McIntosh’s Madness

McIntosh – why is she on a crusade ?

Crusades are so 12th century – or hasn’t anyone bothered to tell Jenn ? Busily interfering in both Gentile and Jewish affairs Jenn is widely disliked in London, Israel and Australia.

There are some newspaper stories that you just couldn’t invent, even if you were a habitual acid user.

Take for instance, Australia’s “Sydney Morning Herald’s” coverage of everyone’s best friend, Jennifer McIntosh (Shared custody a mistake for the under-2s, say guidelines, Dec 15th 2011). 

Apparently, spending time away from ‘home’ is ‘bad’ for babies and any child under 2. Who among us was aware babies and under two years olds had such good memories and powers of recall that they would be adversely affected the following week or in later life ?  We all should have known better.  Of course, all babies know immediately from the day they are born which house in their home.

What rot.

Jennifer McIntosh shields herself from derision by using the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health as her conduit to get her message across – she passes the bullets and they pull the trigger.

The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH) in their “guidelines for protecting the very young child’s sense of comfort and security” is quoted as saying:

  1. ”Prior to the age of two years, overnight time away from the primary care-giver should be avoided, unless necessary”
  2. Separated parents should not share custody of babies or toddlers under two, according to guidelines released this week by AAIMH, a national infant welfare group.

Does the AAIMH suggest prohibiting two week long holidays (vacations), or  visits to friends for the weekend ?

What about spending time with grandparents ? Is that deemed too destabilising for the child as well ? 

This is madness when put into the context of a married couple and it makes equal nonsense when put into the context of a separating couple. The one thing a child needs is consistency and that includes ‘seeing’, in all its manifestations, each parent. To pervert ‘consistancy’ into meaning a straightjacket of never leaving home under any crcusmantces is too silly for words.

Through a baby’s eyes how are separated parents any different from married parents ? Is it in the ‘child’s best interests’ to discrimnate ?

We are forever being told that‘a child needs both parents’, yet this AAIMH view (aka McIntosh view) contradicts all that and for political reasons, one suspects. 

Let’s assume for one moment that McIntosh’s ideas are close to being sensible. If spendng time away from home is “bad”  for children aged under 2 years old (and therefore shared parenting becomes a non-starter), can we conclude that shared parenting  is ‘not bad’ for children aged over two ? And if so, shared parenting ceases to be a  non-starter and should be the default status and encouraged at every opportunity.

Handicapped by numerical skills 

Spinsters have an idealised view of motherhood. The truth of the matter is that sooner or later all mothers (from time immemorial), get ‘frazzled’ looking after children. There are times when they come under an unrelenting string of screaming, sleepless night, vomiting, diarrhea, falling over, taking out all the dirty laundry that has just been loaded into the washing etc, etc. At such times kids are a ‘pain in the bum’ and mothers look forward to some relief and a break from them. To share custody of babies helps keep Mums from ‘losing their rag’ (temper) and keeps them more sane (balanced).

AAIMH’s recommendations regarding infant custody guidelines are based on a 2010 study of shared custody by clinical psychologist Dr Jennifer McIntosh.

Even if we were to assume thatMcIntosh was the world’s foremost clinical psychologist (a stretch, I know, and which she is clearly not), one would have to shoot her down on her lack of numerical skills. You really can’t be taken seriously if your data is based on a sample of 258 children in less than 200 families and spans only results from a 4 year period.

To be taken seriously McIntosh would have to assemble at least 1,000 families and study material from 7 to 10 years.

Economics is the only ‘social science’ to handle number competently and even they don’t get it right all the time. Psychologists and social workers should stick to whatthey think they know best, and leave the numbers to statisticians and actuaries.

Mechanistic approach

Anyone who has had children, or grandchildren, knows the inconsequential nature of McIntosh’s alleged ‘finding’ in 2010 that:

  • ”. . . . babies under two years who lived one or more overnights a week with both parents were significantly stressed”.

Babies and infants under two years of age can be said to be “stressed” every day of the week, to a greater or lesser extent, and for all sorts of reasons – real and imagined. They are not electric motors that purr away quietly in the background so long as they are topped-up with milk and regularly changed.

I have ‘news’ for McIntosh and her stooge the AAIMH, my 22 month old grandson loves spending  two or three nights sleeping over at his grandparent’s house. We have the time and the patience – as do divorced fathers – to give one-to-one attention. There are no tears , no stress, and no tantrums on his return to Mum and Dad. On his return his frazzled mother has de-frazzled so everyone becomes a winner. And I suspect this is true for millions of other grandparents in Israel, Britain and Australia, in fact, world-wide and regardless of religion.

If God had wanted to make fathers into the dark force that McIntosh so obviously believes in he would have invented women that reproduced like seahorses.

If McIntosh wants us to believe her conclusions she should give the newspaper the reasons why she concludes that:

  •  “. . . .  in their general day-to-day behaviour, these babies were more irritable and worked much harder to monitor the presence and to stay close to their primary parent than babies who had less or no overnight time away from their primary caregiver”.

What is McIntosh actually measuring here ? The price children pay for having separated parents ? Or a mother who goes out to work versus an unemployed SMH ? A caring Dad, or a mother that doesn’t want Dad around much ?

Even Bowlby would be pushed to support her claims – and he is ‘old school.’

What is  ‘irritability’ in a baby ?  How can it be measured ?  Has it escaped her notice that in such a small sample size she could just have been ‘unlucky’ and not achieved a representative cross section ?

The world has already had to withstand the whirlind of a destructive woman with wrong-headed ideas when placed in a position of influence. Look no further than Anna Freud. She wrecked her best friends family and then went on to destroy millions of other families worldwide with her ideas of the ‘primary carer’ (see on this blogsite  “Anna Freud: Part 1 – Part  3,


Most fathers would agree with Bunny Banyai’s rather late conversion to shared parenting: 

  • ”I was almost psychotic with tiredness and so my relationship with my daughter suffered,”.
  • ”She was pining for her dad.”

Her frank new parenting book “Sh*t On My Hands” tells it as it is (no doubt her sequel will be “Vomit Down My Bra”). One can safely assume that McIntosh has never been anywhere never that state of ‘tiredness’.

When her daughter Clementine was 18 months old Ms. Banyai separated from the child’s father and ‘it was decided’ (this can often be a euphemism for the mothers’ gate-keeping powers) that she was too young for overnight stays with her Dad. But now a wiser Ms Banyai regrets it.

Wayne Butler has it about right. As executive secretary of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia, he recognises that the guidelines have no legal weight but the fear is that they will be used to influence judge’s rulings. 

  • ”When parents are together, they care for the babies on a shared basis.” ”There’s no reason why there couldn’t be reasonable overnight contacts [after separation] when the parents are co-operative.”

It has been a long-standing contention by some commentators that the weakest link in the Family Court regime is the judges themselves. They have far too little training on family matters and that training which they do receive is from a pre-ordained world view not dissimilar to McIntosh’s.

Judges in other countries manage to do what Anglo-Saxon societies think of as a most heinous of act, namely, dividing equally the custody of children from birth.

If as Caroline Counsel believes, who is president of the Law Institute of Victoria, there are no ‘hard-and-fast rules about custody’. Let’s give it a fair go. As she so neatly sums it up:

  •  ”There are some children that manage well and some who really struggle.”

Why make those that ‘manage well’ pay the price for the very small minority of those who don’t ? Why should children from separated parents be further disadvantaged by not having access to their other parent, aka their father ?



I am very grateful to my colleague Yuri Joakimidis, who is based in  Australia, for the following additional information regarding Prof. Warshak (Dec 16th 2011). Warshak has a  prestigious reputation in the field that McIntosh is trying to break into. Prof. Warshak wrote in 2000: [1] 
  •  “Infants and toddlers often sleep away from their mothers and away from their home cribs. They sleep in prams, car seats, bassinets, and parent’s arms.
  • They sleep in day care, in church, and in grandparents’ homes. Any married couple that take a holiday in the first few years of their child’s life leaves the child in someone else’s care.
  • Clinicians do not routinely advise parents against taking such holidays.
  • If infants can tolerate sleeping away from both parents during nap time at day care centres, on what basis can it be argued that sleeping away from one parent, in the familiar home of the other parent, would harm children?
  • They cannot provide any basis for assuming that the children could tolerate different surroundings while awake but could not tolerate such surroundings while they are asleep and mostly unaware of their environment.
  • When mental health professionals offer opinions that obviously violate logic, common experience, and common sense, we cannot rule out the possibility of intellectual dishonesty.” 

 So this then is the nub of it. It is the self-same factor that has been alluded to in several articles on this and other blog sites, namely one of scholarly vanity and the protectiong of an academic  reputation.

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 [1]  “”Blanket Restrictions: Overnight Contact Between Parents And Young Children” .by R A Warshak . 4 (38) Family And Concilliation Courts Review (4 October 2000) pp 422-445
Sydney Morning Herald

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