Shared parenting is really about, for me, cooperative parenting. So, it’s about how do we share the care of the children without thinking exactly about how much time you’re spending with the children because research has shown it’s about quality of time with the children rather than quantity of time with the children. Lots of people get really worried about exactly how much time they’re having. They want half. In fact, they want 50. 50 is really hard to get, to even if you quantify the number of nights the child is staying with you.
What does it really mean What does it mean for the child It’s really hard for people who are so worried about getting an equal time because, of course, I think they think if they get equal time, they’re an equal parent but they are an equal parent even if they only spend one night a month with the child. Because, actually, children can love more than one parent at a time and it doesn’t really much matter how much time the parent is spending with the children as long as it’s good time.
There is lots of talk about shared residence as against shared parenting. For me, shared parenting is about being cooperative parents and sharing the time out as suits best the children. Shared residence is a court order. The court order of shared residence can press parental responsibility perhaps on a parent who doesn’t have it but it also defines the time that the children spend with each parent. Shared residence can be awarded when perhaps one parent is just having one night a month with the child so shared residence doesn’t necessarily mean equal time.
What is shared parenting how does it work in practice
Dads are particularly worried about not having contact and time with their children at all. I think they feel they are going to be edited out of their children’s lives when they separate from the mother. However, that may not happen but that fear is driving Dads, often, to fight for every single moment, to fight for more time, more and more time, until they feel equal. And, I think, for lots of Dads, and some Mums, but mostly Dads, they feel that 50 of the time means that they are an equal parent to the other.