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shared parenting - every other day or split the week into chunks?

(9 Posts)
PintandChips Thu 25-Jun-09 17:45:31

my partner and i, recently split, are trying to work out what is the best way to share care of our nearly 3yo DS. we have agreed he has him 3 nights and i have him 4. At the moment this works out so that pretty much he swops parent every other day, so he rarely spends two nights in a row at the same house. I am starting to think it would be better for him if we were to split the week so that he spent, say, mon/tue at his dad's plus one day/night at the weekend - perhaps it would feel a little more 'normal'. i think that as parents when we only have him for a night at a time we are prone to to being less disciplined (because when you only have a few hours with your child you want it all to be lovely) and it could be unsettling for him if boundaries are getting more elastic and he's being swopped between parents every day.

Is there a kind of 'professional' opinion on this? most people seem to do it on an 'every other weekend' basis, and i wondered if that's because it's better for the child that way?

advice appreciated!

3littlefrogs Thu 25-Jun-09 17:50:36

I don't know about professional opinions, but I can't think of anything more unsettling for a small child than having alternate days with each parent. Just my opinion.

I have a lot of experience of teenagers who spend time with divorced parents. They have all said that swapping locations frequently is a nightmare, and very stressful. They all prefer to have a base as their main home, and spend weekends/holidays with the other parent.

PintandChips Thu 25-Jun-09 17:59:01

Instinctively i agree with you 3littlefrogs, but i know his father won't agree, so i want to do some investigation and have research on my side if i'm going to attempt to go down this road. He will see it as me trying to control his access. I understand that he feels vulnerable, but i really want to do what's best for our son.

3littlefrogs Thu 25-Jun-09 21:01:34

Ok - I see where you are coming from. Unfortunately, it sounds as if your xp is already putting his own needs and wants above what is best for your ds.

Do you have a good GP or HV? Could you access anyt kind of mediation service or counselling so that you can get impartial advice about what is best for your child. Sorry to say it, but TBH it is common sense IMO - small children need consistancy, routine, security and familiar surroundings as well as consistant discipline. Your ds is a small person, not a possession. It sounds as though you know this, but your xp does not. sad

BTW, I am not saying that only mum is best - plenty of children are looked after by dad, but, "pass the parcel" is not a game to be played in this situation.

lostdad Thu 25-Jun-09 21:54:52

Every other day is not good. A few days at each is better.

Evidence show children are more than happy to spend meaningful amounts of time with each parent (rather than the derisory `every other weekend and once night a week' that is often cited as `typical').

As has already been said - mediation and counselling is a good idea. A charity I belong to, Families Need Fathers will point out to your ex that alternating days it not in your ds' best interests and will also give him (and you - 1/3 of the members are women!) excellent tips on making co-parenting even though you are no longer together work. You can google them and call them for free for advice.

SolidGoldBrass Thu 25-Jun-09 21:57:26

Every alternate day is horribly destablising nd confusing for a small child. 4 on 4 off would be better (at 3 days of the week are less of a big deal anyway). Is your XP living somewhere reasonably close so that your DS has consistency in things like parks/playgroup/nursery etc?

ElenorRigby Thu 25-Jun-09 22:12:46

DSD loved spending "a long time at mums" and "a long time at dads" ie 8 days mum, 6 days dad when she was 4.
For a younger child 3 days, 4 days, 3 days, 4 days would be more suitable.
A 1 day mum, 1 day dad doesnt seem right, that would be too unsettling IMO.

PintandChips Tue 30-Jun-09 16:57:31

Belatedly, thanks everyone for all your support. I have broached the subject and going to contact Families Need Fathers - that way ex-DP will see it as putting him at the centre (clever me!) and will be more willing to listen.

bratnav Tue 30-Jun-09 17:04:23

DSDs Mum started out agreeing to shared residency on a 3 days there 4 days here basis and vice versa. Poor DSD didn't know where she was and was upset a lot of the time (she was 4 at the time and is now 5). We swapped to one full week at each parents home and she has settled into this really well. It has now been this arrangement for 6 months and everyone is a lot happier.

She is quite a bit older than your DS, but I would think that the longer periods of time might work better.

HTH

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