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The Importance of Family

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Benefits of Shared Parenting

There's a lot that needs to be considered before, during and after a divorce or separation. When kids are in the picture, coparents must think about is how parenting responsibilities should be shared. There are some who may think that the sharing of parenting time and responsibilities causes more harm and stress on the kids, but if done right, the benefits of shared parenting can outweigh the disadvantages for a number of reasons. Shared parenting offers families the benefits of both parents building relationships with their kids, encouraging healthy child development, and creating a platform for parents to collaborate efforts for their child's well-being.

If done right, the benefits of shared parenting can spread across the entire family. One way that these benefits are shared is by direct interactions between both parents and their children. When the relationship ends and parents move into separate homes, children sometimes fear that they'll lose touch with the parent who moves out or that their relationship will never be the same again. Allowing kids to spend time in both of their parents' homes will benefit kids in helping them to feel less like they are forced to take sides. It will also help kids to understand that they were not abandoned by either of their parents after the split. Parents are also going through a difficult time with all the changes happening around them; it's not easy for them to have to reduce the amount of time that they spend with the kids, too. Regular contact between the kids and each parent helps to reduce these feelings of loss on everyone's part. Even though the intimate relationship between parents has ended, this doesn't mean that being a family ends as well. Shared parenting time allows for children to continue cultivating relationships with each of their parents individually. A parenting time arrangement will be an important piece that dictates the amount of time each parents spends with their kids. A 50/50 parenting time plan will allocate each parent with equal time, but this is not always the best fit for every family.  No matter what the parenting time agreement becomes, parents and kids can still be in touch with each other when they are not together via phone, text, email, or even webcam. If done right, technology can benefit shared parenting by keeping a family in touch even when they cannot all be together physically. Staying in touch even when apart helps parents and kids to maintain relationships and lessen the emotional stress of being apart.

Shared parenting benefits run deeper than simply fostering relationships within a family. If done right, shared parenting can also encourage healthy child development. Children have different emotional needs at different stages of their lives. Very young kids might be vocal about how much they miss Mom or Dad when they aren't with one of them, and some teenagers might seem indifferent about which parent they are staying with. The reverse of these two scenarios is also possible, meaning that every child truly is different no matter their age.  When children are still very young, they often benefit from spending ample time with each of their parents. They are still constructing relationships with both of them, and these bonds formed early in a child's life help to develop long-standing trust and friendship. As kids get older and have more responsibilities like school or part-time jobs, it might become more difficult to have frequent parenting time transitions. While there may be less frequent transitions, periods of parenting time might last longer than before. This gives a child an opportunity to focus more on their own responsibilities while not having to worry about getting packed to go to their other parent's house so often. Technology helps families stay connected in these cases when someone is away for a period of time, so parents and kids should be able to reach each other whenever they need to even when apart. With the bonds that parents and kids developed early on and continue to cultivate today, plus the technology that allows them to stay connected, being away from each other might not feel as hard as it could. If done right, having these factors in place help to promote healthy emotional development in kids in the long run.

Encouraging healthy development in kids  is something both parents should do. If done right, parents should be working to collaborate their efforts in this instead of working against each other. Shared parenting often calls for the parents to discuss matters regarding their kids and their schedule, so a need for communication is created. For many parents who have unsettled disputes between them, just talking to each other might be difficult enough. Finding a neutral ground for communication, such as an online platform that doesn't require face-to-face or phone communication, can help to isolate potentially heated conversations to a place where the kids cannot observe it. When you must meet with your co-parent directly for an event such as a parenting time exchange, you can keep your interaction between each other brief and reserve anything you might want to say to your neutral communication platform. When parents are able to set aside conflicts in front of the kids, everyone benefits. One benefit is that children will see their parents as positive role models for how to communicate in a cordial manner with others. Another benefit is that unwanted anxiety and stress will be lifted off the kids' shoulders by not watching their parents argue. By putting this kind of communication into practice, parents have the opportunity to build an amicable relationship over time that is centered on collaborating efforts for the sake of their children's well-being.

The benefits of shared parenting might not seem apparent to some at first, but if done right, they can be great. Shared parenting gives both parents the opportunity to cultivate their relationships with their kids, which also helps kids to develop to be emotionally healthy. It also creates an opportunity for coparents to work together for the sake of their kids. The well being of the kids should always be kept at the forefront when making parenting decisions, and coparents who are keeping this in mind are on the right track to making shared parenting work.