My last article mentioned a report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies that revealed that an alarmingly high number of children spend the day with their father but never sleep over.
These children, and their fathers, are being denied the opportunity for a normal parent/child relationship and all the benefits that accrue from this. They are children who only visit their father. They have no sense of being at home with him, or belonging to him. His home is not their other home. They miss the experience of being fed, bathed and put to bed by their father. They don’t wake up in his home and have breakfast with him.
Both father and children miss the opportunity to develop close emotional bonds by sharing in the ordinary and mundane activities that are part of everyday family interaction. The contentment, security, joy and magic of being in each other’s presence is denied to them. When they part, neither father nor child can feel satisfied with the contact.
Sometimes, emotional barriers are erected by both to dull the sense of being torn. Daytime visits are never enough. They are likely to be unsustainable in the long term. They will have little influence in countering the process of alienation that is a feature of the relationship of many non-custodial parents and their children.
40% of children from separated families have no contact with their father. 20% have only daytime contact. Only 40% of children from separated families have overnight contact with their father. For many of them this contact is minimal, and for nearly all of them the contact is constrained, controlled, determined or influenced by the anonymous, uncaring and ignorant bureaucrats of the Child Support Agency and officials of the Family Law Court.
Parents are the people who are best qualified and best equipped to determine the best interests of their children. They should be free to do so. Their responsibilities should not be displaced by the authority of government officials. Any disagreements they may have in relation to the care of their children are likely to dissipate once the influence and interference of government legislation is removed.
Children need both their parents. This is being denied to them by the Australian Family Law System.
[Photo by Andrew Neel