Read the news coverage and op-eds about our Shared Parenting Report Card at the links below:
By Ginger Gentile, Deputy Executive Director
January 17, 2020 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors
In my last piece, I criticized Danish historian Mikael Jalving’s piece in Quillette entitled “Scandinavia: Can the New Parental Team Replace Marriage?” (Quillette, 1/2/20) I did so because of his strange conclusion that shared parenting (and the scientific evidence supporting it) is dangerous because it encourages divorce. Needless to say, he cited no evidence for the proposition.
Nor did he mention that, in the U.S. at least, we know from Margaret Brinig and Douglas Allen’s work that it’s precisely the prospect of sole parenting that encourages divorce. The two researchers found that women tend strongly to file for divorce because they know that the sole-parenting custom by judges means they know they won’t lose their kids. If anything, that suggests that equal parenting would tend to discourage divorce filings.
As I said in my last piece, people divorce, whether Jalving likes it or not. Given that, surely public policy should be informed by the science on children’s welfare when their parents split up. And that science points directly to shared parenting. It’s an obvious point that Jalving missed due to his antipathy for government interference in families.
I of course share that antipathy, at least to an extent, and Jalving makes some important points about the relationship between families and governments. I’ve been studying and writing about families, children, parents and family law for over two decades now and my strong take on the subject Jalving raises is that governments are poor substitutes for parents. They prove it every day.
January 14, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Shared parenting is once again under fire, this time from here (Quillette, 1/2/20). It’s a curious piece, part inexcusable ignorance and part pithy questions about the uneasy interface between the state and the family.
Danish historian Mikael Jalving has read Malin Bergström’s book, Divorcing with Children: Parents in Two Homes. The problem seems to be that, as to shared parenting, that’s all he’s read.
Bergström of course is one of the most important researchers into family structure and child well-being. Her massive studies of Swedish families indicate that equal parenting is the second-best arrangement for kids, the first being intact biological families. The good news is that, as other researchers have shown, Swedes are taking to equal parenting like no other parents in the world.
“In Sweden, [Joint-Parent Custody] has become as common as living mostly with the mother after parents separate. The proportion of Swedish children in JPC was about 1 percent of children with separated parents in the mid-1980s, but is now between 35 percent and 40 percent. Of all children between 12 and 15 years of age, 1 in 10 are in JPC…Indeed, for 3-year-old children, JPC is nearly twice as common as SPC [Single-Parent Custody], at least among Swedish-born and well-educated parents…”
I call that the good news because clearly Swedish parents, partly in the spirit of gender equality and partly for the good of the kids, have embraced equal parenting. But it’s not good news to Jalving. Why? He’s suspicious of equal parenting arrangements because, according to him, they encourage divorce or what he calls “guilt-free” divorce. He of course offers no support for his claim. Has the divorce rate gone up after the inauguration of shared parenting legislation in Sweden? If it has, he doesn’t mention it.