Most experts agree that shared parenting is in the best interests of the child. There are legitimate concerns from researchers that shared parenting is not the best arrangement for every family, incdluing where family abuse is found. There are other situations where academics are yet to agree, including the shared parenting of infants and toddlers. Find out below what the leading experts have to say about the outcomes of shared parenting for children.
Note: Some of the research into shared parenting has sparked a lot of controversy and contention. This is largely linked to research being misquoted, questions about the methodology of studies and the difficulty of comparing research that define shared parenting in different ways. Be sure to take care when reading about research online.
Outcomes For Children
A Swedish study assessed how parenting arrangements can influence a child's wellbeing & life experiences. These were measured in several categories including economic, social, health, working conditions & safety at school and leisure time activities.
Researchers found that in several areas, particularly in economic outcomes, children were slightly worse off living with one parent as opposed to children living with shared parenting or children living with both parents in the same household.
Children living with one parent as opposed to shared parenting or two parent families were also:
More likely to report not getting on well with their parents
Less likely to report their parents had time for them
Reported worse peer relations including being less likely to claim having at least one close friend in class
More likely to report less than good on a self-rated health scale and report smoking weekly far more frequently
Assessed their school performance as being lower in relation to their peers
Less likely to participate in organised sport activities on a weekly basis
Of course, many of the positive outcomes of shared parenting are also dependent on how parents execute these arrangements, not only the allocation of equal time. See our section on Quality Vs Quality for more information.
Watch Dr Malin Bergström talking about her research into the outcomes of shared parenting for children.