Divorce means change, and one of the major adjustments many people navigating their way through divorces must grapple with is spending less time with their children than they might have in the past. If this describes your own circumstances, you may find yourself struggling to adapt to a new joint custody arrangement. It may make things easier, however, if you begin to understand that spending time in the homes of both you and your child’s other parent can have positive effects on your son or daughter’s development and wellbeing.
According to Time, children of divorce who have parents who share custody tend to fare better in many areas when compared against children of divorce who live with just one parent. Just how can your child benefit from you and your former partner sharing custody over him or her?
Fewer psychosomatic and health problems
Researchers who examined the cases of about 150,000 kids in either the sixth or ninth grades found that children who came from two-parent homes, or “nuclear families,” typically had the fewest psychosomatic issues of all. Their analysis also revealed, however, that kids whose parents had joint custody arrangements were less susceptible to such issues and hardships than their peers who lived exclusively with just one parent.
More specifically, children of divorce whose parents shared custody were less likely to struggle with feelings of sadness, and they were also less likely to experience regular headaches or stomachaches than other children who had divorced parents. Kids whose parents had joint custody over them were also less likely to struggle with concentration, sleep or eating issues.
There are several possible explanations for why children of divorce whose parents share custody tend to fare better than their peers who live with one parent or the other. First, kids who spend time in the homes of both parents may have better access to material goods, extended family members and so on, which may make them less likely to experience stress, food insecurity or related hardships. Second, maintaining strong relationships with both parents can have positive effects on self-confidence and self-esteem, which in turn can have a positive impact on a child’s overall wellbeing.
It is not always easy adjusting to spending less time with your children, but next time you feel down about it, remember that it may be helping your child in more ways than you know.