused to allow him to stay because he was constantly making sexual comments to me and tried to hold me down and touch me. After having him leave he proceeded to come back and try to kick the door in. Fast forward to now, that is the main details and he is now wanting to take her alone without my presence and I completely fear for her safety. He made a comment when she was 3 that whenever the judge grants him visitations alone he will put her on a plane and I will never see her again. Not to mention I believe he tried to innappropriatly touch my child because he wasreading a bedtime story at 2 years old and iI heard an earth shattering scream and I ran to the room she practically climbed up me to be in my arms and refused to let me put her down and was terrified of him the rest of the visit and I never left my child alone with him since.

  • Dear Hollywood Jones,

    I have emailed you directly with many resources that may be of help in your situation.

    ~Editor, TheAttachedFamily.com

  • Amanda Jennings says:

    I am in DESPERATE need of help with this. The NC court has recently issued an order that my 4 month old breastfeeding infant spend 4 nights/5 days every other week with her father out of state – almost 5 hours away.

    Any help you can provide would be helpful. Thank you.

  • Dear Amanda -

    I have just emailed you with a list of resources and contacts that I hope will be useful to you in this difficult situation.

    ~Editor, TheAttachedFamily.com

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