Sunday, June 15, 2014

All Fathers Need Equal Time And Equal Influence With Their Children

Over my years of counseling married couples as well working with individuals going through divorce, I've often been subpoenaed as a witness in child custody and visitation cases.

In court, fathers are all too often made to feel they need to somehow deserve the privilege of having their fair share of time with their children, while mothers are more likely to be seen as having the inherent right to be the primary parent and caregiver.

My belief is that unless one or the other partner has a history of irresponsibility, abuse or neglect, that each parent should, as much as possible, have equal time and equal say in their children's lives, whether living together or living apart. Equal may not mean identical, of course, given work schedules and other factors, but each should be fully engaged in bringing up their young.

Parenting, after all, isn't just some privilege, but a solemn and ongoing responsibility. Children need and deserve as much good fathering and mothering as possible.

Even with the best of 50-50 arrangements, divorced children are already deprived of far too much time with their parents, since when they are with mom, they don't have their dad around, and vice versa.

So in honor of Fathers Day, let's not speak of decent dads just being "allowed" an allotted amount of time with their children, since being your kid's dad is not just right, it's an obligation.

And while I'm at it, when it comes to having a child move from one house to another every week, what if it were the children who could stay put and the parents take equal turns moving in with them?

I welcome your feedback.

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