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Entries in shred parenting (3)


Shared Parenting interviewees wanted

FNF Scotland has appointed a student intern, Isabelle Introna, to collect and compile information about the benefits of shared parenting for a new FNF Scotland website. Shared Parenting is when both parents are actively involved in all aspects of their children’s lives and share meaningful parenting responsibility. The new site will offer:
•    A summary of the academic research that has been conducted on shared parenting
•    Details on the law around shared parenting across the globe
•    Stories and advice from families who share parenting
•    A forum that will give parents the opportunity to discuss their own experiences
This work follows on from FNF Scotland’s 2016 report into shared parenting by continuing to promote shared parenting and help those who are trying to achieve it.
Isabelle will be carrying out interviews with parents to find out how they made shared parenting work and what problems were faced along the way, as well as what advice can be passed on. If you would be interested in becoming involved in this project email her for further details or ring the Edinburgh office on 0131 557 2440.

Her four week internship is arranged through the Edinburgh University Employ.ed third sector scheme, supported by Santander.  The web site will be launched in early July - watch this space.


Shared Parenting: Better for Scotland's Children

In a report published simultaneously at Holyrood and Strasbourg FNF Scotland calls for a reformed Scottish family law to include shared parenting as its starting presumption rather than an outcome that has to be argued for often with great difficulty and at financial and emotional cost within the adversarial court system.

There is overwhelming evidence of the benefits to both parents and children of shared parenting from a broad range of studies and reports around the world. Children in shared parenting families have significantly better outcomes in terms of emotional, behavioural, and psychological well-being, as well as better physical health and better relationships with their father and their mother compared to those who are only brought up by one parent.

This report collates existing research into the benefits of shared parenting from other jurisdictions where there is already a framework in place, such as Sweden, Australia and the Netherlands.

It also includes information from 15 questionnaires and interviews with families in Scotland who have experienced shared parenting at first hand. One mother who shares parenting time equally with the children's father says:

“I think us being separated is fairer for the children and we are all so much happier. I also think it means the boys have good relationships with both parents, they love both of us and we both love them and we reinforce this everyday. I also have a really healthy life outside of the children so there is more balance for me and then for the kids as well. I have time for myself that I didn’t have before, or where I did have it before I would feel guilty for leaving them, but now I don’t have this. I’m also more resourced to commit to the parenting side of things when I am responsible.”

National Manager of FNF Scotland, Ian Maxwell, says, “We want children to have an equally significant relationship with both their mother and father and their respective extended families wherever possible. This means that the child will spend a considerable amount of time with each parent; that both parents will have equal weight in important decisions affecting the child and that both parents will be recognised equally by public agencies such as schools and doctors.

We believe a legislative commitment to the values of shared parenting would save the public purse in court time and legal aid funding (as well as the psychological drain on the parents and their children) of high octane disputes about controlling rather than sharing time. If the starting point for the parents is clear then the discussion becomes about practical arrangements.

Attitudes are already changing in Scotland as family life and economic realities have evolved in recent decades. This is part of the drive towards greater gender equality in Scotland. Parents should be able to collaborate in the interests of the children long after the sheriff has gone home and the solicitors have closed their files.”

As well as being sent to members of the Scottish Parliament,  the report is being highlighted at a side meeting of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.  The meeting follows up last October's Council resolution calling on member states to better recognise and positively value the role of fathers and do various things to support shared parenting for the benefit of children.

The FNF Scotland report also calls for :
* the “contact and residence” labels under the existing legislation to be removed and replaced with less value loaded terms, as has been done in England and Wales with “child arrangement orders”
* that parental rights and responsibilities should be retrospectively allowed for unmarried fathers.  The arbitrary date of May 6th 2006 enacted in the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 is still creating anomalies within families and unnecessary discrimination between unmarried fathers and unmarried mothers
* that mediation should be encouraged in order to shift away from the current adversarial approach of raising disputes in court.


Shared parenting for under fives criticised by Penelope Leach

The Independent on Sunday celebrates Father's Day by featuring claims by childcare expert Penelope Leach that "... as a general rule, children aged four and under should not be separated from their mother by having a "sleepover" with the father, when couples have separated."

This comes from her new book on Family Breakdown, in which she says attempts by separated parents to "share" young children is putting "adult rights" above those of children, and that there is "undisputed" evidence that separating children from their mothers "reduces brain development" and creates a tendency toward "unhealthy attachment issues".

Families Need Fathers Scotland finds these claims remarkable, given the recent evidence published by Warshak and others about the importance of father involvement with young children after separation. 

"Penelope Leach's overall message in her new book is that parents should focus on children's needs after separation, which is one that we agree with" comments Ian Maxwell from Families Need Fathers Scotland.

"Where we part company is in her interpretation of attachment theory to mean that mothers should be the main carers in early years, and we find it amazing that she seems to relegate the separated father to the status of a visitor to his children."

"This cuts across recent research, such as the major review by Richard Warshak."

"Shared Parenting doesn't have to mean a 50:50 split of time, but it does mean that both parents should be involved closely with their children and be involved in making decisions and sharing routine care."