When the children of divorce are in their infant or toddler years, mothers often worry that joint custody arrangements will have a negative effect on their bonds with the children. According to a new study conducted by Arizona State University, young infants and toddlers benefit most when time is shared equally between mother and father.
The study’s authors found that infants and toddlers that spent overnight visits with mom as well as dad had better relationships with both parents in their young adult years. In fact, the more overnights spent with dad during those early years, the closer their relationship was during adolescence and adulthood. The study also found that the mother-child bond was not negatively affected by overnights with dad. The emotional and mental health of mothers with young children actually improved when the children spent overnights with dad. When the demands of early childhood are handled primarily by single mothers, the resulting stress and turmoil can lead to resentment and depression.
Time Spent with Infants and Toddlers Leads to Increased Confidence in Parenting
Fathers that assumed care for their infant and toddler children were more invested in their parenting, as they experienced firsthand what was required to care for a young child. Having to fend for themselves during times of illness or sleepless nights, and being directly responsible for meals, baths, laundry, and sleeping patterns helped fathers gain confidence in their parenting skills. This benefited the dads as well as the child through the school-age, teenage, and young adult years.
In the same respect, spending overnights with dad helps the child develop a deeper understanding of their father’s role in their lives, and helps them to become familiar with dad’s parenting style and personality. Acclimating to these aspects benefit both dad and child in the later years. Dads that understand their child’s unique personality and see it develop over the growing years can relate to them on a much more personal level as adults.
The study also found that the benefits of time spent with dad were not affected by the quality of the relationship between the parents. Court ordered child custody arrangements had the same benefits as mutually agreed upon arrangements. Positive outcomes to spending time with dad were also unaffected by unfriendly or stressful relationships between parents post divorce. Researchers concluded that adult children who had the best relationships with both parents spent equal time with them throughout their early childhood years.
Mendham Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Divorcing Couples Reach Amicable Child Custody Agreements
If you or someone you know is considering a divorce where children are involved, the experienced team of Mendham child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help you reach an amicable child custody agreement. Our compassionate lawyers are sensitive to the emotional aspects of child custody issues and work hard to help divorcing couples through the process with the least amount of stress possible.
Call us at 908-575-9777, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Somerset, New Jersey, offices serve clients throughout Somerset County, Morris County, and Union County as well as the towns of Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham, and Morristown.