Updated February 3, 2017
Bloodletting and What We Know Now
We have learned a lot about parenting and what is best for children over the years. We have also learned a lot about medicine and what does not work. Blood letting is a good example of what we don’t do any more. Bloodletting is an ancient medical treatment where blood is removed from a patient with the goal of curing or preventing ailments such as migraine headaches, smallpox, epilepsy, gout, and many more. It was commonly practiced around the world into the 19th century—but today, the harmful effects are well known and we have more effective methods to treat disease.
Many years ago, I had a conversation with a child who was in a shared-parenting situation. At the time the standard arrangement to ensure a strong home base was that children should have one home and visit the other parent’s house, where the child was more or less a guest. The value of fathers was not acknowledged as it is today, so of course Mom’s house was the home. This young person was adamant that he had two homes. He did not visit his father’s home; he lived in two places. He had two parents and was at home with both of them regardless of the percentage of time he spent in either place. It took me a while to wrap my head around this because it was different than the prevailing wisdom. I would come to understand that although the one-home idea was well intentioned, in situations with two well-functioning parents it was misguided. I am glad shared parenting has become the norm in our culture and grateful we understand that each parent provides a unique set of skills and adds a unique quality to a child’s life. Children need both parents and deeply feel the loss when one is absent from their lives.
Not so many years ago, fathers who insisted on equal time were considered selfish. That is as outdated as believing that bloodletting is the way to cure every disease. Both practices weaken a person who is already hurting and in need of extra care. It is the worst possible time to take away someone’s strength. Both children and adults often describe divorce with the phrase, “my world was destroyed.” When our world is destroyed we need as much encouragement as possible to rebuild it. Now that we know both parents are necessary in a child’s life, one of the most loving things a parent can do is nurture their child’s relationship with the other parent. Impeding a relationship with one parent takes vital energy from the child. There are, of course, exceptions to this when a parent would be considered unsafe, neglectful, or abusive. However, in the vast majority of situations where the home and relationship are safe and secure, it is best to support the relationship with the other parent.
For more information on how to handle conflicts in co-parenting you can find it in How to Deal with Parenting Conflicts When You are Not Together. For even more information you can find it in Peaceful Co-parenting Guide.
What are your thoughts on the concept of two-home kids?
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