When parents separate, deciding on the best custody arrangement can be a challenge. Shared parenting isn’t always easy, which is why some parents may want to have sole custody. However, it’s usually best to have both parents involved in a child’s life.
Shared parenting doesn’t mean that custody always has to be exactly equal. A 50/50 split may be desirable but could be logistically impractical, especially if parents live more than a short drive from one another.
Nonetheless, the goal should be for both parents to be engaged in their children’s lives, with a healthy custody balance. Why is this so important? If unsure, these are a few of the reasons why shared parenting is ideal.
Benefits of Both Parents Being Involved
You may have heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. There’s a lot of truth to it. The more influences a child can draw on and the more people to care for him or her, the better the potential childhood experience.
You probably also know that being a single parent isn’t easy. One tired and stressed parent cannot really compete with two parents who are sharing the responsibility of raising a child together.
Having both parents involved offers a variety of benefits. A child has a better chance of a balanced upbringing with the influences of both parents in their life.
Chances are that children are able to gain more interesting and diverse experiences when both parents are involved. Not only is the child participating in two households, they also see the strengths and weaknesses of both parents. That allows for a broader perspective.
Improved Quality Time
Although you may love spending time with your children overall, not all of this time is going to be high quality. You may have to focus on other areas of your life, such as work and other relationships. All parent-child relationships are going to have good and bad times and this is perhaps most intensely felt with sole custody parenting.
Shared parenting allows you to make time with your children quality time. When time spent together is limited, you are encouraged, and better able, to get the most from every single moment.
With more evenly shared custody, you can set aside time to relax and focus on enjoying time with your children while also being a parent in the process. When both parents are doing this, children have consistently high-quality parent-child interactions.
Improved Living Standards
It may surprise some parents to learn this but children who live in a shared care arrangement actually have a higher standard of living. Since children are living in two households, the costs of raising children are naturally shared. Also, if one of the households has a lower income, the higher income household can make up for it by spending extra on things such as holidays or technology.
When staying with the parent who has a higher income, children may be able to do activities that they might not in the other parent’s home. While it’s important to ensure that both households treat children equally, kids can benefit from having greater access to the financial resources of the higher earning parent.
Shared parenting is highly beneficial for enthusiastic dads. Fathers who divorce are typically the ones who miss out on having adequate custody. Lack of contact time can be soul destroying for a parent who wants to maintain a good relationship with their children and fulfill their parenting duties. They appreciate the time that they get in a shared parenting arrangement.
Having a healthy relationship with both parents allows children to thrive, bringing a sense of peace and satisfaction to any caring father. Fathers get the comfort of knowing that their children are having a good childhood and the reward of feeling that they are a significant contributor.
For a significant percentage of mothers, their instincts when separating are to keep their children close. But experience generally proves that shared custody is actually better for mothers over the long run
Sharing the responsibilities of raising a child lifts the burden on mothers and allows them to do more with their lives. The extra time they have can be used productively to do things like build a career, nurture other relationships, rest, and prepare for the next custody period. That helps mothers to become stronger, helping them to be better parents overall.
Final Thoughts on Why Shared Parenting is Beneficial
Being a co-parent after divorce isn’t always easy. However, it’s normally hugely beneficial to children when they experienced shared custody arrangements. The payoffs from managing an arrangement with frequent custody exchanges are more than worth it.
A richer upbringing, in terms of both finances and experiences, more quality time with parents overall, and happier parents are just a few of the reasons why it’s a good choice for parents and their children.
Further reading: 50/50 Custody Benefits… why shared parenting is important