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Oct. 3, 2018-Infants and toddlers clearly benefit from father involvement.

No compelling evidence was found for the idea that children under four need or benefit from restrictions with parents who are loving and attentive. Warnings against infants and toddlers spending overnight time with each parent are inconsistent with what we know about the development of meaningful, positive parent-child relationships in the first few years of children’s lives.

Babies and toddlers need parents who respond consistently, affectionately, and sensitively to their needs. But infants and toddlers do not need, and most do not have, either parent’s full- time, round-the-clock presence. Many married mothers work night shifts that keep them away from their infants and toddlers at night without damaging their children’s secure attachment or their development. Given these observations, after the parents separate, most mothers should have no reason to worry about leaving their very young children in the father’s care. In fact, fathers who are more involved with their infants and toddlers become better parents and have better relationships with their children.

Better parent-child relationships, in turn, lead to better outcomes in other spheres of development, such as stress-related physical health, grades, mental health, and behavior.

Richard A. Warshak (2017), Stemming the Tide of Misinformation: International Consensus on Shared Parenting and Overnighting, Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, vol. 30, at pp. 184-185

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