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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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For a child born out of wedlock where the parents agree that

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For a child born out of wedlock where the parents agree that the father will only visit periodically (ultimately every other weekend, though currently weekend visits are not possible since the mother is with her other children on weekends) is it better to start this schedule right away so that the child does not experience any sense of loss or abandonment when this biweekly schedule kicks in, or is it better for the father to visit more often early on to establish a bond with the infant first, then drop the visits to biweekly later? Because weekend visits are not possible at the moment, what would be the correct weekday visitation pattern during this temporary period?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using!

I'd recommend the father be involved early on as much as possible to establish that bond. There is a lot of research out there (attachment theory) regarding the importance of establishing positive relationships with caregivers during infancy. Making that connection early will help the child to establish trust for that caregiver or for his father to learn early on what does / does not work for him as far as parenting techniques. What works for you may not always work for him and vice versa (e.g., how to soothe a crying baby). Best for you both to figure those things out for yourselves. I would recommend as the child gets older, however, to make sure that you're on the same page when it comes to important things that deserve consistency (household rules, discipline, etc.) Making that transition later to an every other weekend schedule will be easier if it's done slowly.

There really is no "correct" visitation patter. My only recommendation would be that the child isn't bounced back and forth every day, but also isn't separated from one parent or the other for too long. I realize this can be a tall order. Here is a nice article that provides some creative suggestions for age-appropriate visitation schedules and tells a little more about the attachment theory I mentioned earlier:

I wish you the best of luck!
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