Findings suggest baby spending overnights away from mum CAN be harmful...

(191 Posts)
fabergeegg Mon 22-Jul-13 21:19:14

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.

CoteDAzur Mon 22-Jul-13 21:20:28

What does it say?

In a very small nutshell that babies who regularly spend one night a week or more away from their primary care giver are more insecure and it can affect development.

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 21:23:47

One study, with a very dodgy outcome, and obvious confounding effects. Wouldn't be taking too much notice, to be honest.

HeffalumpTheFlump Mon 22-Jul-13 21:23:57

Clicky link please? That one doesn't work on my phone.

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Jul-13 21:29:27

Babies up to what age?

If spending just one night a week away from its Mum can be harmful, how do so many survive unharmed when they're spending up to 12hrs a day in Nursery?

katykuns Mon 22-Jul-13 21:41:39

It kinda seems like common sense that a young baby being away from their primary caregiver for a week or more could be damaging to their development. I don't know anyone that has spent that long away. But I'm thinking babies under 2 yrs...

fabergeegg Mon 22-Jul-13 21:43:08

Worra - because nursery isn't at night, I suppose. Wouldn't you affected in different ways by the same thing happening, depending on at what time of the day it was happening? And it depends what you mean by 'survive unharmed' - of course they're still breathing but we don't actually know if very young babies are affected by spending long days at we? This is not something about which I'm pretending to be an expert.

It seems that the findings were most marked in babies under a year but still noticeable in 1-3 year olds.

fabergeegg Mon 22-Jul-13 21:43:52

katy - It's not being away for a week at a time. It's being away for one night once a week.

misterioso Mon 22-Jul-13 21:47:37


I know your intentions are good, but this won't end well. I am interested and will read though, thank you for posting.

fabergeegg Mon 22-Jul-13 21:53:09

Misterioso I'm not naïve enough to think this isn't a contentious issue but awareness of these findings can only be beneficial for children.

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 21:55:56

You really need to read the journal article itself - which cannot be accessed from the link.

That link is just a report about the research paper - and The Journal of Marriage and Family? Seriously? I wonder how high that scores on the citation index hmm

ElizabethHornswoggle Mon 22-Jul-13 21:56:02

Yet another study to make mums doubt themselves or feel like crap as they have no choice but to use care.
Oh joy. hmm

I went back to work when ds1 was 4 months old working night shifts.....have I ruined his life????

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 21:56:34

It's interesting to see research on this topic. It fits with what many people would instinctively feel - that infants need their mothers (or primary caregivers when the mother is not available).

Human infants are born neonate, extremely vulnerable and undeveloped compared to other primates. Because we walk upright, the pelvis has shifted, meaning babies have to be born before their skulls have fused, in order to fit through the birth canal. By comparison with our nearest relatives, adjusting for body size and brain size, humans should be pregnant for a year - it's called the missing fourth trimester.

This extreme vulnerability means babies really do need their mothers - and preferably it is the mother, as it's her voice, her body and her scent that even a newborn recognises. Sometimes the mother is not available but where she is, no-one should be artificially separating her from her baby, especially not overnight, which is the peak of vulnerability.

Sleeping in the same room as your baby reduces the risk of cot death - and yet some people mistakenly think it's OK for the baby to be handed over to someone else one night a week. That's adult-centred thinking, not baby-centred thinking.

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 21:56:55

I bet if we could read the actual paper we could pick holes in it a mile wide.

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 21:57:01

It's about overnight, nothing to do with working!

spotscotch Mon 22-Jul-13 21:57:08

Where are the 'many threads' on mumsnet with mothers saying that their new born spends at least one night a week away from their primary care giver? The only ones I have seen are full of parents saying how they have never spent more than a couple of hours away from their 23 year old.

erm I was away from OVERNIGHT twice a week I worked night shifts.

from him even

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 21:59:03

hobnobs was working nightshifts or did you not read that bit edam?

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 21:59:12
Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 21:59:37

Haha -X post!

And I wasn't alone most of my coworkers had small children and a mortgage to pay.

Sheshelob Mon 22-Jul-13 22:00:20

My son is going to become a serial killer, obviously.


MrButtercat Mon 22-Jul-13 22:00:48

But babies do the same in the day as they do at night so surely if it's damaging to leave overnight it must be during the day too.

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:01:31

An abstract isn't enough.

Tells you sweet FA about the methods, statistics, reference points etc.

clearly ds1 is going to hell in a handcart....

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Jul-13 22:02:12

Yes but how does daylight/darkness make any difference to a baby?

The report is rubbish as far as I'm concerned.

It's stupid to say that a baby being away from its Mother for up to 12hrs a day is fine...but as soon as the moon comes out it suddenly isn't.

And OP, what do you mean by... And it depends what you mean by 'survive unharmed' - of course they're still breathing but we don't actually know if very young babies are affected by spending long days at we?

I'm sure there are plenty of adults who are perfectly fine, who spent long hours in nursery as babies.

Sheshelob Mon 22-Jul-13 22:02:19

Innit, hobnob.

Women like us shouldn't be allowed to have children.

cardibach Mon 22-Jul-13 22:03:20

OP are you using this (possibly dodgy) study to suggest that absent parents shouldn't be allowed overnight access? It sounds like you are in your first post. That would be ridiculous - and it depends on how 'Primary caregiver' is defined. If contact with an absent parent is maintained, surely the child sees both parents as primary?
I am a lone mother, by the way, and DD has had overnight contact with her father since she was really quite tiny. She seems perfectly confident to me...

depressing isn't it she....

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:03:55

You'd seriously get your knuckles rapped by reputable academics for discussing a paper after only reading an abstract edam

so op what about shift workers? care to answer pr just here to shitstir.

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 22:04:50

Yeah, I did miss the nightshift thing. But I wouldn't panic, this kind of research tells you about populations, not individuals. It doesn't mean 'every baby whose mother does nightshifts is doomed'.

And hobnobs, I'm sure your baby had a secure attachment to you by the time you went back to work!

It is useful in terms of deciding policies - so maybe courts need to take it into account when looking at overnight stays for babies whose parents are separated, or the government should work with employers to ensure women who work nightshifts get their full entitlement to maternity leave - maybe statutory maternity pay should continue for longer for nightshift workers.

MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 22-Jul-13 22:05:15

God I hate shit like this. And I double hate women putting up shit like this to other women. For what? To pile on more guilt and worry as if life wasn't difficult enough? OP this little study is just that - it is not suddenly law or accepted wisdom or about to form part of any guidelines and frankly you have no business bringing it here and presenting it as though it's the next big thing.

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:06:41

The Journal of Marriage and Family (where the paper quoted in the report was actually published) sounds like some right wing religious journal funded by bible thumpers.

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 22:06:55

Salmo, if you can't discuss something on MN without access to the full paper in a peer reviewed journal, especially when such access is only available to a very few people, there would be very little left to say.

If you've got access to an academic library, or it's so hot I can't even remember what it is but the medical system I can use for some papers (medline or am I going mad) then do feel free to post the full paper here for us to discuss.

peachypips Mon 22-Jul-13 22:07:03

I've never posted this before, but as a mum who has suffered from severe anxiety over 'doing the right thing' (which I am over) I'd like to say

how do you know he had a good attachment to me? bit of assumption oh and backtracking much?

McNewPants2013 Mon 22-Jul-13 22:07:51

Both my DC has spent night about from me ranging from 4 month with DD and approx 7 months with ds.

I think that article is a load of rubbish.

Those nights when my lovely MIL had the kids meant i was able to get a full night sleep and when they came back i was fresh and ready to give them more of my time. 1/2 because i missed them and 1/2 because i had the energy.

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Jul-13 22:07:57

And come to think of it, because my DH works shifts...he'd often see to the baby in the night for a whole week.

I'd be sound asleep the whole time and DS wouldn't know if I was there or not...and nor did he care as long as he had his Dad.

dexter73 Mon 22-Jul-13 22:08:19

What a load of bollocks.

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 22:08:31

They only looked at low income, mainly ethnic minority families in US inner cities. Hardly one to draw conclusions from, is it?

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 22:08:32
LookMaw Mon 22-Jul-13 22:09:05

Urghhh. Have to go back to nightshifts and leave PFB in September, when she is just 6 months old.

As if I didn't feel shit enough!

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 22:09:51

hobnobs, I was trying to be reasonable and was worried that I'd inadvertently made you feel bad.

Rather wishing I hadn't bothered now.

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Jul-13 22:10:37

LookMaw she'll be hanging around the streets and dealing drugs before her 1st Birthday.

You mark my words!! wink

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:11:00

No I don't have access to a national library. Which is why I'm taking this with a pinch of salt. Because I can't access it.

And do you mean PubMed?

I doubt they would list The Journal of Marriage and Family hmm

MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 22-Jul-13 22:11:05

So what's your interest here edam? What's your agenda?

lookmaw I wouldn't worry tis bollocks and as an extensive sample of one smile ds is fab and we have a great relationship

nice edam nice....

MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 22-Jul-13 22:12:28

Fuck worra - is THIS why I'm always hanging around street corners selling drugs and knocked off gear? It's my Mum's fault isn't it? I'm going to go butcher the cow now - I'm on my way as we speak!

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:12:50

It might not be bible-bashing but I'd bet my bottom dollar it's ultra right wing though...


threefeethighandrising Mon 22-Jul-13 22:13:24

fabergeegg I don't have time to read about the study now, but will in the morning, thanks for posting.

Edam, insightful post, thanks also, interesting reading.

TheCutOfYourJib Mon 22-Jul-13 22:15:47

So my born at 26 weeks ds, who had to spend every night alone for the first 3 months of his life in scbu is going to be seriously screwed up???

Sheshelob Mon 22-Jul-13 22:15:48

My 20 month old is a subscriber to The Journal of Marriage and Family. All is lost.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Mon 22-Jul-13 22:16:10

They only looked at low income, mainly ethnic minority families in US inner cities.

Yeah 'confounding factors' anyone?

What a load of rubbish in the OP to try and extrapolate a paper about custody and overnights with non-resident parents in another country into a WOHM / SAHM bunfight.

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 22:16:13

I can't think straight - the heat is affecting me - but i just want to say that it is always a delight to read your posts, Edam. Your flexibility of mind, and humanity always cheer me up.

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 22:16:31

I can't get it through my uni access, its not accredited by our portal.

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:17:09

Precisely Kobayashi - hardly a cross section of society.

scottishmummy Mon 22-Jul-13 22:18:02

You're overstating one seem to have an agenda given you think nursery wrong
Attachment theory generally is that if care is consistent,warm then child can attach to parent and family
I genuinely can't see an overnight stay with loving grandparents being problematic

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 22:18:14

Seriously, people, is it possible to discuss something, without immediately adopting an inflexible pro- or anti- position?

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:18:18

You mean your University isn't rushing to subscribe to... The Journal of Marriage and Family??!! shock

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:19:51

Sheshelob - give up now. It's too late sad

One flawed study!

i'll be booking my DCs in for therapy tomorrow.hmm

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 22:20:19

erm, tondelay, the OP made a clear link to residency issues. I think it was Worra who started the (strange, really) link to WOHM/SAHM stuff.

catgirl1976 Mon 22-Jul-13 22:20:26

Lots of things can be harmful

Especially if you are looking for evidence of that harm via a rather flawed study

I fucking hate bad science. Please stop linking to it. Ta.

flippinada Mon 22-Jul-13 22:20:30

My son's had it then - I was hospitalised with severe PND and spent more than a few nights away from him.

He seems ok now but who knows what damage I've inflicted with my selfish illness?

McNewPants2013 Mon 22-Jul-13 22:20:31

TheCutOfYourJib your DC is doomed smile

McNewPants2013 Mon 22-Jul-13 22:22:37

I really can't see how 1 night away from a loving mother to another person who loves the baby as harmful.

scottishmummy Mon 22-Jul-13 22:22:43

The journal of marriage and wimmin know your place, hell im no likely to subscribe to that

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:23:23

And scottishmummy is right - attachment theory does subscribe to the view that love and care given by key people provides a child with sense of security.

flippinada Mon 22-Jul-13 22:24:48

Sorry that was a bit snippy. It just strikes me that this is yet another piece of thinly veiled mother-bashing disguised as a study.

scottishmummy Mon 22-Jul-13 22:25:24

Basically you just need to be good enough not perfect just good enough

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 22:33:29

how is it a strange comparison to WOHM issues? If its detrimental to my child to stay one night a week with another parent, grandparent, etc, surely it is detrimental if I work at night? Or, indeed, since infants can't really tell the difference between night and day, if I work during the day?

not that it does mean that, since the conclusions are clearly bonkers. If (and its a big if) the children mentioned are less securely attached to their mothers (which is not easy to determine anyway) there are a hundred other reasons this may be so.

PenelopePipPop Mon 22-Jul-13 22:37:35

If your evaluation of whether a journal is reputable is citation index then the Journal of Marriage and the Family has a very high citation index (1/38 for family studies, 7/137 for sociology). Personally I think citation indices are bollocks so I'd ignore that. I'm not sure how you measure whether a journal is rightwing or not but there is nothing obvious that suggests this particular one is.

The researchers of this article were trying to answer a specific question - do we know if spending overnight time away from the resident parent when a child is very young is likely to harm children's outcomes in the longer term. This is important because very young children are more likely than older children to be living in one parent households and spending time with another caregiver and both parents and sometimes the courts need to consider what arrangements will be in that childs interests. Interestingly the question has not been studied much although plenty of people hold opinions on it.

So they looked at data from a large population based dataset which looked at families with a significant incidence of relationship break-up in the US. And they found there was a small but statistically significant relationship between children under 1 spending more than 1 night a week with a non-resident parent and adjustment problems (read behaviour issues) between 3 and 5. There was also an effect when children aged between 1 and 3 spent more than 1 night a week away from home but this was much much smaller. Interestingly the effect tapered off after age 5 anyway.

Their findings have no application to children who simply do not see their mother at night because she is working or away from home for any other reason. Children who live in a two parent houshold with secure attachments to both resident parents belong to a different demographic to those whose outcomes were followed up in this study.

The kind of residence arrangement they describe is extremely rare in the UK (though common in Australia where shared residence is favoured) so it would be unusual to see children in this situation here. And I would strongly suspect that the findings might be culturally specific. Since the effect is small the best that can be said is that more research is needed.

But is is incredibly unfair on the researchers to accuse them of a rightwing, mother-bashing agenda simply because they wanted to find out what kind of residence arrangements support children's attachments to their caregivers best.

LookMaw Mon 22-Jul-13 22:39:18

Ah well she already comes with me on my drug runs anyways, afterall I was cared for overnight by my ethnic minority grandparent so didn't really stand a chance!

Ironically I did my dissertation on Bowlby & Ainsworth's attachment theory. I have been so blind sad.

MoominsYonisAreScary Mon 22-Jul-13 22:39:36

Ds1 was around 8 months when he started staying weekends with his dad, poor kid teenage parents who split when he was young and away from his primary caregiver 2 nights a week. I'm surprised at 18 he has turned out to be such a happy secure loving hardworking member of society.

Ds3 was prem so in nicu for a while, then at 6 months old he had to stay with his gm while I was in hospital for nearly 2 weeks, he didn't know her very well either! Maybe I should start worrying now.

Xmasbaby11 Mon 22-Jul-13 22:40:41

I never left DD overnight in the first year, even though she slept through. I didn't leave her much at all for 6 months but then I had to go back to work at 8 months. Because I was away from her so much, I didn't want to be apart from her at the weekend and certainly not overnight. I think it is an instinct to be close to them even when asleep, unless you have reason not to. But I think parents have to do what works for them as a family - eg some mothers desperately need a good night's sleep or need to work. Needs must!

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Jul-13 22:41:17

Well no MalcolmTuckersMum

That'll be cos you're a scrubber...not your Mum's fault at all grin

<< Hopes murder has not yet been committed >>

Sheshelob Mon 22-Jul-13 22:44:05

You are a lost cause, Look.

Perhaps our children could start an international crime syndicate together? Or is that too high brow for our children? Perhaps they could just steal cables off train lines?

threefeethighandrising Mon 22-Jul-13 22:45:06

"Seriously, people, is it possible to discuss something, without immediately adopting an inflexible pro- or anti- position?"


nickymanchester Mon 22-Jul-13 22:46:16

Reading the link, this result only applies to babies under 12 months old that spend at least one night a week overnight with the NRP.

In reality - in this country as least - how often does that happen with children that young?

miffybun73 Mon 22-Jul-13 22:48:48

Was a survey really needed, the results are hardly a surprise are they ? confused

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 22:50:54

Well now Penelope since I can't access the full article I can't really judge the full picture.

Which was part of my point.

I never accused the researchers of being right wing I don't think?

I did suggest the journal might be - sounds very 1950s and that is my opinion. Which I am allowed to have.

OP, I think you've been quite reasonable and are getting a hard time.

The Journal of Marriage and Family was stocked in our Uni library, so I think it's a legit journal.

Penelope gives an excellent break down of the study. There's nothing in it about slating WOHM mothers, nor have I seen the OP trying to do so.

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 22:55:07

Everyone who has said that it is impossible to discuss this without access to the original paper is absolutely correct. It is.

It is possible that this paper is only about the effect of babies under one year moving from home to home in less than ideal domestic situations: where poverty, parental animosity, domestic instability are issues.

That is a very specific set of circumstances.

Hard to extrapolate from the above to SAHM/WOHM debate.

Without the actual report to look at, absolutely impossible to say if that what the report is looking at. But reading between the lines of the article linked to by the OP, it seems that that, and only that, is what the report was looking at.

Seriously, it does us no favours to link from unstable domestic situations to stable childcare set-ups, or even stable domestic set-ups. Why people are doing this is beyond me.

froggiebabies Mon 22-Jul-13 22:58:11

There are journals related to every area of study - not just science. Just because it isn't a medical journal doesn't automatically mean it is dodgy right wing stuff!

I don't know anything about the journal quoted but sociology is a genuine field of study and I imagine family and marriage are huge areas.

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 23:02:22

Ah. I had internet problems.

Penelope has said anything I might have said a great deal better.

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 23:02:27

you can discuss a paper from the abstract. Thats the entire point of an abstract, a short summing up of all the relevant points. You might not be able to discuss it in depth, but you can of course discuss it.

threefeethighandrising Mon 22-Jul-13 23:02:37

Worra etc, seriously, do you have to?

A study has come out which may have something evidence-based to say about children's development. As a mother I'm interested.

But you write as if you think scientists sit about thinking up ways to make mothers feel guilty. You cannot be so dense as to really believe that, surely? So why the piss taking?

What do you expect them to do if they find a result which shows something may harm DCs? Not publish because it might make mums feel pressured? (That'd be a genuine conspiracy!)

Love it Spotscotch grin

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 23:05:44

and the OP says "what a relief to have evidence....custody and grandparents" etc.
1) a single study is not evidence of anything
2) it is relating to one tiny section of one very small demographic that is in no way comparitive to the likely Mn demographic
3) OP hasn't actually read the study itself anyway.

So, yes, it warrants pointing out how bogus OP's thread is. This naturally can lead to opinions on the reporting of said study.

well said kobayashi

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 23:07:58

It really is interesting reading this thread, though.

There is an inference of the WOHM thing at the start, and then people start piling in, until the original point of the OP, and the article, are completely buried under the straw man.

It's kind of a classic example of it.

I know lots of people research communication on the internet, and this thread is just begging to be included as a classic example of quite a common occurrence.

All it needed was for a Poster to state: "Speaking as a someone who works professionally in the field of statistical research, I think this utterly demonises working mothers, spuriously" and it would have been a perfectly crazy thread. grin

Flojobunny Mon 22-Jul-13 23:08:09

Journal of family and marriage? Then surely its biased and is looking for proof that custody arrangements don't work?

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 23:09:40

not necessarily, the journal covers all kinds of family, non-traditional as well, and the paper is merely published in that journal, not the product of it.

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 23:09:40

Where did anyone say that just because it wasn't medical it must be dodgy?

And I think we do know that there all areas of study have journals.

I'm just a bit hmm about a journal that is called The Journal of Marriage and Family. It just gives a certain impression to me. I'm not speaking for anyone else.

... and I repeat, I can't access the paper so I will withhold my opinion of the results.

ThirtyLove Mon 22-Jul-13 23:10:32

My DD is 6wo and hasn't spent a night with me for the past 5.5 weeks (she's in hospital ICU).
It's depressing to have it suggested that she will be emotionally damaged from this as well as all her other problems...

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 23:13:42

Kobayashi - yes, you're right. I haven't seen the abstract, though. But you would still be right if you were talking about the article, to be honest.

Provided that we bore in mind we had an imperfect account of the research, discussing is completely OK. More than OK. It's depressing to think that a. discussion is banned and b. some kinds of research should not be discussed.

I'm leaving this thread, now. Personally, for me, it went just wrong when posters started angrily interrogating edam as to her "Agenda".

Ffs, edam has been here so long, and anyone who has ever encountered her will know her "agenda" is to being inquisitive, interested, and humane.

I was, and still am, depressed that that is, apparently, impermissible on mn these days.

edam Mon 22-Jul-13 23:15:07

Well said, Penelope.

All this outrage because some researchers did some research. And massive jumping to conclusions by the outraged.

Someone asked what 'my agenda' is. I don't have one. I just saw a report of the research and thought, ooh, that sounds interesting, esp. in the light of threads I've seen on here about non-resident parents or grandparents wanting overnight visits with babies.

And yeah, it was Pubmed I was thinking of - heat really is doing my head in.

The Journal of Marriage and Family has been around since the 1930s, the title is old fashioned. Doesn't mean there's a problem with the journal.

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Jul-13 23:16:44

Worra etc, seriously, do you have to?

No, I just actually want to

And that's because imo (which the last time I checked, I'm allowed to have) I think it's a pile of bollocks.


Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 23:18:30

That was to froggiebabies btw.

<slow typer>

Just a point Kobayashi - I was taught by my supervisor never to cite or pontificate on papers - even if I'd read the abstract - without reading the whole paper. I know obviously abstracts give the summary but if the methodology or data handling is debatable then you can only pick that up by reading the whole thing.

nickymanchester Mon 22-Jul-13 23:19:55

ThirtyLove It doesn't appear to say that. Merely that the child is more likely to have ''attachment issues'' - whatever they are. Although the majority of children in this situation that were studied did not suffer from these issues.

Hope in five pages I have not missed something and you are now arguing about pink blancmange. I have not read the whole thread...will do so now...

Having not read the study I'm not sure, but I'm pretty certain it doesn't say "if you spend one single night away your baby will be DOOMED, DOOMED you hear!" Babies are resilient things and of course can survive and thrive even when they do spend time away, studies like this are just trying to figure out the ideal, what is "best" (all other things considered).

I don't think the OP was trying to beat people who do have to/choose to leave their babies, I think she was saying "look, if you don't want to do this, you now have something to wave at the MIL/Aunt Milly" science has your back in other words.

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 23:22:00

They really need to change that title then attheendoftheday!

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 23:23:52

I've managed to get the full paper, reading it now.

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 23:24:45

Salmo - that is in a specific context, though, isn't it?

Expand that into a wider context and suddenly you have an axiom that is essentially a little undemocratic: only those who have the training, and the access, to read the original data and analysis have the right to discuss something.

I would argue that that can't be enforce rigidly and needs an awareness of time and space: what sort of discussion, taking place when and where. "Discussion", the rules obtaining to it; and even its relations to truth (for example how much truthful information is available in some discussions - it is plausible that some discussions will be truth-quests: oriented towards truthful information, but necessarily possessing less than those obtaining elsewhere), change in different places, and amongst different people.

threefeethighandrising Mon 22-Jul-13 23:25:03

"I think it's a pile of bollocks."

Really? Based on what exactly? Have you read it? What's the problem with the evidence they present?

Dahlen Mon 22-Jul-13 23:27:44

I think it's important and needs further research to back it up/refute it.

I also think, from what little I know about it, that it's going to depend very much on individual circumstances. Just as one child can be in a variety of settings, with a variety of caregivers, and have strong, healthy attachments to all of them, another child could have one primary carer only with whom they have a very poor attachment.

I think it's very relevant in cases of separating parents where abuse is involved. Due to the nature of abuse, the victim's attachment to a child can sometimes be actively prevented or just inadvertently damaged. To then forcibly remove the child for an extra night or two a week could really compound things at a time when the primary carer should be repairing the bond with the child as much as possible.

In cases where separating parents both have a strong bond with their child, I couldn't see it being a problem, nor could I see it being a problem when parents work and a child is in childcare, provided that the attachment with parents and childcare providers is strong.

thecatfromjapan Mon 22-Jul-13 23:28:06

I really am going.

(Salmotrutta - I posted that purely because I think it's interesting. I've noticed people often talk about discussion and censorship as though talk, discussion, etc. are the same thing, everywhere, and it has occurred to me over the years that, actually, different rules - and even words - obtain to discussion - amongst different people; at different times; in different locations. eg. gossip, conversation, chat, discussion. There seem to be different rules governing these, but a degree of blurring, too.

Obviously, I think of it a lot at the moment given that people are now being prosecuted for things they "chat" about on the internet .

Nomoredramaplease Mon 22-Jul-13 23:28:51

I wonder how this applies to my DSS? His mother left with OM when he was 2 months old. Should DH have refused her overnights with DSS until he was 2?

Salmotrutta Mon 22-Jul-13 23:29:50

I'm not saying no one can ever discuss findings thecat , I just don't like pontificating on supposed findings unless I feel I have had access to the whole picture.

Or as much of the picture as possible - I hate to think of parents getting guilt-ridden by yet another study that someone has helpfully highlighted (without having read it).

SolomanDaisy Mon 22-Jul-13 23:30:15

Ridiculous to dismiss the article based on the name of the journal (which refers to the study, rather than the endorsement, of marriage and family) and some unfounded suggestions that the research is shit. The abstract states that there is no measurable difference after age five anyway, which is hardly giving women a reason to feel bad. It's basically saying, don't worry too much, by the time they're five you won't be able to tell whether they spent nights away or not.

KobayashiMaru Mon 22-Jul-13 23:39:20

there is a lot not to like in it, methodologically speaking. not least they are using, as a measure of attachment, a scale designed to be administered by trained professionals, but giving it to mothers to use themselves, while stating that the only 2.6% of these mothers have a college degree, the largest section of them having no formal qualifications of any kind.
Also the numbers are large for the study as a whole but the subgroups used for the conclusions are tiny.
I'm not impressed. It's well written, but I can't see the value in some of the conclusions drawn, and there is evidence of non reported bias in the summing up.

WafflyVersatile Tue 23-Jul-13 00:17:12

When you get a quote for motor insurance you answer various questions about age, area, use, profession. Each answer has a value +4 points for being 26 yrs old, - 3 points for having a garage +20 points for having a sports car etc.

The journey between zygote and fully-formed adult is a bit like that but 1 gazillion times more complicated.

Even if overnight stays away from the primary caregiver of weekly or more often are a -2 then other options available might be -5 and there will be other gains and losses in other areas whatever your parenting arrangement is.

KobayashiMaru Tue 23-Jul-13 00:30:52

thats all true, but it doesn't mean you can't analyse correlations statistically to make sense of all those confounding factors.

sashh Tue 23-Jul-13 05:56:52

That link witters on about 'attachment' but doesn't define it or say how it was measured. One parent's 'attachment' could be another's 'clingy'.

It doesn't say, but implies the children lived with mum and had overnight stays at dad's place. So it could be the wallpaper at mums that they like better, nothing to do with being with mum.

CarpeVinum Tue 23-Jul-13 06:33:21

The Journal of Marriage and Family (where the paper quoted in the report was actually published) sounds like some right wing religious journal funded by bible thumpers.

They are basically The National Council For Family Relations, which came down heavily in favour of marriage for gay couples becuase it favoured the outcomes of the children of a gay union, and produced a fact sheet to the same end. (I can only find quoted extracts, think it was published in the early naughties) So not sure it can be assumed they are a right wing religious bunch of bible thumpers. They might be. But then again, their editor in chief is at the uni. of Austin in Texas, Austin having a rep. as a liberal oasis in the bible belt.

The study may well be deeply flawed, hard to tell when all you have is the abstract, but the assumed inherant religious bias may not be well founded.

DayOldCheesecake Tue 23-Jul-13 06:40:23

How depressing that so many of you can't even trust your husband/partner to look after your own child. sad That must be very difficult for you.

mynameismskane Tue 23-Jul-13 06:40:38

The problem is, people are so defensive in here that they refuse to see that the best thing for a baby is to be with their mummy - not left overnight elsewhere. This applies to being in nursery. However much some people want to protest, nursery for hours upon end a day is not the right place for a baby.

CarpeVinum Tue 23-Jul-13 06:43:58

That link is just a report about the research paper - and The Journal of Marriage and Family? Seriously? I wonder how high that scores on the citation index

Family Relations is abstracted and indexed in, among others, EBSCO databases.[3] According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2010 impact factor of 1.216, ranking it 18th of 40 in the category "Family Studies"[4] and 8th of 39 in the category of "Social Work".[5]

How do they score ? I can't tell not being in the know. Is that good or bad ?

GherkinsAreAce Tue 23-Jul-13 06:49:02

Thanks for posting this op - genuinely interesting!

I am not in the demographic they studied, but I am not surprised by the findings, because when DS was a baby I had to go into hospital several times overnight. He was with his dad and my dm and DF. He was very unhappy and really unsettled for a few days after each time sad

CarpeVinum Tue 23-Jul-13 07:01:29

The problem is, people are so defensive in here that they refuse to see that the best thing for a baby is to be with their mummy - not left overnight elsewhere. This applies to being in nursery. However much some people want to protest, nursery for hours upon end a day is not the right place for a baby.

I wasn't aware that had been proven conclusively, but even if it has it has to wieghed against other factors where the PC is availble round the clock, and suffers the consequences of that. Poverty being a known kicker for children.

Everything is relative. We cannot as individuals create prefection for our children. Becuase we are flawed humans leading lives plagued with issues beyond our control. All we can do is minimise the worst possible outcomes where we can, which sometimes means picking the lesser of 2 evils.

Precious few of us will ever be in a postiion to select "absolute best" for everything. Life doesn't allow for that. That doesn't mean high quality studies that point to better putcones are useless and to be avoided, becuase within the results we ooght to be able to do extention work to determine which specific facotors mitigate risk and evaluate on balance how much importance ought to be awared to them. For example, if a NR parent does not have overnight visits does this decimate the chances of the adult forming an attachment, does this impact the longevity and durability of the child/NR parent relationship, and if so what are the measurable downsides for that on both an indiviudal and population sized basis ?

Ditto the implcations for both women and children where women being placed at an econmic disadvantage by non working during early childhood creating a dependance and a power imbablace with their working co-parent.

If not placed in the context of the range of connected issues it is pretty meaningless and is reduced to a stick to hit people with because somebody feels they are right and wants to have a bit of a cherry pick in order to score points.

Jinty64 Tue 23-Jul-13 07:02:43

Like Hobnobs I too worked night shift. I had to return to work 3 nights a week when ds's 1&2 were 14 weeks. I worked night shift so I could be at home with them during the day when they were, ummmm, awake. I'm not convinced that they were aware of my absence whilst they were sleeping.

At 17 and almost 16 they still seem to be quite well attached to me. (Perhaps this is the problem and they should be champing at the bit to leave home).

Ds3 is screwed. He spent his first week in SCBU. At least with the changes in maternity leave I was able to take 10 months off! I have always thought 2 years paid maternity leave would better.

peteypiranha Tue 23-Jul-13 07:10:55

I very much doubt this personally. Its dowb to parebting whether a child is confident and secure.

Wishihadabs Tue 23-Jul-13 07:19:10

I too left my 4 and 5 month old bf babies with their Dad overnight to work. I don't think that is what this study is looking at. They were in their own cot, in a familiar environment with a resident parent. I fail to see how that is equivalent to a shared custody arrangement with a nrp.

As for babies need to be with their mummies, well if you make sure that that is their only secure attachment then yes. But humans are adaptable and babies are capable offforming multiple secure attachment s as long as they are cared for by one of them, I think the evidence is they do fine.

PrettyPaperweight Tue 23-Jul-13 07:20:43

OP Why do you need evidence to support your position that you are not being selfish by preventing your baby/young DC from receiving primary care from both parents?

If you believe that is the case, then your conscience will be clear, no matter what others say, won't it?

daisychain01 Tue 23-Jul-13 07:35:04

This is a very interesting debate with some great points made. I am hopefully not repeating what others have said with a couple of observations:

1, Researchers always face a lambasting when they publish a paper on a contentious subject, they will always offend some sector of society, that is the nature of their role. They dont do it deliberately, they do it to contribute in some small way to the bank of human knowledge.

2, i beg to differ with the poster who says that "this study doesnt say anything". Yes it does! The whole point is that all research invites further research, it contributes a tiny morsel, in the grand scheme but it does say something. peer review ensures it has academic merit. There is invariably a section in academic papers which addresses limitations, future work, gaps. Research is all about the point of entry and departure so that other academics can pick up the batton. So Ainsworth's Strange Situation had the same lambasting in the 70s as MNner are giving these researchers, "its prejudicial, it vilifies mothers, it is culturally biased!! Etc". So what happened next? Yup other researchers picked up the batton and raplicated the Strange situation study in Germany, Japan, Sweden and got different results - that is what researchers do, they spend their lives proving, disproving etc. it doesnt make the research Rubbish!!!

3. Why do people have to blame research on making themselves feel bad?? If you are doing your best for your child, it should not matter what research says, your child will feel loved, cared about and will grow up secure and confident. That makes you a wonderful mother, not a crap one! Why did John Bowlby create his theory of Attachment? Yup he had an axe to grind, he had a crap childhood with no maternal love! So one could argue his results were biased, he was just trying to prove his own hypothesis that babies need maternal love. But far from being discredited, his theory has endured for decades. Yes, researchers with the opposing viewpoint to Bowlby slagged him off but that is academic research. The issues of "socially sensitive research" will always stir up a hornets nest, but the papers are still needed.

3. Anyone who has done research will know how bloody difficult it is to get participants, it takes bllod sweat and tears. This means that for a research effort to get of the ground, you have to narrow your focus to very tiny (relatively speaking) sectors of society, publish your research, probably get a right bollocking for being too narrow, then another research team will replicate your study on a different sector, use other participants, and so on, ad nauseam ubtil you have a huge body of knowledge.... Maybe in 10,000 years we will have a fuller picture, but for now its all we have!

I love MNers, some very keen and talented minds out there!

Wishihadabs Tue 23-Jul-13 07:43:55

I think I would actually go further and say that to form an exclusive mutually dependent bond with your dcs does them no favours what so ever.

IME the dcs which are used to being left with a limited range of caring adults are more resilient and able to cope with change. If only mummy will do WTF happens when inevitability Mummy has to be somewhere else. I think in these situations the birth of a second child can become unnecessarily traumatic for all concerned.

Knowing that I would return to work I actively sought out opportunities to leave Ds for short periods whilst on maternity leave, so we could both get used to it. Nothing magically happens to these dcs at 12m or 2 or 4 which means having never been left they suddenly are able to cope with it.

I have a friend who SAH her dcs are 3&6 she still can't leave them, even with her dp ! I do not consider that we'll adjusted.

ChristineDaae Tue 23-Jul-13 07:53:15

Ahhh another big stick to beat women with. Lovely.
Clearly we should all quit work before getting pregnant, never ever work, or in fact leave the house alone again until all our children hit 18.
Because, obviously, dads or grandparents are just not capable of keeping out precious offspring from turning into damaged depraved serial killers....

ANormalOne Tue 23-Jul-13 07:57:32

Great, as if I wasn't feeling guilty enough about not seeing my DD for two night a week, thanks for that.

Minifingers Tue 23-Jul-13 08:03:26

I love the fact that one of the chief objections on this thread to this research is that the findings might hurt the feelings of adult caregivers.

As if the feelings of adult caregivers should be of prime consideration when assessing the value of research into the health and development of babies and children. hmm

MrsMelons Tue 23-Jul-13 08:03:52

I don't believe this at all, I just cannot see how anyone can actually prove these findings!

My DCs have not slept away a night a week but did sleep out reguarly from a few months old and actually are probably 2 of the most well adjusted, secure children in our group of friends. Obviously they were not shipped off at a week old or anything but generally from 4 months. I also stayed at GPs house 2 nights a week and anyone who knows me would never consider it has done me any harm.

The children who are the most insecure appear to be those who have never spent any time away from their primary care giver from my experiences. I have friends who cannot go on a night out until after the DCs are in bed (age approx 9 yrs) as they will not even settle in bed for the dads. This is surely not healthy and normal?

This sort of thing makes me so cross, I can't stand hearing all the smugness around topics like this!

PrettyPaperweight Tue 23-Jul-13 08:04:32

Presumably, if this research supports a separated mothers right to withhold overnight contact, it would also support the fathers right to prevent that mother leaving their DC in the regular overnight care of another family member?

MrsMelons Tue 23-Jul-13 08:04:55

Oh yes, I also forgot how DS1 spent a week in neonatal and I was only allowed to pick him up to be fed but he actually seems fine amazingly hmm

curlew Tue 23-Jul-13 08:07:35

Oh come on, everyone. It's obvious that the OP wasn't thinking anything but "Yippee- here's a weapon in the constant war to keep MILs in their place"!

MrsMelons Tue 23-Jul-13 08:07:59

I agree that it is down to parenting regarding how secure the children are.

I have seen it in the nursery I worked out - mums actually saying to children, well aren't you going to cry then mummy is going is not actually going to help a child, those who say a cheery goodbye with a kiss tend to have more secure children who settle much quicker - it is not actually rocket science!

ANormalOne Tue 23-Jul-13 08:11:13

curlew Well then OP is pretty naive because it's obvious this would upset mothers who have no choice but to spend nights away from their babies.

MorrisZapp Tue 23-Jul-13 08:13:02

I expect that whoever did this research knew their stuff, and that whatever conclusions were reached are at least worth considering.

However. I also feel that anybody having a baby in Western Europe today is raising the most privileged and lucky demographic of all time. Every little detail that causes controversy on here (bf, nursery, attachment, weaning etc) is just that - tiny detail. We all have very lucky children, and everything else is window dressing.

By definition, we are loving and caring parents on here, and that's 99% of the parenting equation.

Of course we all want the very best for our precious offspring, but I think we can gain a lot by stepping back and looking at the big picture. My dad is a smashing, loving, clever and artistic man. He grew up with outdoor plumbing, and didn't taste an orange until he was eleven.

FasterStronger Tue 23-Jul-13 08:15:08

of course for a balanced view, you would also have to look at how overnight contact with the NRP throughout a child's life benefited the child.

but a study like that would not make the news.

its not the scientists who are the problem. its the newspapers.....

VeryDullNameChange Tue 23-Jul-13 08:16:35

Oh Christine - just as this thread was taking a turn for the rational sad.

curlew Tue 23-Jul-13 08:17:13

Absolutely, AnormalOne. But she didn't think that far.

MrsMelons Tue 23-Jul-13 08:18:44

I don't think them 'knowing their stuff' is what is in question, it is a very narrow study IMO and actually if was carried out the other way round I think it would show similar findings.

MrsMelons Tue 23-Jul-13 08:21:47

Just to add - the point made about having to leave a child if you are going into hospital is very different, it should be obvious that this could cause upset/unsettled feelings as it would be a one off or adhoc. I don't think it is relevant to the study. I took this as being about regular overnight visits. I would say that the more regular/routine for a baby/child makes it easier for them to adjust, the out of routine adhoc things are what make my children more unsettled which I have always thought was normal.

Hiddenbiscuits Tue 23-Jul-13 08:29:48

Thirtylove im sorry your baby isnt well, wishing her a speedy recovery and don't worry about her being alone she will be using all her energy to sleep and get strong again ready to come home x

EatYourCrusts Tue 23-Jul-13 08:36:38

My two DC spent a month in SCBU. I don't see this study as a personal attack on me.

twirliedobbit Tue 23-Jul-13 08:39:00

What a load of twaddle

RhondaJean Tue 23-Jul-13 08:39:36

How bizarre this was reported in the "journal of marraige and family" hmm agenda anyone?

SolomanDaisy Tue 23-Jul-13 08:49:39

No RhondaJean, no agenda. As has been explained several times it is a well respected academic journal for the study, not the promotion, of marriage and family.

SolomanDaisy Tue 23-Jul-13 08:52:26

And all the people saying, 'well my kids did it and they're fine. Yes, that entirely anecdotal information coincidentally fits with the study, which finds no negative association after the age of five.

I love the defensiveness etc. why not accept that sometimes parents make choices that are not always best for baby, sometimes through no fault of their own? I know I have and I would prefer to be aware of them, not to beat myself up, but to think about whether I'd do it with a subsequent child.

If we poo - pooed research which basically said what we'd done was wrong, we'd still be weaning babies at 6 weeks old, leaving them to scream hungrily between 4 hourly feeds etc.

Pipparivers Tue 23-Jul-13 09:01:15

What creature said.

You can't all possibly agree that all the decisions you make have been best for your child surely? I know mine haven't always been. I don't think o have done anything so terrible that dc will end up series killers but I know I could have made some better choices had circumstances allowed. I don't feel guilty at all about this.

Blissx Tue 23-Jul-13 09:07:39

Has anyone noticed at the bottom of the abstract, that they observed problems between 3 to 5 year olds who had spent one night aaway from eir mothers but found no lasting 'issues' in older ones. So doesn't this mean that the 'problem' rights itself and no lasting damage is being done? Therefore, this small study should not be used to guilt trip mothers who may spend one night away from their infants.

ANormalOne Tue 23-Jul-13 09:18:07

Of course people are defensive about it.

It'd be the same had someone posted a link to an article once again going over how breastfeeding is better for babies than formula feeding, as if we still didn't get it.

Going back to work or letting a NRP take your baby overnight is difficult enough as it is without people reinforcing that what you're doing could potentially be detrimental to your child's development.

It makes some people feel like shitty parents, why is that surprising?

Oodelaranana Tue 23-Jul-13 09:18:48

I have a recollection there were similar studies done in the kibbutz in Israel. At the time the children were all looked after communally including by different adults every night. There were fewer 'securely' attached children (as measured by the strange situation). On the other hand, children who grew up in the kibbutz did better as adults than their peers in a number of measures. In general, attachment theory might be the predominant psychological theory of child psychology but there are still things that might not fit well. Only about 2/3 of children have a secure attachment pattern anyway. If you go down the line of stating attachment is all then one could argue the other third would be better having nights away from their primary carer with a different adult to see if they could form a secure attachment to someone else. confused

MrsMelons Tue 23-Jul-13 09:25:32

I see what Pipparivers is saying and I am sure there are many instances where we have not been able to put our DCs interests first but I am not convinced that this could be considered absolutely NOT best for your child either. I also believe that what is best for one child is not best for another, it is all very individual to your situation.

Who is to say that a child spending a night a week with a relative who loves them is actually detrimental to them, certainly not a study of a small cohort of people. From my experience I have not found this is not the case so I have no need to feel guilty or be defensive as I am comfortable with the majority of my choices and those I am not comfortable with I will aim to address where possible.

MiaowTheCat Tue 23-Jul-13 09:39:47

Aaah another stick for the attachment parenting loons to beat women about the head with if they don't tie themselves to their children 24-7 for the next decade.

DD1 by this study is fucked. Stay in NICU away from me (although I tended to be there at stupid o clock at night since being prisoner on a post natal ward in the dead of night sucked), then her mum hospitalised when she was 11 months old. Shame that she's so good at pretending to be a happy confident loving little girl when she should just be sat in a corner of the room gibbering to feed the theories.

Whatever the wording of the full study actually says - it'll be twisted and distorted beyond all recognition in order to be used as another stick in the fucking internet mummy wars to beat any woman who dares do something another woman's baby book doesn't say is the right way to do things. Another thing to make anxious new mums riddled with terror over screwing up over and no doubt give it a year and someone on AIBU will be using it to justify calling social services because someone's mother in law is babysitting a child or something equally ridiculous.

HeffalumpTheFlump Tue 23-Jul-13 09:43:17

How annoying that you have to read through pages of uninformed defensive rubbish before other posters are allowed to actually discuss an interesting topic. "I dont like it, so i'm not listening" isnt exactly a helpful contribution. If we stopped researching subjects that might upset parents then we would be leaving children massively at risk. Where do you draw the line? Is it ok to research a medication that parents have had no choice but to use on their child? Surely it's more important to properly research than worry about upsetting the parents if negative consequences of that drug are found? What about if those effects are non existent by 5 years old, should we just ignore them?

From the summary, obviously more research is needed into this subject, but this has thrown up questions that need to be answered. I would want to see a much wider range of families and circumstances to see whether there is a correlation. Personally I feel there are a few very different situations that need to be studied. Is there a difference between leaving the child in their own environment but without the mother, to say taking the child away from home and mother to stay with a NRP. What about other relatives at the child's home environment or away from home?

I really didn't like the vibe of the loud posters at the beginning of this thread. Just because some research doesn't fit your choices, doesn't mean it should be mocked to the point where it makes it difficult for others to even have a say.

GherkinsAreAce Tue 23-Jul-13 09:51:47

I agree - we should be looking properly at what dc need without fear or favour.

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 23-Jul-13 10:07:59

Journal of Marriage and Family? Hmm, reminds me of the time a historian colleague found a journal in the theology section of the university library entitled "the Journal of Critical Hagiography". grin As someone said upthread, not a journal I'd expect to see high in the citations rankings.

stickingattwo Tue 23-Jul-13 10:21:17

OP - I thought you were posting that in a sense of irony, apparently not! hilarious. 'resisting' indeed, my nefarious parents are always trying to get their mitts on my PFB.

threefeethighandrising Tue 23-Jul-13 10:23:19

If we didn't listen to research that could be seen as critical of our parenting choices, then we'd still think these were OK:

Cola for babies the ad says "For a better start in life, start cola earlier ...Babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and "fitting in" during those awkward pre-teen and teen years"."

7 Up for Babies

Cocaine Toothache Drops

Get a grip people! IMO it's likely that most of us are unwittingly doing things which harm our DCs; every generation before has. Why wouldn't you want to know what those things are? Scientists don't have a hidden agenda to make us feel guilty, what warped thinking!

stickingattwo Tue 23-Jul-13 10:27:21

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

threefeethighandrising Tue 23-Jul-13 10:44:35

Yes of course they're ads hmm

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).

KobayashiMaru Tue 23-Jul-13 11:14:45

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?

KobayashiMaru Tue 23-Jul-13 11:17:02

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.

threefeethighandrising Tue 23-Jul-13 11:35:51

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!

MrsMelons Tue 23-Jul-13 11:47:38

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.

Feminine Tue 23-Jul-13 11:48:58

three are you sure those first 2 ads are not spoofs?

MrsHoarder Tue 23-Jul-13 11:59:30

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?

FasterStronger Tue 23-Jul-13 12:17:45

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)"

threefeethighandrising Tue 23-Jul-13 13:16:02

Feminine the ads come from this Vintage Ads That Should Have Been Banned

How reliable 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.

edam Tue 23-Jul-13 14:20:58

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'. shock

Boomba Tue 23-Jul-13 14:27:42

whats the motivation for this research?

Guiltismymaster Tue 23-Jul-13 14:43:28

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!

Chunderella Tue 23-Jul-13 15:22:21

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.

KobayashiMaru Tue 23-Jul-13 15:40:26

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.

curlew Tue 23-Jul-13 17:41:23

"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!

KobayashiMaru Tue 23-Jul-13 17:58:57

Hardly naive. Didn't you read the rest of what I said about research, and bias? hmm
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?

MoutardeDeDijon Tue 23-Jul-13 18:25:24

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.

stickingattwo Tue 23-Jul-13 18:36:28

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.

fabergeegg Tue 23-Jul-13 21:28:45

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.

edam Tue 23-Jul-13 21:59:12

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!

PenelopePipPop Tue 23-Jul-13 22:06:02

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.

PenelopePipPop Tue 23-Jul-13 22:15:06

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.

Pigsmummy Wed 24-Jul-13 09:54:47

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.

curlew Wed 24-Jul-13 14:58:38

"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.......hmm

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