Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shared Parenting, by Burrett and Green

Jill Burrett, a psychologist who helps divorced parents as a counselor and mediator, and Michael Green, a lawyer who runs a private mediation practice, have published the book Shared Parenting: Raising Your Child Cooperatively After Separation.

These two experts, each one with over 30 years of experience, wrote this book as an handbook for separated or divorced parents who want to develop a a successful shared parenting strategy. The authors emphasize the importance of children having significant time with both parents so they can maintain meaningful relationships.

They cite supporting research, which indicates how important it is for children to continue healthy relationships with their parents after family breakdown. They sustain that once a good shared parenting arrangement is working, all the parties involved receive emotional benefits: mothers becoming more comfortable with sharing the children, fathers learn to be truly involved in their children lives, and children are happy for being able to be with both parents. The authors write:

“We don’t think fortnightly weekend parenting is meaningful shared parenting. We think that shared parenting means having real chunks of time engaged with your children for a flexible 35–50 percent or more of their available time.

Sole-mother ‘custody’, with mother doing all the parenting and father merely paying the bills and popping into the kids’ lives from time to time, isn’t really good enough for children – and often not for mothers – in either separated or ‘intact’ family situations”.

Some of the most interesting chapters of the book are:

Chapter 1 Parenting after separation: Shared parenting can produce happier children and more satisfied parents; a few guidelines for making it work.

Chapter 5 Sorting out your motives: How parent’s feelings can interfere with their parenting, and how they can get past their hurt and anger and focus on approaches that will benefit their children.

Chapter 8 Designing a parenting plan: How to design your own parenting plan.

Chapter 9 Sample parenting plans.

Chapter 10 Communicating between households: Tips for communication between divorced parents.

This book than can help all of us who have shared parenting schedules and want them to be successful.

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