Psych study shows less conflict for parents when focused on kids

In a study conducted at the University of Missouri by a professor of Human Development and Family Studies, research suggested that by focusing on the children rather than relationship problems, divorced parents can become better parents. The professor who oversaw the study noted that “conflict within a marriage or after a divorce is the most harmful thing parents can do for their children’s development,” emphasizing the need for cordial relationships between divorced parents for the good of their children.

By interviewing 20 women who shared custody, nearly half claimed their relationships with their exes were “contentious,” and the other half described the relationships as “amicable.” In contentious relationships, the interactions became more cordial over time, reportedly due to focus on the children, rather than on the relationship itself. By maintaining or developing a cordial relationship, divorced couples can create effective communication. In fact, women in amicable relationships reported communicating with the other parent frequently, utilizing texts, phone calls and emails.

By creating an environment of effective communication about parenting, divorced couples can discuss issues of money, transitioning between parents’ homes and other concerns. By maintaining or developing a co-parenting philosophy, divorced parents can support each other and their children despite their changed family status.

Shared custody does not ensure that the relationship will be amicable or well-functioning — that’s up to the parents to create. Co-parenting relationships require constant work on behalf of both parents, but is beneficial to the children both in the short-term of not being under the stress of the parents, and in the long-term.

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