Many parents who are considering custody litigation still assume or inquire as to a gender preference in custody. It is true that moms used to be the preferred custodians for minor children over dads. During the early twentieth century the custody laws of nearly all the states endorsed this view as well. There was a shared misconception that moms would be the better parents based on their natural nurturing instincts. This was especially true of young children or children of "tender years." In fact, a legal principle termed the "tender years doctrine" called for mothers to have custody of children until they were at least approaching their teenage years.