Shared Parenting is the future

We are living in a society with global change, full information and new technology that affects the work-life balance in our society. We no longer can decide, who is the best student, employee, manager, prime minister, president - or parent - just by looking at gender.

Gender equality in work, education and family life is a new reality, but we have to understand it and learn how to live with it in our society. In education, most developed countries have progressed positively offering equal opportunities for boys and girls. In the workplace, we are seeing more and more female leaders in business and politics. That is positive.  

However, in family life we are living in a shared parenting world with single parenting law for historical and cultural reason. This is no longer in the best interest of the child, families, organizations and our society. 

The family law - beyond any doubt - is today in most western world countries violating the UN Children Convention article 2, 3 and 7 [1] as well as the European Human Rights convention articles 6, 8, 14 and 17 [2] . 

The documentation and formula is simple:

+ New shared parenting research
+ Human Right Conventions
+ The World’s first Gender Equality catalog for children and fathers 

= Government responsibility for shared parenting law reforms

The research on children’s health and real-life in the Nordic countries today documents that shared parenting is in the best interest of the child. This is due to increased social relations with more love from two parents, more quality time with both parents, a better contact to all the grandparents and a larger social family. In addition, reasons can be more holidays, better children financing and a clearer identity of man and woman – and most importantly all together less stress in traditional families and families using shared parenting with equal time at both parents.

An example of this research is from Sweden[3], where children health data from all 200.000 children in the age of 12-15 has been, analyzed related to psychological symptoms and family forms. The reality and research illustrate that the social relations are of major importance for children, not just the positive collaboration between parents or the financial situation. Children is simply, less stressed in society.

International research

A review of the international shared parenting research
[4] also concludes that shared parenting and equal time with parents is in the best interest of the child, as the general rule, even in both conflict and non-conflict families. First, children that spends equal parenting time fare as well as or better than, those in maternal residence - especially in terms of the quality and endurance of their relationships with their fathers.

Secondly, the research documents that “parents do not have to be exceptionally cooperative, without conflict, wealthy, and well educated, or mutually enthusiastic about sharing the residential parenting for the children to benefit. Third, young adults who have lived in these families say this arrangement was in their best interest—in contrast to those who lived with their mothers after their parents’ divorce.

Fourth, most industrialized countries, is undergoing a shift in custody laws, public opinion, and parents’ decisions - a shift toward more shared residential parenting. With the research serving to inform us, we can work together more effectively and more knowledgeably to enhance the well-being of children whose parents are no longer living together.” 

Human Rights

The aim of the human rights conventions is to protect all children and parents against discrimination by gender and other factors such as the family forms. The conventions also state that all children have the rights to know and be cared for by its parents and that all citizens have the right to respect of family life.

All citizens have, the right to be able to try their legal rights as citizen in due time and no country that apply by the UN Convention of the child and the Human Rights Conventions can make law and practices that are violating the conventions. The human right conventions combined with the shared parenting research is simply in direct conflict with the current family law and practices in most western world and developed countries today.

The World’s first’ gender equality catalog for children and fathers [5] has been created in Denmark, to illustrate the many specific areas in law and practices that are not in the best interest of children in the modern society.  

The gender equality catalog includes 348 examples divided into 12 themes based on several years of analysis of family law and practices in Denmark. However, it seems from discussions with shared parenting organizations, researchers and experts in more than 25 countries based on the catalog, that the examples applies for many or all western world and developed countries today.

Hopefully the gender equality catalog for children and fathers can be an inspiration for the United Nations and international governments, researchers, educators, experts, politicians and media for a better understanding of the gender equality challenge towards the UN global goals. 

Yours Sincerely,
Jesper Lohse, MBA & Nordic Father

  • Chairman of the Danish Fathers Association founded in 1977
  • Chairman of the Nordic Equality Council
  • ICSP Board Member

[1] UN Convention of the Child: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx 
[2] European Convention on Human Rights: https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf
[3] Malin Bergstrøm, Karolinska Institute, Sweden 2017, http://www.foreningenfar.dk/karolinska-instituttet
[4] Linda Nielsen, Wake Forrest University, 2011 USA,  http://www.acfc.org/acfc/assets/documents/research_pdf's/Nielsen_SP_Nov_2011.pdf
[5] Jesper Lohse, World Parents Organization, 2018,  http://files.builder.nu/57/c7/57c7d4c6-67e5-475f-8ee4-d5f697121bfa.pdf