US professor discusses parenting arrangements and children’s emotional security

US professor discusses parenting arrangements and children's emotional security

An American professor has discussed how parenting arrangements after separation affect the emotional security of the children.

William Fabricius, professor of psychology at Arizona State University, spoke to Shared Parenting Scotland in November last year. He explained the science behind the state of Arizona’s change in the law to support equal parenting after divorce or separation.

In the first of two videos, Professor Fabricius explains that unequal living arrangements cause a child to feel insecure. This has negative effects on that child’s stress response system. The release of stress hormones has harmful effects on physical and mental health not only immediately in childhood but into adult life.

Spending equal amounts of time with both parents buffers children against these threats to emotional security, even when there is still conflict between their parents.

Shared Parenting Scotland national manager, Ian Maxwell, said: “In Scotland it is a matter of law that the child’s interests are paramount. That must remain the test when parents separate. But the approach to assessing those interests in court and among professionals is limited and short term. We feel Professor Fabricius’s work which underpinned a radical change in the law In Arizona in 2013 shows the direction we should be travelling in Scotland.”

In the second video to be released next week Professor Fabricius explains how years of work by family court stakeholders – including judges, lawyers, academics and domestic violence organisations – worked together to bring about a radical change in the law and family court practice.

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