Years ago, mothers were granted sole or primary custody in divorce. This was because they were thought to be the more “important” parent. Of course, it is true that a mother’s role is crucial in terms of child development, but their involvement and presence does not outweigh that of fathers. In fact, there are reams of studies proving just how important fathers are for a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. Thankfully, courts have started to listen, and the rights of fathers are slowly gaining more acknowledgement and recognition. This movement – the shared parenting movement – has only further shown that, when it comes to raising children, two parents really are better than one.
Why Children Really Should Have Both Parents
Somewhere along the way, someone noticed that children were suffering from the lack of parental involvement. They started studying it, trying to figure out why and how the involvement of fathers was so important. What they found is that each parent – be it a dad and a mom, two moms, or two dads – offers something different to a growing child. One parent might be more nurturing while the other is more playful. In fact, one study indicated that mothers are more likely to socially engage with their children, which helps their children understand how their actions affect others. Dads are more likely to engage in physical play, which teaches children how to handle their bodies (i.e. discouraging hitting).
There have been other studies, too, that show just how important dads really are. For example, one found that fathers who read to their children are actually more influential in the language development of their child, and others have found that children who have a loving and involved father are more likely to excel in school. Engaged fathers have even been connected to a lower rate of depression in children. None of this discounts the importance of the mother. If anything, it just indicates that a child needs each parent for different stages and situations.
Protecting Your Rights as a Father
Sadly, there are still cases in which the father’s importance is discounted. Many still only receive the traditional weekend visits, which sets them up for the “vacation parent” effect. This is a situation in which the parent with the least amount of parenting time is seen as less of an authority figure, and more of a friend. Even the parent themselves may be inclined to do only fun stuff when the child comes to visit, possibly because they simply want to enjoy what time they do have with their child. In the end, this can have a negative impact on their children because they miss out on the important developmental lessons and benefits that the “vacation parent” might have otherwise been able to offer.
To ensure this does not happen to you or your family, contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC, where your child’s best interests takes precedence. We know that having your involvement is beneficial to your child, and we will protect your role and rights as a father. Our DuPage County family law attorneys will fight to help you get the parenting time and allocation of parental responsibility ruling that you deserve. Call us at 630-932-9100 and schedule your free initial consultation today.
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