Going through a divorce is not an easy process for anyone involved. While parents may be hashing out issues involving property division, child custody and alimony, children are often the unwilling participants of a marital separation. When children move from a traditional family home to a single-parent household, they may go through a myriad of emotions. Although each situation is different and comes with its own unique set of circumstances, studies show it may be beneficial for kids to spend a significant amount of time with both parents after the finalization of the divorce.
According to findings from more than 50 studies performed on children in joint-custody and sole-custody households, children raised in joint-custody situations have several advantages when compared to kids in sole-custody arrangements. Researchers found that children who spend a significant amount of time with both parents generally have:
- Higher self-esteem
- Fewer behavioral problems
- Better grades in school
- Completed higher levels of education
- Better family relationships
- Stronger social support groups
Researchers in these studies looked at kids in traditional family homes, joint-custody and sole-custody situations. Interestingly enough, they found that kids in joint-custody homes showed similar developmental and behavioral advantages as children raised with their family intact.
The thought is that each parent provides something of value to a developing child. While mothers provide a caring and nurturing environment, fathers often encourage children and then challenge them to try new things. When parents share custody of the children, they tend to have more positive interactions with one another. Not only is this beneficial for kids, but everyone involved. While a divorce may start out rocky and filled with strong emotions, parents may be able to get past those issues and work together for the benefit of children.