Archard, D. (2004), Children: Rights and Childhood, London: Routledge This book offers a detailed philosophical examination of children and their rights. Archard, draws on a wide variety of sources from law and literature to politics and psychology to provide a clear and accessible introduction to the topic. Reviewing arguments for and against according children rights, he concludes that every child has at least the right to the best possible upbringing. Denying that parents have any significant rights over their children, he is able to challenge current thinking about the proper roles of state and family in rearing children. This second edition has been revised and updated to include a new preface and a new chapter on children’s moral and legal rights, taking into account the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The book is divided into three parts, covering key topics such as: John Locke’s writings on children; Philippe Aries’s Centuries of Childhood; key texts on children’s liberation and rights; defining and understanding child abuse; and the rights of parents and the state over children. David Archard is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, University of Lancaster.
Archard, D. and Macleod, C.M. (eds) (2002), The Moral and Political Status of Children: New Essays, Oxford: Oxford University Press This book contains contributions from thirteen distinguished moral and political philosophers on the subject of children. In the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, the authors consider it timely and appropriate to ask various questions. If children do not have rights what exactly is their moral status? If they do have rights do they have all the rights that adults have? What rights if any do parents have over children and what is their justification? What duties do parents have towards their own children and towards others in society? How should we educate those who will be the future citizens and workers of our society? What values and what dispositions of character is it appropriate to instill in children? Is the family an obstacle to the realisation of full social justice? Can we in pursuit of justice contemplate the abolition of the family? The book covers the themes of children's rights, parental rights and duties, the family and justice, and civic education. Chapters include:
Brighouse, H., “What Rights (If Any) Do Children Have?”, 31–52; Burtt, S., ‘What Children Really Need: Towards a Critical Theory of Family Structure’, 231–252; Noggle, R., “Special Agents: Children’s Autonomy and Parental Authority”, 97–117; MacLeod, C., “Liberal Equality and the Affective family”, 212–30. Colin M. Macleod is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Brennan, S. and Noggle, R. (1997), “The Moral Status of Children: Children’s Rights, Parents’ Rights, and Family Justice,” Social Theory and Practice 23: 1–25. Mainstream ethical philosophy has had little to say about issues of family justice. Even feminist moral theories often focus more on questions of justice for families than on questions of justice within them. In contrast, there is a large body of literature on children's rights in sociology and legal theory. But little of this theorising rests on a foundation in moral philosophy any stronger than a vague appeal to the notion of the best interest of the child. This paper attempts to provide a philosophical foundation for thinking about the moral status of children. It is driven by what the authors think are widespread convictions about how we ought to treat children. In it, they propose several plausible claims that place constraints on theorising about the moral statue of children and discuss what their theory implies about the moral nature of parenting and about how public policies dealing with children ought to be reformed. Samantha Brennan is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Robert Noggle is Professor of Philosophy at Central Michigan University, USA.
Butler, I., Scanlan, L., Robinson, M., Douglas, G. and Murch, M. (2003), Divorcing Children: Children's Experience of their Parents' Divorce, London: Jessica Kingsley. Drawing on a three-year multidisciplinary study of children of divorced parents, the authors present a guide to understanding the experience of children who are experiencing parental separation. This book provides an in-depth account of how children are actively involved in the process of divorce and how they shape that experience. The topics discussed include how children find out that their parents are separating; how children tell other people about what is happening to them and their family; how parent-child relationships change after separation and ways in which children adapt and cope during and immediately after their parents' divorce. The authors show what children want and need to know as the process of divorce unfolds and how professionals can respond appropriately to help them to understand and adjust to their changing circumstances. The authors address the weaknesses of current legislation in family justice and suggest ways of improving the skills and knowledge of all professionals who work with children during this difficult period in children's lives. Ian Butler is Professor of Social Work at the University of Bath and is currently seconded to the Welsh Assembly Government where he is Cabinet Advisor on Children and Young People's policy. Lesley Scanlan is a Research Associate at the Law School and the Family Studies Research Centre, University of Cardiff. Margaret Robinson is a coordinator at the Family Studies Research Centre, University of Cardiff. Gillian Douglas and Mervyn Murch are both Professors of Law at the University of Cardiff.
Cashmore, J. (2010), ‘Children’s Participation in Family Law Decision-Making: Theoretical Approaches to Understanding Children’s Views’, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/89 Cashmore explores children’s views about their involvement in the post-separation arrangements that were made in their families and via the court process in the light of three theoretical models. The three models include two variants of the procedural justice theory – the instrumental and the relational – and Smart’s conceptualisation of children’s ethic of care and ethic of respect. There has to date been little procedural justice research specifically with children. This paper also distinguishes between various aspects of children’s participation, a term that carries a number of meanings and is used in various ways. In particular, it examines children’s reasons for wanting to be involved or not, and the association between the amount of say children thought they had had, how much say they wanted, and the perceived fairness of the arrangements and their happiness with them.
Judy Cashmore is Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. She has worked with Professor Patrick Parkinson on an ARC project concerned with children's participation in decision-making about where they live and when they see both their parents.
Cashmore, J. and Parkinson, P. (2008), ‘Children’s and Parents' Perceptions of children's Participation in Decision-Making After Parental Separation and Divorce’, Family Court Review 46(1): 91-104
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/48
Parents, and children ranging in age from 6 to 18 years who had been through parental separation, were interviewed concerning their views about children’s involvement in the decisions concerning residence and contact arrangements. The great majority of both children and parents thought that children should have a say, although this was not reflected to the same extent in children’s experiences. Older children in a number of families had considerable influence over the arrangements either in the aftermath of the separation or in making further changes over time. Both parents and children had a range of views about the general appropriateness and fairness of children being involved but children who had experienced violence, abuse or high levels of conflict were much more definite about their need to be heard than those in less problematic and non-contested matters. Parents involved in contested proceedings supported the participation of children at a younger age than those who were not. There was a reasonable degree of agreement between parents and children about the need for children to be acknowledged, and the value of their views being heard in the decision-making process. However, parents expressed concern about the pressure and manipulation that children can face and exert in this process, whereas children were generally more concerned about the fairness of the outcomes, and maintaining their relationships with their parents and siblings.
Judy Cashmore is Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. is Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. Patrick Parkinson is Professor of Law at the University of Sydney.
Greensmith, A. (ed.) (2010), Resolution Family Disputes Handbook, Law Society Publishing., Law Society Publishing. Disputed divorce cases can result in lengthy court proceedings and, potentially, further harm already damaged relationships. Alternatives to litigation can help to avoid confrontational court cases. This ‘Handbook’ provides an authoritative guide to offering non-court based solutions. Written by Resolution's ADR Committee, the contributors to the book are all leading family practitioners with a wealth of experience in the field. The handbook offers: an outline of the alternative models available, including information on how they are funded and the different ways of working within a dispute resolution framework; coverage of the procedure involved in running a practice offering collaborative law and/or mediation; examination of specific, more complex issues such as cases with an international dimension, pre-nuptial agreements, and handling communications with other professionals; and, practical features within the book such as precedents, pro forma letters, and checklists. Produced in association with Resolution's ADR Committee, this handbook provides a definitive guide to best practice.Andrew Greensmith is a former National Chair of Resolution and is a divorce and family law specialist. In 2011, he was appointed to the role of District Judge.
Engelhardt, H.T. (2010), Beyond the Best Interests of Children: Four Views of the Family and of Foundational Disagreements Regarding Pediatric Decision Making, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 35(5): 499-517. This paper presents four different understandings of the family and their concomitant views of the authority of the family in pediatric medical decision making. These different views are grounded in robustly developed, and conflicting, worldviews supported by disparate basic premises about the nature of morality. The traditional worldviews are often found within religious communities that embrace foundational metaphysical premises at odds with the commitments of the liberal account of the family dominant in the secular culture of the West. These disputes are substantial and ultimately irresolvable by sound rational argument because of the failure to share common foundational premises and rules of evidence. It is in light of these fundamental disagreements that there is a need to evaluate critically the claims and agenda advanced by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Tristram Engelhardt is Professor of Philosophy at Rice University, USA. is Professor of Philosophy at Rice University, USA.
Fehlberg, B., Smyth, B., Maclean, M. and Roberts, C. (2011), ‘Caring for children after parental separation: would legislation for shared parenting time help children?’, Family Policy Briefing 7, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford. This paper reviews the evidence on legislating for shared time parenting, especially the Australian experience of this. It reports serious difficulties with legislating for shared care especially in litigated cases, but also in privately agreed cases. The authors argue that the changes have resulted in an increased use of family law services as fathers have misunderstood the legislation to mean that they have a right to equal time, and to an increase in court imposed shared parenting orders. They go on to suggest that this has led to an increased focus on fathers’ rights over children’s best interests, and has increased the reluctance of mothers to disclose violence and abuse. As a result, additional legislation has now been presented by the government to the Australian parliament to deal with the safety issues. The authors suggest that the evidence indicates a need for caution before following the Australian approach of legislating to encourage litigating parents to share parenting after separation. Belinda Fehlberg from the University of Melbourne is the co-author of Australian Family Law: The Contemporary Context (2007). Bruce Smyth from the Australian National University is the author of numerous articles on post-separation families and shared parenting.
Gilmore, S. (2006), ‘Contact/Shared Residence and Child Well-Being: Research Evidence and its Implications for Legal Decision-Making’, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 20 (3): 344-365. This article considers the implications for legal decision-making of one aspect of research on children’s adjustment to parental separation: the significance for child well-being of maintaining a relationship with both parents, either by way of contact with a non-resident parent or by means of a shared (dual) residence arrangement. It is argued that policy-makers who have rejected recent calls for a statutory presumption of child/non-resident parent contact, or of equal division of a child’s time between parents, have acted appropriately in the light of the research evidence. Stephen Gilmore is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of East London.
Grandparents Plus (2009), Rethinking Family Life: exploring the role of grandparents and the wider family. http://www.grandparentsplus.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/RethinkingFamilyLife.pdf Where the two parent household has broken down, grandparents and the wider family often step in to fill the gap, cushioning any adverse experiences that children may have. By focusing almost exclusively on the role of parents we both fail to listen to children, who repeatedly identify grandparents and other family members as key influencers in their lives, and set parents up to fail. This report brings together evidence which demonstrates that we are all living extended family lives. The report gathers existing evidence on grandparenting and the wider family and points to some of the gaps in the literature. It describes the wide range of ways in which grandparents and the wider family contribute to family life. Their role has been under-explored to date and developing a clearer understanding of this role and shaping policy to support it is the next chapter of family policy. Grandparents Plus is the national charity which champions the vital role of grandparents and the wider family in children’s lives - especially when they take on the caring role in difficult family circumstances.
Harris-Short, S. (2010), ‘Resisting the march towards 50/50 shared residence: rights, welfare and equality in post-separation families’, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 32(3): 257-74. 32(3): 257-74. In recent years, a normative model of equal shared parenting post-separation has become firmly entrenched in the minds of some policy makers and legal practitioners. This has been due, in no small part, to the high-profile campaign of fathers' rights groups. In attacking what they perceive as the gender bias inherent within the family justice system, fathers' rights groups have argued vociferously for a presumption in favour of shared residence post-separation, with the child's time being split on a roughly equal 50/50 basis between the mother and the father unless the child's welfare dictates otherwise. Although the Labour government resisted calls to introduce such a presumption into the Children Act 1989, the recent case law of the Court of Appeal on the use of shared residence orders risks pushing us towards a position in which 50/50 shared residence will indeed become entrenched as the normative model for organizing post-separation family life. This article warns strongly against any such shift in post-separation parenting, arguing that greater use of 50/50 shared residence is neither supported by the empirical evidence on children's welfare nor by the vociferous rights-based arguments of disaffected fathers for equality, justice and fairness in determining post-separation parenting arrangements. Sonia Harris-Short is Professor of Law at the University of Birmingham.
Kaganas, F. and Diduck, A. (2004), ‘Incomplete Citizens: Changing Images of Post-Separation Children’, Modern Law Review 67(6): 959–81. The image of the child as the victim of separation or divorce is well-established in legal, socio-legal and popular discourse. However, the authors argue, alongside this traditional image of the child, there is a different image of the child emerging, that of the autonomous, responsible child. This is apparent in academic discourse, policy documents and legal pronouncements. This child is included in the project of 'remoralising' the family by building the 'good' post-separation family. The 'good' child of separation or divorce is responsible for safeguarding his or her own welfare and is expected to make those choices that are assumed to best protect his or her best interests. In order to ensure that the child makes the 'right' decisions, he or she, like the adults concerned, is the target of education, information and therapeutic intervention. There is a blending of paradigms in which the ideal child is both an autonomous social actor and a vulnerable object of concern.
Felicity Kaganas is Reader in Law at Brunel University. Alison Diduck is Professor of Law at University College London.
Kruk, E. (1995), ‘Grandparent-Grandchild Contact Loss: Findings from a Study of “Grandparent Rights” Members,’ Canadian Journal on Aging 14 (3), 737-754 (Canadian Association on Gerontology). http://edwardkruk.com/cja.pdf This articleexplores salient aspects of grandparent-grandchild contact loss by focusing on critical factors and events contributing to initial access difficulties, as well as on those associated with eventual loss of ongoing contact, from the perspective of grandparents. Grandparents whose adult children are noncustodial parents (mostly paternal grandparents) are at high risk for contact loss, and adult children-in-law appear to be the primary mediators in the ongoing grandparent-grandchild relationship. Disrupted grandchild access is seen as having profound negative consequences for grandparents, and this has important implications for socio-legal policy and therapeutic practice. Edward Kruk, is Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Family Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada. See also, Kruk, E. and Hall, B. (1995), ‘The Disengagement of Paternal Grandparents Subsequent to Divorce,’ Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 23 (1/2), 131-147 (Haworth Press).
Laing, K. (2006), ‘Doing the Right Thing: Cohabiting Parents, Separation and Child Contact’, International Journal of Law, policy and the Family 20(2): 169-180. Over recent years, concern has mounted at the unstable nature of cohabiting relationships compared to marital ones, and also about the fact that any children from these relationships are more likely to experience the separation of their parents than the children of a marital union. The discourse of the Family Law Act 1996 holds that separating parents should behave in a conciliatory and reasonable way to each other, maintain contact with their children and continue to be involved in their upbringing, and ensure that financial obligations are met. This article uses data obtained through interviews with previously cohabiting parents who have attended pilot group meetings designed to educate them about the needs of their children on separation, to examine to what extent parents internalize this discourse when negotiating post-separation parenting. The article concludes that while parents may take on board the principles of this socially acceptable discourse, they have their own moral rules derived from their own histories and experiences of what it is to live their life and parent their child that they must marry with this discourse. The extent to which current family policy discourses and legislative frameworks can influence the behaviour of parents is therefore mitigated by their own interpretations within the context of their own lives.
Karen Laing is a member of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Newcastle University
Maclean, M. (ed) (2007), Parenting after Partnering: Containing Conflict after Separation, Onati International Series in Law and Society, Oxford: Hart Publishing. Relationships between adult partners following divorce or separation can be fragile, and the issues which have divided the parents are often hard to disentangle from the ongoing relationships between parents and children. There is a small group who have ongoing difficulty and who need professional help and legal intervention to make arrangements for ongoing parenting. This volume brings together research from the USA, Central, North Western and Southern Europe, and Australia on the nature and importance of children's relationships with parents after parental separation, and on the range of professional interventions which support them through these difficult times. Mavis Maclean has carried out Socio Legal research in Oxford since 1974. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at Oxford University and is joint Director of the Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy.
Poussin, G. and Martin-Lebrun, E. (2011), Les enfants du divorce, Paris: Dunod (French language) This work explores the psychological consequences of parental separation for children and looks at means such as family mediation put in place to ameliorate their effects. This work, now in its second edition, brings all the material up to date, in particular concerning the recent changes in French law to the exercise of parental authority and the legislation on alternate (shared) residence. A number of chapters have been modified to take into account work permitting comparison with the results of a study carried out twelve years earlier; this reports on the findings of the impact of separation and parental conflict on the self-esteem of the children themselves. Gérard Poussin is Professor of Clinical Psychology atPierre MendèsUniversity Grenoble, France. Élisabeth Martin-Lebrun is a pediatrician and specialist in the psychology of parental separation, Grenoble, France.
Poussin, G. and Martin-Lebrun, É. (2002), A French study of Children's Self-Esteem after Parental Separation,International Journal of Law Policy and the Family 16 (3): 313-326. The authors present the results of a study carried out during the school year 1995–1996, in France, in which 3098 children, aged from 11 to 13, were included. Each child filled in a questionnaire describing his or her family situation and then completed a psychological test of self-esteem (in the presence of a physician from the school health service). Poussin and Martin-Lebrun examine possible relationships between the performances in the test of self-esteem and the age of the child at the time of parental separation (before three years or after) as well as the possible influence of the regularity of his or her relationships with the father. This study shows, similar to previous studies in other countries that, on average, parental divorce has a small but significant impact on French children. Nevertheless, self-esteem is lower for children who had experienced parental separation in their French sample. Self-esteem is, however, a complex issue in the development of the adult personality and the authors question how children with low self-esteem may be affected in the future. Reflection by all professionals on behalf of children and adolescents is necessary in order to produce a suitable response to a pervasive phenomenon which affects fundamental values of our society.