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Saddened by no direction over vulnerable children

Edward Tavares, co-founder of ChildWatch

While we at ChildWatch eagerly waited for the Throne Speech from the Government, we must say that we are very disappointed that our vulnerable children and their needs did not get a mention. That is very disheartening, to say the least.

The apparent lack of empathy for and commitment towards the needs of our children is very concerning, while the emotional, sexual and physical abuse of our children is being ignored.

Although we applaud the Government for tackling inequity in some areas, there was no direction about dealing with the inequities when it comes to children in need of their fathers equally in their lives. This is owing to the inequities and discriminatory practices of our legal system with regards to families of separation and divorce.

Our children’s future depends on how we do things, by showing them that we care about them, and that we should be providing for their needs and not be promoting the beliefs that only one parent is needed to nurture one’s child and the other is to be relegated to visitor/financier status.

Therefore, they need to be guided by principles that are “In the Best Interest of the Child” standards, in accordance with the United Nations and Child Conventions, which govern these values and state that children should be protected at all costs and not be apart from their parents without just cause.

The failure to provide these principles only leads to our children’s disaster. Thus, we see the school failures, behavioural problems, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, shootings, youth in prison, etc.

Recent research shows that children need both parents to be wholesome individuals, regardless if their parents are in the same home or not, or together or not. Therefore, with the existing laws that preclude one parent from their children’s lives in relation to divorce or separation, can we say that the United Nations and Child Conventions’ principles have been met when 85 per cent of our children are being raised by one parent’s standards and the rest are relegated to minimal visitor status?

These professional researchers say it best:

“Shared decision-making carries very substantial symbolic benefits, if not actual, pragmatic ones. The legal authority to make or share in important life decisions communicates to the child, the other parent, the school and medical authorities — to the world — that both parents have responsibility for shaping the child into a functioning adult.”— Sanford L. Braver and Michael E. Lamb (Shared Parenting After Parental Separation: The Views of 12 Experts, Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, April 10 2018

The aforesaid carries great meaning to the child, which has been ignored for years through our outdated laws that have eroded the very principles that were supposed to guide our children to greater aspirations. Clearly, for decades this has shown the failed experiment by the United States and other countries through the implementation of sole custody of children after separation and divorce to a one-parent principle. Therefore, in many cases, this has led our children to become dysfunctional adults, whereas now they are exhibiting unruly behaviours in society.

The Government could increase the functioning of our children to a greater level by providing them with the right assets and tools they need. This can be done with the implementation of “Presumption of Shared Parenting” after separation/divorce, which clearly is revealed in empirical research in 2018 from many researchers from around the world.

ChildWatch has been following this research for years, and we are excited with this new data that was just recently released, which solidifies that the “Presumption of Share Parenting”, even in conflicting parents, is best and beneficial for children, and fulfils “In the Best Interest of the Child” standards that have the backing of numerous professionals around the world and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Linda Nielsen, DEdPsy tells us that “the beneficial effects are evident across a wide range of measures of children’s wellbeing, including:

• Lower levels of depression, anxiety and dissatisfaction

• Lower aggression, and reduced alcohol and substance abuse

• Better school performance and cognitive development

• Better physical health

• Lower smoking rates

• Better relationships with fathers, mothers, stepparents, and grandparents

Edward Tavares is the co-founder of ChildWatch, a father’s rights advocacy group