A recent study indicates that divorced couples can be better parents is they concentrate on their children instead of their relationship issues - a conclusion that many may have already guessed, but now has been validated.
The study - which will be published in Family Relations and is titled "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Divorced Mothers' Experiences with Co-parenting" - was conducted by examining the relationships of 20 different women who shared physical custody of their kids with their exes.
In a recent interview, one of the co-researchers of the study, Dr. Marilyn Coleman, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri, stated, "Conflict within a marriage or after a divorce is the most harmful thing parents can do for their children's development." Coleman continued, "If kids go through their parents' divorce, they've lost some access to both parents. If the parental fighting continues, the children have not only lost access, they're still involved in the conflict - in the ugliness - and it harms the kids."
According to the study, the women examined were split nearly down the middle - half had amicable relationships with their exes while the other half had poor relationships.
Moreover, the women who reported they were in good relationships with their exes stated that their former partners were not only responsible but that they communicated well with each other. Better communication led to easier reconciliation of differing parenting styles as well. Also, those women who reported good relationships with their exes did not try to restrict their child's ability to interact with the fathers.
Unfortunately, Coleman was quick to point out that just because parents share custody that does not guarantee good relationships - hard work by both parents is needed in co-parenting relationships.
Source: PshychCentral, "Focus on Kids Eases Conflict for Divorced Parents," Janice Wood, August, 16, 2012
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