Children of Seperated Couples Should Not Stay Overnight With Father: Parenting Expert

Penelope Leach at her home in Hampstead for Helen Wethers interview

As a stay-at-home father I am calling out so-called “parenting expert” for what I believe is blatant sexism:


A parenting expert has incurred the wrath of fathers’ groups by claiming that children of estranged couples should not stay overnight with them.

Psychologist Penelope Leach has said that generally children of separated couples aged four and under should not be parted from their mother to have a sleepover with their father. 

Ms Leach, whose book Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five was a bestseller in 1977, said attempts to share children was putting parents notions of ‘rights’  and notion of what is ‘fair’ above what is best for the child.

In her new book, Family Breakdown, she writes that there is evidence that separating children from their mothers reduces brain development, and can create unhealthy ‘attachment issues’.

‘Overnight stays with fathers from as early an age as possible is crucial if children are to form strong attachments with both of their parents.

Ian Maxwell, of the charity Families Need Fathers, added; ‘The bond between fathers and children is just as important.’

Ms Leach also criticises the legal profession in the book, writing: ‘when people say that it’s ‘only fair’ for a father and mother to share their five-year-old daughter on alternate weeks, they mean it is fair to the adults – who see her as a possession and her presence as their right – not that it is fair to the child.’

She has since defended her statements, insisting that ‘being a father is not a reward for good behaviour’.



Click on the link to read The Myth Concerning Children and Divorce

Click on the link to read The Psychological Impact of Divorce on Children




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One Response to “Children of Seperated Couples Should Not Stay Overnight With Father: Parenting Expert”

  1. pennypinchingpeach Says:

    As a stay at home mom who can’t imagine being regularly separated from my little ones, I still think this is crazy. The only time this seems valid is for a breastfeeding infant. Mine were almost literally attached for the first six months, and a pumped bottle just didn’t cut it for night feedings. Even as older babies, they were just not having anything but the real deal during the night, and would’ve just screamed all night for mama. Other than that situation, most little ones thrive as well with a loving daddy as with a loving mommy, night or day. Being separated from one parent in order to be with the other is one of the prices everyone pays for divorce.

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