Going through a divorce can be an emotional process, especially when there are children involved. Although parents may want to shield their children from experiencing the heartache of divorce, children are often the unwilling participants of a marital separation. Determining child custody may be one of the most difficult duties of the divorce process. While children may be used to living with both parents, it can be hard for children to adjust to a single-parent household. However, studies show the clear benefits of a joint-custody arrangment.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at children who were raised in joint-custody, single-parent and traditional family situations. Researchers found that kids who lived in joint-custody households had higher self-esteem, stronger family relationships and exhibited fewer emotional and behavioral problems. Furthermore, the difference of children living in a traditional family scenerio and a joint-custody family were minimal compared to that of a sole-custody situation.
Researchers explain that when children are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents, they tend to do better in school, form stronger social bonds and feel better about themselves. People who co-parent in these types of situations tend to carry a more positive relationship with one another, which can also benefit childrens’ development.
Children gain different skills from each parent. For example, mothers generally provide a safe and nurturing environment, while fathers encourage kids to explore their surrounds and be more independent. Parents should keep in mind that not all joint-custody situations may be beneficial for kids, especially when abuse is involved.