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Entries in psychosomatic problems (1)

Thursday
Apr302015

Is shared parenting a healthy option?

Critics of shared parenting sometimes argue that the regular moves between two homes are stressful for the children. 

A new Swedish study  based on a national survey of nearly 150 000 Swedish children aged 12 and 15 years, shows that children who live equally with both parents after a parental separation suffered from less psychosomatic problems than those living mostly or only with one parent.

Children in shared parenting (also called joint physical custody) reported more psychosomatic problems than those in nuclear families,

Girls suffered from more problems than boys. Sadness was the most frequent problem for girls in all living arrangements, followed by sleeping problems and headaches. For boys, sleeping and concentration problems were most common.

This pattern, with children in shared parenting showing fewer problems than those living with one parent, has been established in other Swedish studies in relation to outcomes such as satisfaction with life, risk behaviour, parent–child relationships, school achievement, well-being and mental health.

In Sweden 30-40% of children in separated families are in joint parental custody, spending at least 30% of their time with each parent.  It is estimated that around 14% of separating parents in Sweden have conflicts regarding custody and children's housing and about 2% have their custody disputes resolved in court.  The proportion of Swedish children born out of wedlock or to non-cohabiting parents is low (6% in 2009) compared with other Western countries.