Even the most well-intentioned parents may disagree about their children’s parenting plan or visitation schedule; as part of a divorce, it is not uncommon for parents to fight for an extra hour or day simply to maximize their time with the children.
Long gone are the days when it was presumed that the mother will have sole custody of the children and that fathers only get to see them every other weekend. Joint custody is now the trend.
But is joint custody good for the children?
As noted in Time, a study conducted at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden, the answer is yes. Researchers studied the psychosomatic health problem of 150,000 12 and 15-year-old students (6th grade and 9th graders). According to the study, the children from intact families reported the fewest psychosomatic problems like sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, headaches, stomachaches and feeling tense, sad or dizzy.
Not surprisingly, the students who spent significant time with both of their parents, though separated, reported fewer symptoms than children who lived with only one parent. In other words, the children of parents who had sole custody had the most health issues.
Author of the study author Malin Bergström, noted:
Having everyday contact with both parents seems to be more important, in terms of stress, than living in two different homes. . . Having two parents also tends to double the number of resources a kid is exposed to, including social circles, family and material goods like money. . . Having access to half of that may make children more vulnerable or stressed than having it from both parents, even though they don’t live together.
While this is a small study in one foreign locality, it demonstrates that there is a direct correlation to having stable paternal relationships and a child’s mental health. Would you be willing to share residential custody of your children if it put them at ease, made them less tense and allowed them to sleep better?