Young people’s experience of shared parenting

Jamie Wark who is this year’s student intern with Shared Parenting Scotland explains how he will be studying young people’s experience of shared parenting.

I have just completed the third year of my undergraduate honour’s psychology degree at Glasgow University and I am really excited to be working with Shared Parenting Scotland on a project that I am very passionate about.

This opportunity was brought to me through the Robertson’s Trust, an organisation that funds scholars with recognised academic potential from disadvantaged backgrounds to enable them to complete their studies without financial burden.  The Robertson’s Trust have supported me greatly throughout my time at university and without them it would not be possible to have access to these opportunities.

I was immediately drawn to Shared Parenting Scotland as I myself have lived through a parental breakup from a very young age and I believe that Shared Parenting Scotland provide extremely valuable support that would have helped me and my parents greatly in my own situation.  Furthermore, through my years of psychology, I have been very interested in learning more about factors influencing human development.

I have done previous work investigating the developmental effects of traumatic experience on the social identity of children, which was an extremely interesting experience.  I have a large collection of literature surrounding the importance of a healthy development for children, and I feel as though the most important aspect within this demographic is the accessibility of information.  Many individuals don’t realise the long-term benefits of a healthy relationship with both parents, as they don’t have access to the evidence.

For this reason, I will be working hard over the summer to create a report investigating previous literature from both sides of the shared parenting argument, as well as gathering experiences of young people who have lived under shared parenting, to allow the reader to come to an informed conclusion as to why shared parenting is so essential to enable healthy development.

In some other European countries, the courts are far more likely to consider ordering shared parenting  and equal involvement of both parents after separation is the norm. This significantly increases the levels of shared parenting, providing healthier outcomes for their children.

The aim for my project is to provide evidence from the young people themselves on the advantages of shared parenting.  Shared Parenting Scotland do a great job of providing empirical evidence to support their claims and my overall goal during this internship is to help them encourage and support more parents to agree to work together for the sake of their children after separation.

I have launched a survey for young people on their experiences of parenting, which has been circulated to Glasgow psychology students and I’d be really grateful if other young people (under 25) will complete it – here is the link.

I hope to be able to present the results of my study at the next meeting of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Shared Parenting.  In the mean time I will write on this site about some key studies on shared parenting.