Recently I came across an article in a newspaper “court denies man custody of daughter as ‘she is too young’ “. This article basically talks about why fathers will no longer have custody of their underage daughters in cases of separation or divorce. It went on to say that girls needed their mothers more than their fathers when growing up.
The judge in his ruling pointed out that the girl child has special needs that a man could not manage if he was to be given the responsibility of raising her without her mother’s close attention. “Even looking at the animal kingdom, it is natural that their young ones remain in the custody of the mother until they are able to take care of themselves,” He said.
This statement in particular had me wondering what these needs are that daughters can only get from their mothers and not their fathers. I find the judge’s thinking narrow-minded. We have come a long way from times when only women were caregivers. In today’s society men too have taken the role of care giving what with the single dads out there. In fact they are excelling at it.
Research has shown that children with involved fathers have an advantage socially and academically over children with distant or no relationships with their dads. “We found that fathers who are involved with their children have children with fewer problems,” says Maureen Black, PhD, a researcher and professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “That added involvement from a father helps children tremendously.”
Girls, especially, reap some special benefits from having a close father-daughter bond. According to research from Vanderbilt University, girls who had close, positive relationships with their fathers during the first five years of life tended to reach puberty later than girls who had more distant relationships with their fathers. In addition, the University of Oxford researchers noted that girls who had more involved fathers were less likely to face mental health problems later in life. Genuine praise and admiration from a father can help his daughter grow up to be an independent, confident woman.
Therefore your honor sir, next time in child custody decisions, the best interests of children are served by continuing stable care giving, not by experimenting in potential benefits of either parent’s involvement in their lives. There is no prescribed formula for good parenting. Custody decisions should be made based on the facts at hand
This article was written by Joy Kositany, a Capital Campus Contributor.