Oft er sagt að ung börn þurfi festu og því sé nauðsynlegt að þau dvelji ekki yfir nótt hjá því foreldri sem það býr ekki hjá. Það verði hrætt og líði illa, enda sé það svo háð móður sinni. Þetta eru gamlar og úreltar staðreyndarvillur og langar mig að benda á eftirfarandi, en þessar rannsóknir sýna að það er barni fyrir bestu að viðhalda góðu sambandi við hitt foreldrið eftir skilnað og ef foreldrar hafa ekki búið saman þá sé nauðsynlegt að byggja upp samband við það foreldri sem fyrst.

Kelly & Lamb (2000) in their article, “Using Child Development Research to Make Appropriate Custody and Access Decisions For Young Children” summarise the bulk of the research as follows:

“Current studies conclude if the parents lived together prior to separation and the relationships with both parents were at least of adequate quality and supportiveness, the central challenge is to maintain both infant-parent attachments after separation. Furthermore, when parents have never lived together, and the infant has had no opportunity to become attached to one of the parents, special efforts are needed to foster the development of attachment relationships. ….”

“To be responsive to the infant’s psychological needs, the parenting schedules adopted for children younger than 3 must involve more transitions, rather than fewer, to ensure the continuity of both relationships and the child’s security and comfort during a time of great change. The ideal situation is one in which infants and toddlers have opportunities to interact with both parents every day or every other day in a variety of functional contexts (feeding, play, discipline, basic care, limit setting, putting to bed, etc)…… ”

“With the historic focus on preserving the mother-infant attachment while establishing an exclusive home — overnights or extended visits with the other parent (mostly the father) were long forbidden or strongly discouraged by judges…Such unnecessary restrictive and prescriptive guidelines were not based on child development research. ….”

“There is absolutely no evidence that children’s psychological adjustment or the relationship between children and their parents are harmed when children spend overnight periods with their other parent. Indeed, there is substantial evidence regarding the benefits of these regular experiences. Aside from maintaining and deepening attachments, overnights provide children with a diversity of social, emotional, and cognitively stimulating experiences that promote adaptability and healthy development. In addition, meaningful father-child relationships may encourage fathers to remain involved in their children’s lives by making them feel enfranchised as a parent. Other advantages of overnights are the normal combination of leisure and “real” time that extended parenting affords, the ability to stay abreast of the constant and complex changes in the child’s development, opportunities for effective discipline and teaching that are central to good parenting and opportunities to reconnect with a child in a meaningful way……. ”

“In contrast, brief, 2-hour visits remind infants that the visiting parents exist but do not provide the broad array of parenting activities that anchor the relationships in their minds……”

“When mothers are breast-feeding, there is considerable hesitation, indecision and perhaps strong maternal resistance regarding extended overnight or full day separations. There is no evidence that breast-fed babies form close or more secure relationships to their parents that do bottle-fed babies. A father can feed an infant with the mother’s expressed milk, particularly after nursing routines are well established….”

Notwithstanding the published findings underscored by Warshak (2000) and Kelly & Lamb (2000) judges and their advisors routinely assume that after a divorce one primary parent and one primary household is not merely the arrangement of choice, but the only possible arrangement.


Warshak R A (October 2000) . Blanket Restrictions: Overnight Contact Between Parents And Young Children. 4(38) Family And Conciliation Courts Review pp 422-445

Kelly J B, & Lamb M E. (July 2000). Using Child Development Research To Make Appropriate Custody and Access Decisions For Young Children. (3)38 Family and Conciliation Courts Review pp 297-311

M.ö.o. hin gamla gosögn að börnin séu of ung til að gista hjá “pabba” er alröng. Þetta er mikilvæg staðreynd fyrir alla foreldra að hafa í huga.

Gísli Gíslason
Formaður Félags ábyrgra feðra.

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