Even though welcoming a baby into the family is an exciting time for many parents in Georgia, for some it is not enough to overcome conflict between parents. When a divorce is inevitable, creating a visitation schedule that allows strong attachments to develop between the infant and each parent is essential to healthy development. In the past, child custody arrangements tended to favor the mother in these situations. However, according to Psychology Today, it is just as important for the father of an infant to have visitation that includes overnight stays.
Experts used to believe that a child needed to form a primary attachment with the mother, and therefore should spend most of the first years with her. Now, researchers understand that not only is this theory incorrect, it can actually harm the child’s development. Denying the father adequate time with the infant can also affect his ability to form a close bond with the child and set the pattern for minimal involvement and a distant relationship in the future.
Psychology Today points out that recognizing the paternal relationship is in the best interests of the child may encourage mothers to offer or at least consent to overnight visits. After all, parents often have valuable opportunities to nurture a child during bedtime routines. Bath time, story time and nighttime soothing are examples of these. When a father is denied this important bonding time, the child’s overall well-being may be affected. Being able to cooperate on the parenting plan has the added benefit of reducing the child’s exposure to conflict, increasing the likelihood of a healthy bond with each parent.