Nights with dad after divorce ‘good for children’

Children|February 3rd 2017

Children who regularly stay overnight with their father after a divorce have better relationships with their mothers.

This suggestion was made by researchers from Arizona State University following a survey for more than 100 college students who were children of divorce. Each participant was asked about their relationships with their parents, who were also surveyed. However they were asked about how their child’s time was divided between them and their former spouse.

While some previous research had suggested that increased time spent with the father would damage the relationship between a child and their mother, this study contradicted this notion. In fact, children who had a lot of overnight stays with their father had better relationships with their mothers as a result.

Lead author William Fabricius is an associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University (ASU). He said that an even time split between parents was beneficial for fathers because they and their children “learn about each other, and [the time together] provides a foundation for their future relationship”. It was also good for mothers as it gave them a regular break from the stress of being a single parent.

These findings appear to support the results of 2015 research from the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden. After an analysis of nearly 150,000 children who were either 12 or 15 years old, the team found that children who lived with both parents were significantly better off than those who came from a single parent household. This was based on the rate of problems such as sleep trouble, stress and headaches among those surveyed.

The ASU study was published in the latest edition of academic journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law.

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