Study: Joint-parenting may be best for kids

Going through a divorce can be an emotional process, especially when there are kids involved. Children may go from living with the emotional and financial support of both parents, to residing in a single-parent household. Furthermore, they may get limited to no time with their other parent. A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that children who are raised in joint-custody situations may experience benefits when compared to children who reside in sole-custody arrangements.

During the study, researchers looked at children in sole-custody, joint-custody and in-tact family arrangements. They found that kids who were raised in joint-custody had a higher self-esteem, exhibited fewer behavioral problems and had stronger family relationships than those who were brought up in sole-custody households. In addition, kids who are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents did better in school and had better careers. It may be because parents in joint-custody situations generally have a better parenting relationship, which causes less stress for the children.

Researchers explain that children need both a mother and father while growing up, as each parent supports the child differently. Fathers encourage children to take risks, explore and try new things, while giving them a safe foundation.  Mothers, however, are caring, nourishing and provide a sense of comfort. Spending time with both parents allows children to gain a sense of well-being and benefit from the support of both parents, even if their parents are not married.

A metanalysis conducted by the Father Involvement Research Alliance found that kids who have involved fathers showed less aggression, more self-direction and were able to form more solid relationships with others.

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