Children living with both parents ‘have better mental health’

shared parenting

Children who spend equal time with both parents following divorce or separation have better mental health than other children, a new study suggests.

A team of researchers examined data relating to 3656 Swedish children between the ages of three and five years. Some were living with both their parents in an intact family; some in shared care arrangements; and others (the majority) with single parents – perhaps seeing their other parent occasionally.

They concluded that youngsters who spent equal time with both parents in intact families or shared care arrangements were less likely to develop psychological problems than their peers living with single parents – in spite of previous concerns that moving from household to household in a shared care arrangement could affect children’s mental health. They were a number of possible reasons for this link, the team suggested.

“Possibly, the child’s access to two involved parents may instead be more important for children’s psychological well-being than the problems associated with moving between homes. Having an involved father has been shown, in numerous studies, to be especially important for children’s mental health and development.”

Another possibility, they said, was a reduction in family stress because the other parent was present and sharing the load.

“… both parents might experience less parenting stress by being able to better balance work and parenting duties and recuperate, due to being child-free every other week. Less stress along with more designated child time could lead to better parenting practices and more engagement in activities with the child, promoting the child’s development and well-being.”

The study appeared in the academic journal Acta Paediatrica.

Image by StephenMitchell via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

View more from this author

2 comments

Paul - September 14, 2017 at 12:34pm

Ive read loads of these studies. All come to the same conclussion. Yet Courts keep on removing daddys from the lives of kids. Whats the point of these studies if we do not use the information to improve our society model ? – does this mean courts are complicite in child abuse, harming the mental well being of thousands of kids by dennying them contact with their father figure.
Its pretty clear what I think. What do you think ?
Hard to come to any other conclussion I think.

Margaret Ellis - September 27, 2017 at 3:23pm

I believe that where there is conflict between the parties and allegations of domestic abuse, there should be a type of Comprehensive School facility open to the absent parent to meet with there child at weekends. There would be all types of facilities there for them to utilise, swimming, outdoor sports, cinema type room, cafeteria. They could use trainee teachers, childminders and social workers, nurses etc to monitor and make reports. Have an onsite psychologist who can see for themselves how the parent and child REALLY are together. After a successful period of time contact can then move on. I have witnessed first hand the damage that parental alienation does to both the parent and the child. It is ridiculous that parents are allowed to meet new partners and have who THEY like around their child yet the absent parent is refused or has restricted contact!! Unless there is proven harm to the child by the parent contact should NEVER be stopped altogether.

Leave a comment