The impact of splitting couples is evident on the entire family, especially the children. It becomes difficult to decide on who would get the custody of kids. However, with laws in place, there is some stability about who gets to keep the kids, how often the other Parent can see them, and so on. In spite of these accommodations, kids lose out on the growing up process, which is ideally facilitated by both parents.
There is a way around this, and some parents opt for it. The Shared Parenting concept makes sure that children get easy access to both the parents. MomJunction brings you what shared parenting is, and how it can help the entire family. Read on to know more.
What Is Shared Parenting?
Shared parenting is when both the parents have the rights over children and share the responsibilities together, even after they have separated. It is primarily done to give their children the best of both the parents. The parents are responsible equally about the needs and well-being of the child and want to be involved in the overall growth and development.
Some other terms that are used for shared parenting are ‘equal parenting,’ ‘parallel parenting,’ ‘cooperative parenting’, and ‘involved parenting.’
This parenting is a process throughout the child’s minor years. The parents don’t just take time to visit the child but also take part in his physical, emotional, mental, and overall growth. The legal team does a periodic review to assess the various needs of the child, such as physical, emotional, and academic.
Responsibilities Involved In Shared Parenting:
As shared parenting is a concept where equal participation is sought from both the parents, it comes with its share of important responsibilities, and we are listing a few below.
- Both the parents will have to spend equal amounts of time with the child. For instance, the child should not spend all the school days with one parent and the free days of the week with the other parent. Both parents will have to take over all areas in the child’s life, including busy and leisure days.
- If you are a working parent, you will have to make sure that you as well as your ex is contribute towards your child’s financial needs.
- Be present when it is your turn to be with the child. Even if you have prior commitments, you will have to adjust your schedule or work out something with your partner.
Schedules Of Shared Parenting:
Here are a few examples of schedule types that you can plan:
- Every alternate week: If you wish to divide your time equally between you and your ex, then you can try the alternate week schedule. Here, the child would stay with you for a week, and with your ex the next week, and so on.
- Middle of the week: If you follow the alternate week plan, you could schedule a day in the middle of the week when the child can meet the other parent. It will make sure that he does not have to spend an entire week without meeting the other parent.
- Less than a week: Let the children spend two days of the week with one parent, and the rest with the other parent. You could do this for two or three weeks at a stretch and see if it is working.
What Are The Laws Involved In Shared Parenting:
Different states and countries have different laws when it comes to shared parenting. Here are some of the most common points:
- Children should feel that both the parents are interested and concerned about anything related to them, and should not feel alienated from either parent.
- Any one parent will not be allowed to take on a dominant role when it comes to everyday things and activities related to the child.
- Children should be able to have free access to both the parents at all times.
- The law will not mandate only one parent to be present at a particular time, event, or day(s) of the week, thus allowing free access to both the parents.
- The parents should not behave in a way that will create stereotypical gender roles in the eyes of the children. For instance, the father should not be seen as the sole financial provider or the mother being responsible of the daily routines and needs.
What Are The Benefits Of Shared Parenting:
Divorce is bound to have a major impact on the children. Shared parenting attempts to mitigate that negative impact. Here, we list a few benefits.
1. Children will grow up with both the parents:
As part of the shared parenting process, your child will get full and equal access to both the parents, not feeling the loss of any one parent.
2. Can ease the pain of separation:
Letting your kids know about your separation or divorce can be very hard on them, especially if they are equally attached to both the parents. In such situations, a shared parenting concept can help ease the hurt, and make the process of change better. When your child has easy access to both the parents, it will also instill a sense of confidence and trust.
3. Children will feel secure:
With none of the bitterness that comes out of custody battles, the children will feel more secure in the entire parenting system. Also, even though the parents are separated or divorced, the shared parenting concept will not come off as a change from living with both parents together.
4. Lesser conflicts between parents:
In shared parenting, both you and your partner will experience lesser conflicts and arguments about your child. This is especially true for visitation rights and custody issues, which would have no unpleasantness.
5. Easy on your time and finances:
When you take equal responsibility for your child, you can split the financial responsibility. It will not only make things easier and fair, but also prevent the blaming sessions of unequal contribution. This type of setup will also make it easier for you to get time off for yourself.
6. One parent will always be around:
Parents who opt custody often find themselves looking for a good day care or babysitter for the child. When you opt shared parenting arrangement, you or your partner will always be around to look after the child. Even if you cannot be there with the child at all times, one of you can drop in to check on the child, whether in a day care or with a sitter.
7. Less stress on the parents:
While single parenting can often make the primary parent drained out most of the time, shared parenting will make it easier and more comfortable. As a parent who is part of the shared parenting process, you will get enough chance to rest and rejuvenate, yet bond beautifully with your child.
8. Amicable relationship with ex:
When both you and your partner are constantly in touch with each other for the welfare of your child, you will automatically form a more amicable relationship with your ex. It will help to maintain normalcy in the relationship, and there will be fewer fights and unpleasantness. Also, in some cases, it is possible that because you start your lives again in a new role and are not together all the time, you may want to reconsider and get back together again.
9. Child will find balance and stability:
When both the parents discuss and decide about decisions pertaining to the child’s benefit, it will give the child balance and stability in life. The child will not get confused by following different rules from each parent.
10. Child gets better at other relationships:
As both parents would be around the child, he will learn from both. There wouldn’t be a major change in your child’s life, and he will be able to form long lasting friendships. He would understand how to take mature and thoughtful decisions, following your and your ex’s example.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Shared Parenting:
Even if you and your partner decide to go ahead with shared parenting, the truth is that it is still not parenting as a family, and there are bound to be some changes. Here are some of the disadvantages due to shared parenting:
1. Moving can be stressful:
Your child will have to involve in a lot of back and forth between homes. Even if you mutually decide where the child will stay for what time, it can be quite difficult for him to adjust. In some cases, it can also affect his study time, association with friends, class activity schedules, and more. Not just that, it can also lead to a lost sense of belonging, as your child might get confused about which out of the two homes is his actual home.
2. Conflicts arise:
Sometimes it can get difficult for you to be at peace with your ex. One or both of you may want to move on in life, and it could lead to unpleasantness. If the child witnesses a lot of unpleasantness, it can result in negativity in his life and affect him adversely.
3. Confusion about parental status:
When parents go through a divorce, the children usually understand that they have to stay with one of the parents as they cannot live together anymore. However, in the case of shared parenting, both parents constantly interact with each other and in some cases, even go on family trips together. While this is good in the sense that children experience the family life together, it can be quite confusing at the same time. Your children may find it difficult to understand why you are doing things together if you are otherwise apart.
4. Attachment issues:
Once the divorce goes through and parents separate, children may find themselves more attached to one parent more than the other. However, when a parent leaves home, they are unsure of how well to interact with the other, and they go through separation anxiety and emotional turbulence.
Shared Parenting Vs Joint Custody:
Even though it may seem similar, there are some differences between shared parenting and joint custody. Here is a quick look at what the two mean and how they are different:
- Physical time shared vs taking care of responsibilities: In shared parenting, both the parents get an equal amount of time with the child. In joint custody, the focus is more on taking care of the various responsibilities that are associated with the upbringing of the child. It may not require the physical presence of the parent.
- Parents work together vs parents work as individuals: In a shared parenting concept, both the parents continue to work for the benefit of the child. In a joint custody, parents can take care of the child individually, and are not required to work together as a couple.
- Involved all the time vs involved only when the child is around: In shared parenting, both the parents have to look after the child’s everyday needs in an equal setup. It will involve his school days as well as weekends and holidays. In joint custody, the parent would be involved with the child only when he is physically present with them.
- Important decisions regarding kids with one parent vs decision to be made by both parents: In shared parenting, even though both the parents have to be involved in the child’s everyday development, important decisions are often left to one parent. These decisions could also be mutual, and do not require a legal intervention. In the joint custody setup, both parents have a say in any major decisions that have to be taken on the child’s behalf. It is important that parents share a mature attitude so that they can tale decision that would best suit the child’s needs.
What Is Equally Shared Parenting:
An equally shared parenting concept is one in which both the parents share equally in raising a child, taking care of domestic chores, making financial arrangements for the family, as well as getting enough time for self.
Equally shared parenting does not mean that the parents are necessarily divorced. Families, where both the parents are living together, can also follow the principles of an equally shared parenting concept, as much as the parents who have chosen to separate.
The term equally shared parenting also means that the law has instructed both the parents to discuss issues pertaining to the child’s benefit and reach a mutual conclusion.
Separating from your partner can be a tough phase in life, but with children involved, you will have to make sure that they are always the priority. Talk with your ex and see how best you can plan your schedules so that it will affect your children in the least possible way.
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