A fantastic article on shared parenting. Key points:
- the ‘quality’ of time children spend with parents is just as important in maintaining and developing a meaningful child/parent relationship as the amount of time children spend with parents;
- shared parenting works best when parents:
- live close to each other;
- contain negative feelings they have for each other;
- amicably resolve disagreements and misunderstanding that crop up (such as unexpected developments requiring a ‘change in plans’);
- accept that they each have a right to get on with their lives, and that their children have a right to a meaningful relationship with each of them;
- are neither menacing towards, nor fearful of, the other parent;
- accept that their children are ‘on board’ and are able to cope with moving between two households;
- when it comes to infants and young children:
- shared parenting may be especially effective where both parents are closely ‘tuned in’ to their children (as young children cannot verbally communicate, and often resort to non-verbal ques to communicate their needs which require interpretation by a parent);
- where a parent is not closely ‘tuned in’ to their infant or young child (for instance because they have spent long periods of time away from the home working and have simply not as much time with the child as they would have liked), such parent may need to spend frequent, but relatively small periods of time with the child until the child feels safe and secure (not only because they are protected from harm, but also because they have become increasingly confident that the signals they send in relation to their needs are signals received by the parent, and attended to).
This commentary was written by Townsville family lawyer, Kyle Barram. Kyle heads up our team of child custody lawyers practising out of Townsville.