Findings suggest baby spending overnights away from mum CAN be harmful...(191 Posts)
Not strictly an AIBU but relevant to many threads on this board. What a relief for so many of us to have evidence that we're not being selfish when resisting overnight custody arrangements for our tiny offspring - or even overnights with grandparents on their own for that matter.
"OP I am with you, I am always reading on here about evil MIL's wanting over night stays with baby and here is a nice study that can be used to say no to MILs"
Because that's the most important thing after all.......
OP I am with you, I am always reading on here about evil MIL's wanting over night stays with baby and here is a nice study that can be used to say no to MIL. Sorry that it turned into a bun fight and I hope that this doesn't put you off posting in the future.
Oh and KobayashiMary I too read the article. My criticism is slightly different from yours. I could not see a decent justification of the dataset they used. I assume they needed a longitudinal cohort which contained a large number of young children whose parents were living apart in order to get adequate numbers. So this might be the best available sample. Or it might be the only one which measures attachment in any form. To be fair to the authors it is a secondary analysis so they hardly get control over any of those things. The only thing that is determinative of whether this is good research is what factors influenced their choice and that was not clear to me.
If they are right and the question has received so little attention to date we are not going to get samples of decent size any time soon to address this problem.
Thanks for coming back Faberge and giving such a measured response. Having read the report which is definitely good-enough research but hardly earth-shattering it seems really sad that so many people have felt threatened by it.
The really big issue is nothing to do with this study which is irrelevant to the choices parents in the UK make regarding work, childcare or residency. The big issue is why we are having debates in which we defend our choices on every issue and launch ad hominem attacks against anything that might imply, even obliquely, that one of our choices might be suboptimal. I'm as guilty of this (on other topics - I think I've been measured here) as the next poster. But it is a characteristic of Mumsnet debate and AIBU in particular and it is sad because so much of Mumsnet is supportive and generous and demonstrates all that is good about parenting communities. But if we spend 90% of our time telling other women that they should feel empowered to make their own choices about childbirth/infant feeding/work (which is what I passionately believe and think everyone on this thread believes too) we completely undermine that message by spending 10% of our time assuming that every message concerning breast v bottle or SAHM v WOHM appraises our choice personally and needs to be fought tooth and nail.
Research studies populations. Parents make decisions in specific circumstances. No matter how strong the body of research evidence was suggesting that children experienced more behavioural problems in later life if they experienced shared residential care as babies (and the evidence base right now is tiny and not necessarily generalisable to British children) there will still be plenty of children to whom this is irrelevant because sharing care in all the circumstances was the optimal arrangement for them. I've spent lots of my DD's life in hospital. It could theoretically have affected her attachment to me but I'm hardly going to feel guilty about it because the alternative would be being dead and that would be much much worse.
I think that's a really graceful post, faberge. Thanks for the kind words. I got your direction straightaway and was thinking of the same context, mothers put under pressure to give the baby to someone else overnight when they don't want to. Hadn't realised it would be mis-interpreted as an attack on working mothers!
Well, this has been interesting! My DD diverted my attention last night - apologies for posting and running.
It didn't occur to me that this study would be considered relevant to those posters having to leave their babies for work reasons. It should have.
I have seen a number of agonised posts over the last year by mothers of small babies who are clearly experiencing deep anguish at being pressurised to give overnight access to non-resident parents and grandparents. I've read the reported accusations of selfishness, preciousness and obstructiveness and seen these reiterated by posters. Yet these are mothers who are going through hell to raise their children well and often wish to support other relationships. It doesn't go far enough to say 'I left my child at such and such an age and was jolly thankful someone was giving me a night off and how can you be so mean and you'll appreciate these offers when you've got a real taste of parenthood to be honest.' There is nothing these mothers can respond to such comments except to say, but 'I don't want to and it feels wrong!' And this, for reasons beyond my understanding, is not considered enough. The law doesn't seem to have much understanding to throw at this issue either - it sometimes seems we haven't progressed beyond King Solomon suggesting simply splitting the child in two. I thought this research pointed in an interesting direction for mothers who are being, I believe, bullied in a way that I'm convinced is not optimum for the baby. Berating working parents was not my intention - but this should never have been the focus, as the topic concerns the welfare of children, not parents.
I happen to think there is a place for research like this. Regardless of parents' personal feelings, there is a need to find out as much as possible about what makes a stable home and the conditions in which children thrive most. That may mean findings suggest aspects of parenting is not optimum in some way. We have to accept this and come to terms with it individually. I have been housebound for much of my toddler's life. It's not optimum. I can see how she's been impacted. I would welcome a study looking more deeply into this. I don't feel I have the right to rule out study because it might make me feel bad. (This is not why researchers do their job). As someone said, 'good enough' parenting can be just that.
Edam, you have written such insightful and measured posts. It seems that feelings were running too high at that point for any kind of reasonable response. I'm sorry a post I started should has clearly given you grief.
For those having a problem with the journal title - many journals have inane names that seemed appropriate a number of years ago. They've not been changed but it doesn't mean what it would if the journal had been recently named.
I wish I hadn't started the thread. I suggest we all leave it.
3feet - I KNOW that they are ads. My point was that just because there were ads around like that back in the day didn't mean that mothers thought it was good to give babies junk - anymore than I think it's fine to give mine processed crap now. You seemed to be using ads in an argument about what we'd still think was ok if it weren't for research.
ALL research has an agenda BTW.
I have also read the paper and agree entirely with KobayashiMaru.
I will add that the authors' claim is that the children who spend frequent nights away from main caregiver show more insecure attachments than those that are never away overnight. The problem is that the former sample is very much smaller than the latter, and is tiny in absolute terms, meaning that any comparison between the groups is completely meaningless.
Add to this that they are testing a very specific deprived US population and, as KobayashiMaru says, using a test administered by the mothers which normally requires a trained assessor, and I think we can safely say that this research is really very poor.
Hardly naive. Didn't you read the rest of what I said about research, and bias?
The motivation for most research is to find out more. For what purposes, well, thats a minefield. But what do you imagine is the primary purpose of research?
"What's the motivation for any research? To find out more, to advise on policy, to help people make the best of things, to inform, to learn....."
You sweet naive soul, you!
What's the motivation for any research? To find out more, to advise on policy, to help people make the best of things, to inform, to learn.....
Maybe there is a particular motivation for this research, its entirely possible. Maybe there isn't. It really shouldn't matter, it can be evaluated using scientific criteria. In my opinion (and I do know, to a certain extent, what I am talking about) its not a great study, though it does ask some interesting questions, which are valid ones to research.
My problem with this thread was the OP's use of a study she had neither read nor understood to justify her own personal issues.
Yabu to tout something as evidence when all you've read is the abstract. Nothing wrong with posting about an abstract you've read, as long as you're clear you don't know enough to be sure what it says. Now, if Kobayashi is correct you look a bit silly, since a study asking people about things they're not qualified to measure doesn't amount to even half decent evidence.
Honestly, I don't know how some people find the time to worry about these things. What would our grandmothers say?
Trying to take into account every conflicting (questionable) study is masochistic.
You don't take any notice of nonesense studies not related to babies so don't take any notice of this one!
whats the motivation for this research?
Have spent a happy few minutes leafing through those vintage ads. I recognise some of them from stuff I've read on advertising/feminism. My Mother has kept some copies of Honey magazine from the 1960s, and there are ads for Consulate cigarettes that look like bubble bath ads - all 'fresh as a mountain stream'.
Feminine the ads come from this Vintage Ads That Should Have Been Banned
How reliable likes.com is as a source, I have no idea (never heard of it before) but I have no reason to believe these are faked, do you?
Drinks like Cola certainly did used to be sold as tonics.
KobayashiMaru Tue 23-Jul-13 11:17:02
everyone should read this post ^ ^ ^
"It used the mothers interpretation of the infants attachment to her (using a measurement she is not qualified to use)"
It starts by focussing on a group who are disadvantaged to start with, and seems to conclude that its only a problem for preschoolers.
Also how is a the parent who has 70% of overnights the nonresident parent?
three are you sure those first 2 ads are not spoofs?
I don't think there shouldn't be studies or discussions on anything that seems critical of parenting choices but as soon as something like this is produced people seem to come out of the woodwork saying 'See I am right to never let PFB leave my side till they are 18 and you are all bad parents and affecting them for life if you do'.
I think that is what many people are objecting to, it is good to have evidence of these things so parents can make informed choices but something like this is very objective and really depends on so many other factors in a childs life.
I was thinking about my niece and how when her dad left my SIL she was looked after my lots of different people, staying overnight at various places but never regularly enough for it to feel routine for her. I don't think the fact she was staying out overnight was necessarily detrimental but more that it was all over the place for her. She was 2 and it was very confusing. Once a better routine was established she was so much better.
I agree absolutely KobayashiMaru, and nice one for actually reading the study and letting know about it (sounds like bad science).
Sorry if my post made it sound as if I was saying that scientists don't ever have agendas but are only in pursuit of the truth (if only!).
What I'm objecting to is the notion that we shouldn't discuss anything that can be seen to be critical of parenting choices, or that scientists do studies motivated by a desire to make parents feel guilty about parenting choices!
threefeet unfortunately, there are plenty of scientists with agendas, as much as we might hate to admit it. And there are a lot whose research is sponsered by companies with agendas.
Pure science has no bias, but lets face it, a lot of what abounds is not pure science.
I think I'm the only person who has actually read it, but notwithstanding that:
The study measures a very very small group of infants who spent overnights with the nrp (something like 26 from a sample of 5000).
It used the mothers interpretation of the infants attachment to her (using a measurement she is not qualified to use)
It fails to point out that a child spending regular time with the nrp is likely to have TWO secure attachments, to the RP and nRP both.
They are comparing children who have regular contact with their fathers negatively to those who have none or very little, and failing to point out that the benefits of that contact have very positive indicators of their own.
The study has many flaws, and is not in the slightest way representational of anyone here.
Does that help?
Yes of course they're ads
Do I really have to spell it out? OK, here goes ...
Those ads would not be acceptable now. They seem ridiculous because we now know that fizzy drinks and cocaine are not the healthy tonics people once thought. Opinions have changed over time, and science has played a large part in that.
(Can't quite believe I'm having to explain this).
Threefeet - those are ads.I'm pretty sure there were plenty of parents who disnt give thier babies soda to drink. Those KRAVE ads we have now are really convincing - all that wholegrain goodness under acres of chocolate coating - but i wont be giving my child Krave or Cocopops or sodding 'fruit' shoots anytime sooN
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