Shared parenting, which is having two parents preoccupied with their children’s whereabouts, jointly maintaining responsibility for their care, and allocating equal time for physical custody, is the most ideal resolution for married couples who decided to lead separate lives.
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Sadly, the breakup of marriages yields unhealthy arrangements between the couples, influenced largely by misconceptions and fallacies about childcare. Young children are traditionally handed to mothers with the belief that the presence of a female parent is of far greater importance than the father. Hence, the latter just content himself with weekend visits. A research study conducted in the late 1970s in four U.S. states supported by the National Institute for Mental Health revealed that children and their fathers usually don’t get their desired frequency of times they wanted to be together.
This same group that initiated this research covered 50 studies of joint physical custody arrangement for children in the same country. The findings that surfaced are promising. One is that children who spend almost equal time with each parent, rather than live with one and visited by the other, have happier relationships with both the mother and the father, exhibit better academic performance in school, and demonstrate better social and psychological demeanors. Further, they are less likely to fall into nasty vices such as smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. They are also more resilient to stress-related illnesses and mental instability.
However, despite the apparent advantages of shared parenting to children’s welfare, it is still muddled with society’s gender biases, especially when it comes to toddlers and infants. Mothers are still preferred to take the upper hand in caring for them, and that their development might be jeopardized if left in the care of their fathers.
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As derived from studies of single parenting, fathers are very sensitive and can learn to read their baby’s signals and respond accurately. In fact, in some areas of learning such as language development, fathers may even be more effective. Both mother and father can have the same perseverance in hurdling challenging problems.