There has been a new study about the amount of time children spend with their father after a divorce and it has revealed a shift away from only seeing their father every other weekend.
Based on a random sample of 408 separated parents registered with the Australian Child Support Agency, the study has found that children move between parents’ homes two to four times within a two week time span.
Dr. Bruce Smyth, from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, led the study and found that modern parenting schedules show greater sharing of parental responsibility and a more significant involvement of fathers than has been previously the case.
This greater responsibility of the father is also evident in equally shared time arrangements, the most common being weekly arrangements starting on Monday.
Dr. Smyth says that equally shared time arrangements are not the norm, however, new finding have also shown that fewer swaps between parents are better for the children. Fewer swaps help to limit the amount of parental hostility the children witness and create a sense of predictability to them as well.
Any type of parenting arrangement needs compromise; children should have longer blocks of time with each of their parents, but that will also mean a longer block of absence from the other parent. On the other hand, schedules that are more fragmented require more child-swapping between the parents, but it will minimize the children’s time away from each parent.
The study has found that parents are working harder to create a more equal sharing of their children to spend as much time with their children as possible, which has not always been the case.
Ideally, the children’s activities and needs would be the anchor of the parenting schedule, unfortunately, the trade-offs that must be made by parents to balance the needs of their children and the children to not always win out, according to Dr. Smyth.
The easiest way for a parenting arrangement to work is for the parents get along well, are flexible, and the arrangements are focused around the children.
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