Mundane matters for dads
The Australian (Australia's national daily newspaper), by Caroline Overington, September 8, 2005
Divorced fathers who see their children only once a week or once a fortnight are at risk of developing a "Disneyland Dad" syndrome, where they are focused on entertaining their children, rather than developing a strong, meaningful relationship.
A report by Bruce Smyth at the Australian Institute of Family Studies says divorced fathers are often denied an opportunity to have "mundane" contact with their children, "doing ordinary things, such as just tucking them into bed, or sitting down to peel potatoes".
The report - to be included in the institute's winter edition of Family Matters, and which reveals that a quarter of fathers have no contact or see their children less than once a year - says the recent debate about child custody was "all focused on the numbers".
"It was all about 50/50 or 80/20 or 70/30 time splits," Mr Smyth said.
The preoccupation with numbers "means that separated parents can lose sight of what is most important, which is how the arrangement is structured".
As an example, he said overnight visits often took place on Fridays and Saturdays, "when dads might feel they have to take the children out. It might be better if these visits happened on a weeknight, so the father can have the experience of making the child's lunch, and taking them to school, waking up and having breakfast with them."
Mr Smyth said the "apparent obsession" with fathers for 50/50 shared parenting might reflect a desire for "time to develop Read More ..oseness with a child" by just "hanging out, talking about things".
"There are a lot of children in Australia who only see their fathers twice a month," he said.
"So their dads become these good-time dads or Disneyland Dads, who feel like they have to do something, to show the kids a good time."
Mr Smyth said non-custodial fathers often felt that the time allocated to them was "stilted, shallow, artificial and brief".
He said custody arrangements should allow both parents to experience "fluid, meaningful time, with each parent".
According to recent studies, about 34 per cent of non-custodial parents have "standard contact" arrangements, where they see their children every weekend, or every other weekend. About 26 per cent never see their children or see them less than once a year.
Rick James Lohstroh, a doctor at UTMB, was fatally shot this summer, apparently by his 10-year-old son.
ABC13 Eyewitness News, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Dec. 29, 2004
The 10-year-old Katy boy accused of murdering his father this summer is now the face of an unofficial psychiatric disorder that may have lead to his father's death.
Some psychiatrists call it Parental Alienation Syndrome and they say that's why the son killed Doctor Rick Lohstroh last summer. The syndrome is basically caused by a bitter parent who poisons a child against the other parent, usually in cases of divorce.
Nearly one in 10 girls and one in 20 boys say they have been raped or experienced some other form of abusive violence on a date, according to a study released Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.
More and More teens are becoming depressed. The numbers of young people suffering from depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert says.
BBC, UK, August 3, 2004
Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now has depression.
Unless doctors recognise the problem, Read More ..uld slip through the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.
Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published next year. Professor Kendall says a lot Read More ..eds to be done to treat the illness.
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.
Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.
Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.
It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.
At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.