Complicated delivery: The untold story of the international consensus report


Warshak, with the review and endorsement of 110 researchers and practitioners, analyzed more than four decades of research and issued a peer-reviewed consensus report on parenting plans for children under four. As intended, the report stemmed a tide of misinformation that was threatening to resurrect myths about infant attachment and child development and enshrine them in professional practice and family law. The list of endorsers and their professional accomplishments reflect the widespread acceptance among scientists of the consensus report’s findings that favor shared parenting and overnighting for very young children under normal circumstances. More than three years after its publication, the conclusions and recommendations of the Warshak consensus report remain supported by science. Critics of the consensus report have not challenged its conclusions but some have impugned the motives and scholarship of the endorsers and expressed concern that the report’s critique of two outlier studies contributed to divisiveness among scholars. Some critics questioned the value of publishing a paper with scientists’ endorsements. Having the paper reviewed by the endorsers brought the benefits of feedback and vetting from prominent international authorities on attachment, daycare, and divorce, and the outstanding statures of the signatories has captured the attention of decision makers for the report’s conclusions and recommendations. The report does not maintain that its conclusions are scientific merely because a large number of well-qualified researchers and practitioners endorse the conclusions. Rather, the consensus report reflects that 110 highly accomplished professionals, based on their understanding of the literature and on their professional experiences, accept the report’s research-based conclusions.


Dr. Richard Warshak
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA

Richard A. Warshak is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and one the world’s most respected authorities on divorce, child custody, and the psychology of alienated children. As a White House advisor, and through his studies on divorce and custody appearing in 14 books and more than 75 articles in eighteen languages, Dr. Warshak has had a broad impact on family law. His book, Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing is the best-selling and highest reviewed book for divorced parents.

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