Friday, June 23, 2017

"Shared Parenting"

From the Institute for Family Studies:
What many children of marital abandonment experience in this netherworld of hedonism and adolescent pursuits is—well, let’s just say a far cry from snuggles and Goodnight Moon.
  • It’s waking up Saturday mornings to fend for yourself until around noon when dad and his girlfriend emerge from a dark bedroom in the dumpy, dingy apartment that is now your temporary home.
  • It’s being left high and dry when mom forgets to pick you up because she’s getting it on with her boyfriend at their new place together.
  • It’s regular exposure to pornography and troubling shows like “13 Reasons Why” in the vacuum of parental supervision under a new Disney mom or Disney dad regime.
  • It’s subsisting on too-little sleep, junk food, and soda two weekends a month and coming home exhausted and grumpy to the responsible parent who suffers the consequences for days.
  • It’s the repeated and prolonged (court-ordered) exposure of a preteen girl to mom’s burly new boyfriend who vacillates between ignoring and ogling her—the very man responsible for the constant pain she is experiencing at the loss of her family.
  • It’s the tummy aches and nightmares that won’t go away.
  • It’s the teen boy with the sparkle in his eye and love for his faith who in the wake of his father’s abandonment and remarriage hates God and speaks of suicide.
  • It’s the daughter, who once contemplated religious life, who now posts half-naked photos of herself on social media, slathered in makeup as if to mask the anguish of innocence lost in the emulation of her mother’s behavior.
  • It’s feeling the guilt and sadness of knowing that church is important, but having to watch TV sitcoms every other Sunday morning instead; the knowledge that to raise the issue with daddy would bring that sickly, torn apart inside feeling to the surface again.
Where do the children above (each of whom is real) fall in the shared parenting paradigm of “post-divorce equality leads to better adjustment?” What about the responsible parents who wish to protect not only their children’s physical but moral and spiritual well-being?

These matters are not just a quandary for those who believe adultery is wrong. Children living with a parent’s new sex partner— especially when the partner is a man—are at significant risk of sexual and physical abuse. Record numbers of divorcees are cohabiting.

So, how do we have an honest discussion about where children should spend the most time after divorce without accounting for the impact of infidelity (and all its negative behavioral correlates)—and the marital abandonment and subsequent cohabitation or remarriage that so often accompanies serial infidelity—on their moral and physical well-being, in childhood and beyond? Professionals in every sphere of influence on this matter (family courts, social science, counseling) seem reluctant to acknowledge and investigate the distinction between consensual and unwanted divorce. Somehow abandoned spouses and their children are not represented in our representative studies of divorce. (Read more.)

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