By Trace Embry
Despite what today’s culture says, there is a definite optimum for the family. Who could deny; generally speaking, one father and one mother isn’t the best scenario for raising healthy kids and families?
That is why the importance of co-parenting must be discussed within divorced homes. Hear my two-part discussion with Tammy Bennett Daughtry, Founder and CEO of CoParenting International, on the subject of co-parenting.
Understanding the Fundamentals of a Family
So, why do so many folks insist other combinations of parenting are just as healthy?
It’s called personal preference.
However, if we take personal preference out of the equation and look at the greater good of society as a whole, then we would be foolish to say that one’s personal preference should take precedent over what is good for the masses when it comes to defining the fundamentals of what a family should look like as well as how it functions.
Where is the line of demarcation in personal preference? One’s personal preference for the fundamentals of a family could lead him or her to marry another family member.
The Answer is Co-Parenting
So, if one father and one mother is the best case scenario for raising healthy kids, how can single-parent homes provide the same scenario?
I’d like to share briefly on how and why divorced parents should work together to have as much input in their child’s life as possible. Again, this is all generally speaking; because, a single parent who has his/her act together can be as or more effective in raising an emotionally healthy child than a two-parent home where chaos reigns.
Speaking from Experience
Speaking from experience, my parents were divorced when I was five and my sister was two. Though I love them dearly, as parents, I wouldn’t consider my mother or my father to be the greatest examples to follow for those looking for the perfect parenting model. However, they weren’t the worst either.
After their divorce, from the age of five until I graduated high school, my father never missed a Friday picking my sister and me up from my mother’s house. She had full custody. Regardless of my fathers many flaws, including alcoholism, he never missed a Friday – never. This sent me a message that I hold near and dear to my heart to this day – even though some of the days in those weekends were spent with babysitters while he and my stepmother worked.
The reason this subliminal message was so vitally important to me is the same reason it would be for any other child. We are all hardwired to connect to our biological parents. This is one reason why children diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) struggle.
Thanks to the research done by 33 mental health and child care professionals from Harvard, Yale, UCLA, Indiana University, Emory, Northwestern, and several other prominent schools. Their research shows that children are hardwired to connect to their biological parents.
This means any other form or combination of co-parenting, regardless of how good and healthy it might appear on the surface, is at best making “good” a competitor with “best.” These results, and more, can be found in a book produced by The Commission on Children at Risk – joint sponsored initiative of YMCA of the USA, Dartmouth Medical School, and the Institute for American Values called “Hardwired to Connect, the New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities.” The study used these 33 professionals to also confirm that children and adults are also hardwired to connect to their Creator. That’s right – to their Creator.
Parenting God’s Way
Coming from a broken home and now running a residential program and school for troubled teenagers known as Shepherd’s Hill Academy, my experience tells me that everything within the bounds of prudence and practicality needs to be done to keep kids connected with their biological parents.
In a divorce situation; unless parents are absolutely derelict, drug addicted, or criminally insane, I see very few reasons to keep them from working with one another in a co-parenting relationship with their kids when divorce makes living under the same roof impossible.
What are some difficulties families face when co-parenting?