Courts DO Favour Fathers in Ruling Over Permissive Parenting

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Last month The Guardian reported how a mother lost custody of her 2 sons aged 11 and 14, after the judge ruled she had "significantly failed them" through her use of permissive parenting.

Permissive Parenting in Courts

According to the judge, she "acted more like a friend than a parent" causing them harm.

Permissive parents make very few demands of their children, rarely discipline them and typically have low expectations of maturity and self-control. They are sometimes referred to as 'indulgent parents' and typically do just that i.e. allow considerable self-regulation and avoid confrontation.

Mother Frustrated Contact Between Children and Father


Judge Laura Harris saw that the father had a "far better insight" than the mother in what the boys needed, in terms of stability, boundaries and discipline. She also commented that although the court must "tolerate" the various different parenting methods, in this case it was clear that the children had been caused harm due to the method used by the mother.

In 2004, the court ruled that the boys should live with their mother, by 2012 the father had requested that the court make the decision to place the children with him. He had concerns about his ex-wife's mental health and was worried about the children's medical, dental and educational needs. From what we can gather from the case, it seems that the mother was not only neglecting her core parental duties, but also frustrating contact between the boys and their father.

In closing, the judge applauded the persistence of the father in trying to pursue and maintain a relationship with his sons commenting, "Many fathers would have given up by now".

Father's Must Persevere


It is clear from this case, that what is best for the child is always paramount to the court. The judge weighed up the short-term harm of moving the children to live with the father, and the long-term harm of leaving them with the mother. She then concluded that living with the father would be more beneficial for these children.

Emma Pearmaine, Head of Family Law at Simpson Millar LLP said, "We represent many Father's whose relationship with their children has been compromised because of the mother's hostility. We always advise them that they must persevere, because the Court will always consider that as often as possible it is in the children's best interests to have a relationship with their father.

We also represent mothers who on occasion are advised by us that there is danger of a change of residence if they are not supportive of their children's need to see their father. In most cases, even though parents fall out of love with each other, this doesn't mean they don't both still love their children and good parenting means putting their feelings for each other to one side".


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