Shared parenting is an arrangement after separation or divorce wherein both parents should continue to have a strong positive presence in their children’s lives. Shared parenting calls for the child or children spending equal or significant amounts of time with each parent.
Shared parenting arrangements may differ to suit various situations. Time between each parent may be split fifty-fifty or the child may live with one parent for four days every week and the rest of the week with another parent.
After a breakdown of a family, shared parenting is a preferred alternative to asking the children to choose between their parents who they want to live with. Many children also prefer shared parenting rather than the traditional arrangements in these cases where one parent often loses contact with the children and becomes an occasional visitor. With shared parenting, the children still has the chance to have a meaningful relationship with each of their parents.
Indeed, there are many benefits to shared parenting. It allows children to have both parents present in their lives and although the children have to switch between two homes, shared parenting reassures them that both parents care for them. This arrangement is more beneficial to children than when they live with only one parent because often the latter creates a distance both physical and emotional between the child and the “absent” parent.
Here are some pointers to make shared parenting work:
* Parents should maintain a civil behavior towards each other and never argue in front of their children.
* During exchanges, the children must be available at the pickup time agreed upon and returned on the time and day agreed upon.
* Do not use your children to spy on your ex-husband or wife.
* Discuss your children’s concerns and other parenting issues together. For instance, you should agree on how to discipline them because you cannot discipline them in opposite ways or that would be very confusing. Make sure not to discuss these issues in front of your kids.
* It is also important that children maintain their relationship with close relatives from each side of the parent such as grandparents, aunts or uncles or cousins.
Studies show that children of divorced couples who retain meaningful relationships with each parent are the ones who find it easier to deal with the breakup of their parents. Research also shows shared parenting is possible despite intense conflict between parents if the parents focus on what is best for their children.
Milos Pesic is a single father and expert in the field of Parenting who runs a highly popular and comprehensive Parenting web site. For more articles and resources on parenting, teen parenting, step parenting, parenting classes and much more visit his site at: