Adjusting to a joint-custody arrangement can prove difficult for the entire family. While you have to adapt to spending time without your child, your child has to adjust to life in two homes along with everything that comes with it. While you may at times feel as if you are doing your child a disservice by forcing him or her to shuffle back and forth between homes regularly, you may, in fact, be doing what is best for his or her emotional well-being.
Per Time, a recent study on the living arrangements of children of divorced parents revealed that kids who spent time living with both of their divorced parents fared better emotionally than those who lived with only one parent.
By the numbers
The study, which involved about 150,000 kids between the ages of 12 and 15, assessed a variety of areas relating to physical and mental health and well-being. It indicated that children who spent time living in the homes of both parents were less likely to report feeling tense or depressed than those living exclusively in single-parent homes. It also revealed that kids whose parents had joint-custody arrangements were less likely to suffer headaches, stomachaches or loss of appetite, and they were also less likely to report having trouble sleeping or paying attention.
There are several theories about why kids who spend time living with both parents tend to fare better emotionally and physically than those raised by just one parent. Some attribute the difference to the fact that children raised by both parents tend to have access to twice as many resources, from material possessions to extended family or friend networks. Parents who have their children in their homes at least some of the time, meanwhile, are more likely to be able to fully engage and form strong bonds with their children than parents whose children never share the same roof.
Every family is different, so it is important to keep in mind that while joint-custody arrangements offer many benefits, they may not be appropriate in all circumstances.