Father-Child Relationship is Strengthened by Equal Overnight Time.
Parents Have Better Relationships With Their Children Under Equal Overnight Time
Couples with children who end up divorcing know that parenting time is often a source of contention. Historically, mothers were often awarded more time with the children, especially when it came to overnights.
However, new research may make these types of arrangements a thing of the past.
A recent study published in the American Psychological Association Journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law, Vol 23(1), Feb 2017, 68-84.that young children who spend equal overnight time with both divorced parents have better relationships with them in the future. Click here to read the study.
William V. Fabricius and Go Woon Suh surveyed students whose parents divorced or separated before they were 2 years old.
The results showed that the more equal overnight time the child spent with the parent at a young age, the better their relationship was as they got older. Researchers also found that spending the night was especially critical when the child was a toddler, as no number of overnights later-on could compensate for the bond established at this age.
Previous research seemed to indicate that the relationship between the mother and child was more important than that between the child and father. In addition, these older studies concluded that spending too much time with Dad could actually hurt mother-child relationship. As a result, it was not uncommon for the argument to be made that it was in the child’s best interest to spend a majority of the time with their mother.
Equal Overnight Time Study Reveals Surprising Results For Dads And Their Children
Fabricus and Suh’s new study, however, reaches a different conclusion. Instead, they argue that equal overnight time with Dad doesn’t hurt the mother-child relationship, but rather it strengthens. Being able to give Mom a break from the stress of single parenting helps her physical and mental state and provides a much-needed rest and recharge period. In addition, in a statement by the authors, they claim that the father-child relationship is strengthened by equal time with both parents as the father is then able to learn how to take of their child during the infant/toddler stage which provides the intimate bond needed to foster a healthy relationship in the future. Click here to read the study.
It is yet to be seen if this new research will help to get Dads the equal parenting time they so often are denied. But regardless of the impacts this new equal overnight time study may have, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, children need time with both Mom and Dad equally!
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.