Why Should Parenting Time Be Considered a Parent's Obligation to a Child?

In most court cases, the parents, or the Judge, decide that ongoing and continuing contact with both parents is in the best interests of the children. What happens when continuing contact is not maintained by one parent, however?

Florida law does not require parents to exercise their parenting time. However, studies have shown that inconsistent contact with one parent may be detrimental to the children. There are some people that believe parenting time should be a parent’s obligation, not a right that they can choose to ignore.

Why should parenting time be a parent’s obligation to a child?

Inconsistent contact can lead the child to experience psychological problems due to the ongoing feelings of disappointment when parenting time is cancelled. The child may also blame their primary parent as the reason for the inconsistent contact with the other parent.

There are a number of reasons why a parent may not exercise parenting time. If the reason is emotional, the parents should seek further counseling and education to address the lingering emotions. If the reason is due to geography, work schedule, or remarriage, the parents should consider modifying the parenting schedule to be more realistic taking into account the existing restrictions.

How Can We Prevent Child Abuse?

Does a week go by without news of some sort of child abuse? It certainly seems like there’s an abusive incident every week.

This past week, my hometown news agencies reported about a 19-year-old man having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl. It appears the girl agreed to have sex and considered the man her boyfriend. How did this adult male believe that his behavior was acceptable? Where are the girl’s parents or guardian?

Other types of abuses are even more common. The abuses include fatalities, neglect, physical injuries, and psychological damage.

How can we prevent child abuse?

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since 1974, there has been federal legislation intended to support communities in providing programs and services to protect children and strengthen families. In 1982, Congress made a further commitment to identifying and implementing solutions to child abuse by proclaiming National Child Abuse Prevention Week. The next year, the proclamation became a month-long period of recognition.

During April, we can all focus on abusive behavior and stamping out all forms of abuse. Here are some ideas:

• Educate families on preventing abuse and neglect
• Promote positive parenting
• Volunteer for a Guardian ad Litem program and other agencies focused on representing children’s interests
• Mentor a child through an organization like Big Brothers, Big Sisters
• Support child welfare advocates and child abuse legislation