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Considerations When Determining Parenting Arrangements for Young Children


The developmental stages of children should be considered when determining parenting arrangements that are in their best interests. In particular, young children may not cope well with the absence of one of their parents to reassure them, particularly if they have a primary attachment to that parent. This, compounded with being placed in a new environment or into a different parenting regime, can be distressing for them.

Social science studies confirm that it is important to introduce change to young children in the comfort of people to whom they are attached. This could mean time initially take place with the primary carer being present, or the primary carer facilitating changeover. Depending on the dynamic of the separating parents, this however may not be suitable. The quality of time between the young child and the other parent may not proceed well if the child yearns for the primary carer or the parent with whom the child is spending time with feels they are being closely monitored. If the young child has an older sibling present, it is likely to lessen the stress to the young child of being away from their primary carer, feeling they are not alone.

Infants have limited capacity to settle themselves when feeling anxious or distressed. However, if change is introduced to them in small “baby steps”, then their ability to cope in that new parenting arrangement or environment is likely to improve and progress over time. For illustrative purposes, if a parent did not ordinarily undertake much of the parenting responsibilities due to them working long hours outside the family home, then the young child may need to spend frequent but relatively short periods of time with the child initially to enable the child to become more confident to spend extended periods of time with that parent.

If you require advice with regards to how your child will cope with any change in parenting arrangements, please give one of our experienced Family Law team a call to discuss.

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Written by Kate Marr on July 22, 2017

She has a passion for helping people with their family law problems. She has special expertise in complex financial matters where her commerce background provides her with an an advantage in dealing with cases involving hidden assets, non-disclosure, overseas assets and family businesses. View Kate's profile


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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100