When most people think about the concept of shared parenting, they usually refer to the situation in which parents share child-care responsibilities after divorce, as opposed to a sole custody arrangement. Alternatively, equal parenting occurs when parents strive to divide child-care responsibilities fairly and equally. Experts assert that equal parenting is the optimal arrangement for most children of divorce, helping them to thrive in their new situation. Research into the effects of divorce in high conflict families suggests that equal parenting seems to mitigate any negative impact that prior conflict might have had on children.
Optimal Parenting Strategies: Quality vs. Quantity
Nearly all experts in child development agree that young children are benefited by having a strong attachment relationship with one or more adults. However, expert opinions diverge in regards to the question of quantity versus high quality time. The debate stems from the fact that one needs to spend a certain amount of time with children in order to nurture the attachment. Particularly in regards to children under the age of two, time is essential to forge a quality long-term bond.
Equal parenting responsibility helps foster the development of high quality parent-child relationships. These special bonds are formed through mutual participation in daily activities that may seem banal, such as bedtime and waking rituals. Taking your child to an occasional experience event, such as going to a zoo or a baseball game once a month, may not have the same benefit as participation in a child’s everyday activities.
Some experts assert that there is a direct correlation between the amount of time one spends with their child and the quality of the parent-child bond. Others view this concept as controversial due to the fact that many children are enrolled in extended childcare during the week as both parents are forced to work longer hours to make ends meet. The bottom line is that primary attachment bonds may be more difficult to achieve if divorce puts undue restrictions on visitation and access.
Debunking of the Primary Attachment Myth
For many years, child psychologists asserted that children were only capable of forming a primary attachment bond with one parent. This view has evolved in recent years, and now psychologists favor the idea that children can have multiple attachment bonds. The current view is that when both parents are involved in a child’s life, the children are able to form a primary attachment bond with each parent.
Parent Well-Being Is Important Too
Another benefit of an equal parenting arrangement is that parents get time for self-care. When one parent has sole-custody, that parent can easily become overburdened, overworked, and exhausted. On the other end of the spectrum, recent research has found that the highest rate of depression in adults is among parents who have a minor child, but are unable to maintain a meaningful relationship with them due to other demands.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Counsel Parents Through the Divorce Process in Maryland
If you are considering a divorce in Maryland, the knowledgeable Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help you develop a parenting plan that focuses on the best needs of your children. We strive to handle the legal aspects of your divorce while helping to minimize any conflict that may have a negative effect on your children. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. With offices in Hunt Valley, Towson, and Pikesville, Maryland we represent clients throughout Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County including the towns of Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.