Joint parenting and equality to many is a pipe dream post separation/divorce – a reality that is kept from them despite their suitability to parent their children and the overwhelming love that they have for their offspring. The internet is littered with the bitter recriminations of both men and women who feel the system has deprived them of their basic human rights to bring up (or at least share bringing up) their children and a gender battle rages in many quarters where men swear that women have taken their children away from them whilst women swear that men have equally done the same. In essence here the only equality that seems to be in situ is the propensity for the sexes to debate and argue, to blame and to attack each other with equal venom and the perspectives of each parent are often not awarded the altitude view that they deserve but essentially manifest from pole positions set far apart with little appreciation for the others opinion, feelings or situation.
Essentially this may be part of human nature (maybe not a very pleasant part) and the broad scale of values and standards that we either share or dispute with our fellow kind. The bruises and wounds of a separation and divorce cut deep and last long but importantly and critically so do the lashings of two parents at war when it comes to nurturing the young lives that these people not only have brought into the world but also have a responsibility to lead forward to adulthood and beyond. Children do not want to be the pawns on the chess board, trading their emotional life just so that one parent can check-mate the other. They do not want to be treated like stock that can be traded or like the lolly that rewards the other for good behaviour where some parents allow access when the goings good and it ceases when disagreements occur. They do not want to be embroiled in the nastiness but want to be embodied in the love of both parents that have bought them into the world. They want to be protected, to be cared for and to be taken from dependency to independency by adults that put them first and foremost in every sense and treat people with dignity and respect.
Sadly though for so many this is simply not the reality that they are presented with. Parents bicker, relationships are broken and ties are severed between not only the divorcing parents but the children of these parents. The balance of equality is tipped and with it the scales of justice – not in legal terms necessarily but in terms of the justice that these children deserve. The paradigms of love, respect and responsibility are lost and with it another generation is cursed and left to forge their way in a world that has not shown them these examples which are the cornerstone of relationships, life and daily living.
So essentially when Tim Loughton, the children’s minister in the UK, recently said “we need to clarify and restore public confidence that the courts properly recognise the joint nature of parenting,” and the fact that the current government intends to “legislate to stress the importance of children having an on-going relationship with both their parents after separation, where that is safe and in the child’s best interests.” the scales of equality, where children’s rights are once again heralded, were tipped towards the right direction. The key question however, remains how and when this will be accomplished. We live in a society where primeval fighting over children as though they are a commodity should cease and where the emotional ride that becomes a rollercoaster in these situations should be addressed so that understanding, compassion and equality are the overriding factors. These are the issues that need addressing and no less so respecting the emotional and psychological factors at play as well as the historical relationships and previous family dynamics that may or may not have played their part.
Parenting in the 21st century is a joint venture – a creative, wonderful and inspiring journey that both parents should embrace in an equal, respectful and responsible manner so that tomorrow’s children will be able to love, to respect and to be responsible in a holistic, all rounded, free and healthy way. It starts with shelving selfish agendas and progresses by embracing altitude views that serve the children first and foremost, where personal vendettas are put on hold and where children can continue to enjoy the wholesome and loving attention of both parents.