By Michael Ochoa
Children can be well-adjusted and happy regardless of the marital status of their parents. Numerous studies have shown that a large majority of children of divorce do not have significant lasting negative impacts on their grades, social skills or self-esteem when they have 2 involved parents.
Children do not need married parents to be happy
Numerous studies have shown that emotional stability means more to children than the marital status of their parents.
In a large study published in 2012, Michael Lamb, a psychology professor and child development expert at Cambridge University, examined thousands of studies on childhood adjustment after divorce. After analyzing four decades of research, Professor Lamb concluded that:
- Children do better with both parents active in their lives, whether those parents are married or not;
- Emotional stability is the most important aspect of parenting post-divorce; and
- Children do not need the most expensive toys or parents who compete to buy the best gifts. They just need food, shelter and a safe and loving home.
High-conflict can be difficult for children
A comprehensive study in 2010 found that children whose parents argued and fought excessively had lower grades and more substance abuse issues.
This does not mean parents can never argue. Nor does it mean a parent should fail to stand up for their rights during a divorce. But it is clear from the research that both parents, if possible, should be active and involved in the lives of their children and never give up hope.
Divorce and post-divorce parenting strategies
In response to these and similar studies, Illinois recently modified the legal terminology associated with divorce and parenting. Instead of custody and visitation, family courts now decide "parental-decision making" and "parenting time." These changes in terminology are just one aspect of a comprehensive overhaul family law that became effective in the state beginning in 2016.
With the above research and changes to the law in mind, consider these tips for a parenting plan post-divorce:
- Work on a stable co-parenting routine
- Work on ways to minimize conflict
- Have both parents play an active role in parenting
- Do not try to out-gift the other parent
- Do not talk negatively about the other parent to children
Questions about divorce and parenting time?
If you have questions about your divorce and how it may affect your time and parental rights regarding your children, contact The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd., the nationally-recognized divorce and family law attorneys, to discuss your legal options and rights.