There has been much debate over which type of child custody arrangement is the best for children after their parents have gone through a divorce. While many people believe that living with just one parent is the optimum choice, parents in California may be interested in learning about a recent study that found that children are less stressed when they share time with each parent after the divorce.
The Swedish study assessed the psychosomatic health problems of nearly 150,000 children of the ages of 12 and 15. These problems include stomachaches, headaches, sleep issues, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating as well as dizziness, stress and sadness. Among these children, 13 percent lived with one divorced parent, 19 percent split their time with each parent in separate households and the remainder lived with both parents in a nuclear family.
The researchers found that girls have more psychosomatic issues than boys, and their most frequent issue was sadness, while sleep issues were most common among all of the children. They also found that the children with the fewest psychosomatic issues lived in nuclear families, which was no surprise. An interesting finding was that children living with both parents in separate households had significantly fewer psychosomatic issues than those who lived in single-parent households.
This disrupts the general belief that constantly moving between two homes causes more stress on children. Rather, the researchers say that spending time with both parents is more important in relation to stress levels. While it provides for more consistency in parenting, it also provides the children with more resources such as material goods and family and social circles.
It is generally the goal of California courts to ensure that children continue to have relationships with both of their parents following divorces. Parents who are unable to agree on custody arrangements could try to work out their differences through mediation with the help of their attorneys.