Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Demands for equal treatment between divorced parents may not be fair for the children

20.12.2004


As thousands of divorced and separated parents decide where their children will spend this Christmas, an ESRC-funded study into post divorce family life shows that fairness and equality between fathers and mothers may end up being unfair on the youngsters.

The Fathers 4 Justice movement, whose ‘Xmas Demo’ takes place on Saturday (December 18), is among those calling for family law to adopt a principle of pure equality between parents. Its members, with support from Bob Geldof, and organisations such as the Equal Parenting Council, demand that on divorce or separation, children should be shared equally.

But research by Dr. Bren Neale and Dr. Jennifer Flowerdew, of the University of Leeds, shows that children who spend an equal amount of time in two homes are not necessarily better off than those with one. Dr Neale said: “The principle of parental equality fails to take into account how young people experience these arrangements. Where shared residence is built on rivalry or, even worse, ‘war’ between the parents, then children can be considerably worse off than those living in one place.”



According to the study, children may become pawns in their parents’ disputes and endure a running battle that they carry with them between the two homes. Dr Neale added: “They may also suffer from a ‘surfeit’ of parenting: they may find themselves ‘trapped’ by the demands of over-needy or over-controlling parents, that prevent them from gradually taking charge of their own time and space as they grow up.”

Changing a shared homes arrangement can be hard for young people. If shared residence is justified on the grounds that it is ‘fair’, then any attempt to alter it is seen as ‘unfair’. It can become so entrenched that young people find it hard to escape, even after they have left home to go to college or university.

Instead of simplistic notions of equality, what is needed is a flexible approach that is respectful of young people and responsive to their changing needs as they grow up, the research says.

The study team carried out follow up interviews with 60 children and young people who had been interviewed three to four years previously. They found that young people can thrive under a variety of contact and residence arrangements, depending on how these are handled and how far children are respected by their parents.

Shared residence can work well when based on good quality relationships, where it is flexible and if parents are prepared to ‘let go’ of their children as they grow towards independence. It is less successful when rigidly enforced and designed to meet the needs of the parents rather than the children. Christmas is, of course, a time, which reflects and symbolises the quality of family life. These are comments from young people in the study:

“One year I’ll spend Christmas with my Mum and New Year with my Dad, and the next it will be the other way around. But my Dad dropped in on Christmas Day - dropped into my Mum’s. They didn’t use to, but they’ve started getting on a bit better, so he sort of drops in and has a glass of champagne or something.”

“My Dad is quite jealous so he gets upset if he doesn’t have equal, or more than equal of the time spent with my mother. He is a fiercely kind of, involved father. I remember a few years ago before coming to university, I met my fiancé and he came up and lived with me while I was still at home. So he went back and forth with me, which was mad really (laughing). Even now I’ve left home, I still have to try and balance it. Christmas is a nightmare. If I see Mum I have to see Dad. Even now, it is really ugh. I would recommend that the kids stay in one house and the parents move in and out. (laughing)..I think that’s fairer!”

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>