Policy | Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting Survey: Results & Recommendations

SPResults_Cover Image_LRIn 2016, One Family devised and conducted Ireland’s first national Shared Parenting Survey in response to a lack of public debate and narrative around shared parenting in modern Ireland. Over one thousand women and men who share parenting, or who have attempted to, responded.

The results have been analysed, and we are pleased to now publish a report entitled Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting Survey: Results & Recommendations which can be read or downloaded by clicking on the image on the left.

Key findings include:

  • The majority of respondents whose child does not live with them most of time, spend time with their child on a weekly basis.
  • While almost 27% of respondents arranged this time amicably between them, for almost 51% it was agreed with difficulty, through mediation or court ordered.
  • 62% of respondents whose child lives with them most or all of the time stated that their child’s other parent contributes financially to their child’s costs; 38% stated that the other parent does not contribute financially.
  • Just over 50% of respondents stated that they do not make decisions jointly on issues that impact on their child(ren).
  • Over 34% of respondents have attended mediation.

One Family extends its sincere gratitude to each of the parents who took the time to share their personal experiences. This report draws directly from their survey responses and includes many of their comments. One Family believes that their honesty and openness will help to make Ireland a better place to share parenting in the future.

Positive Parenting for Changing Families | The Family Law System

During National Parents Week 2014 we’re asking, “What’s the important issue for you around positive parenting for changing families?” Watch this short video where Donagh McGowan, Solicitor and incoming Chair of the Law Society Family Law Committee and member of the Family Law Court Development Committee, talks about his important issue: how to address the failings of the current family law system.

Donagh was a speaker at our Positive Parenting for Changing Families Seminar on Tuesday 21 October in Dublin Castle. Other speakers included: Stella Owens, Centre for Effective Services, Chair of Special Interest Group on Supporting Parents; Helen Deely, Head of HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme; and Niall Egan, Jobseekers and One Parent Family Policy Section, Department of Social Protection. The panel was chaired by Dr Anne-Marie McGauran, NESC, and One Family Board member.


10 Ways to Positively Maintain Contact

For many parents sharing parenting after separation, one parent is the ‘primary carer’ and the other ‘non-resident’ or ‘contact’ parent, spends their time with their child at weekends and holidays. It can be challenging for parents in this situation, especially if trust has been broken, to put their feelings about their ex to one side. Remaining focused on the needs of your child is important. In time, a shared parenting relationship can become established where you can both share the positives of being parents.

As part of our ’10 Ways to …’ series of weekly parenting tips, here are our tips for non-resident/contact parents to positively maintain contact to help both parents to focus on keeping their child at the centre of parenting.

1. Once agreed: When you have managed to agree on contact, follow through.
2. Be on time: Timekeeping is crucial. The other parent can and will feel very disrespected if you are late and children can become very anxious and upset.
3. Turn up: This is your time with your child. It may not be exactly what you want but it’s what you have now. Turn up and be with your child. Nothing else should take its place. Rearrange other things – never your child!
4. Maintenance: Try to stick to all court orders and don’t give ammunition to the other parent. Some parents might use maintenance as a bargaining tool.
5. Plan your time: Make contact fun. It doesn’t have to cost much money. Make it child friendly and interact at a very high level with your child. You can rest later.
6. Involve your child: Plan with your child each week. Talk with them and ask them what they would like to do. Follow through.
7. Respect: Always speak well of the other parent even if you don’t feel it. They are your child’s parent and you can impact greatly on their ability to parent and in turn, your child’s well-being.
8. Be back on time: Again, respect the agreement. The resident parent can and will become very distressed even if the child is 5 minutes late.
9. Parent: When with your child be an active parent. Play with them, talk with them and have fun and laugh together.
10. Don’t quiz your child: It’s not your child’s job to keep you informed about the other parent. Talk about school, activities, their likes and dislikes. Talk with them as needed about why you can’t live with them all the time any more. They will seek explanations and want to understand their family form as they grow. No Blame! Children usually love both parents regardless of wrong doings, mind them and enjoy them. Don’t make life hard for them.

If you found this post useful, you might also like to read 10 Ways to Successful Shared Parenting. One Family offers a range of services to parents sharing parenting or parenting alone after separation. You can find out about them here. If you need support, information or advice, contact our lo-call askonefamily helpline on 1890 66 22 12 /

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Understand How Your Child May Feel and 10 Ways to Problem Solving.

One Family offers a range of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.

Parents arguing

10 Ways to Successful Shared Parenting

For many parents sharing parenting after separation, one parent is the ‘primary carer’ and the other spends their time with their child at weekends and holidays. As part of our ’10 Ways to …’ series of weekly parenting tips, here are our suggestions on minimising stress and helping both parents to focus on keeping the child at the centre of parenting.

10 Ways to Successful Shared Parenting

  1. You will always be parents: no matter what happened in the adult relationship you will both still be the parents of your child. Allow each other to parent.
  2. Move on: get support to deal with what happened in the adult relationship and move on to a relationship which is focused on parenting your children.
  3. Communicate: it is not possible for you both to parent unless you work out how to both feel safe in communicating with each other.
  4. Parenting Agreement: work with professionals (such as our trained staff at One Family or other professional organisations) and get support to develop a parenting agreement.
  5. Respect: respect each other as parents of your child. Talk positively about the other parent to your child.
  6. Support your child: listen to your child, support them to have a relationship with both parents. They have a right to safe contact with both parents.
  7. Talk: allow your child to talk about how they feel. What is life like for them? Just listen and acknowledge what they are saying and how they are feeling
  8. Involve family: with very young children it is hard to let them go on contact visits. Try to have friends and family support you both until you feel confident the parent can manage. They may just need experience.
  9. Conflict: do not get into arguments in front of your child. Don’t talk about maintenance or other issues at handover times. Plan a time to talk when the child is not present and the impact will not affect your parenting later that day.
  10. Keep your child at the centre: it’s your child’s contact not yours. Support them to have it and to own it. Seek professional support to help with your feelings and anxieties over contact.

In cases where there is addiction, domestic violence or other similar challenges, please seek professional support before engaging in contact.

One Family offers a course to help people sharing parenting which you can find out about here. Yesterday we wrote about Coping with the End of a Relationship. You can also find additional One Family supports here or call our askonefamily helpline on lo-call 1890 662 212.

This episode of ’10 Ways to …’ was compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Enjoy School Breaks and 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training.