101: What happens after divorce – and how it impacts children

10.13.2019 - By Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive

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This is the third episode in our series on parental relationships – and the lack thereof…  We started with episode 35, which was called “All Joy and No Fun,” where we learned how children can be one of the greatest joys of a parent’s life – but that all the daily chores and struggles can get on top of us and make parenting – both in terms of our relationship with our child and our spouse - something that isn’t necessarily much fun in the moment.  And if you missed that episode you might want to go back and check it out, because I walked you through a research-based idea I’ve been using to increase the amount of fun I have while I’m hanging out with my daughter, who was a toddler when I recorded that episode.

Then we took a turn for the worse in episode 36 and looked at the impact of divorce on children’s development, and we learned that it can have some negative impacts for some children, although the majority are pretty resilient and do make it through a divorce OK.  For the last episode in the long-delayed conclusion to this mini-series we’re going to take a look at what happens after divorce – things like single parenting and remarriage and stepfamilies, that can also have large impacts on children’s lives.  We’ll spend a good chunk of the show looking at things that stepfamilies can do to be more successful.

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Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. This is the third episode in our series on parental relationships – and the lack thereof… We started with episode 35, which was called “All Joy and No Fun,” where we learned how children can be one of the greatest joys of a parent’s life – but that all the daily chores and struggles can get on top of us and make parenting – both in terms of our relationship with our child and our spouse - something that isn’t necessarily much fun in the moment. And if you missed that episode you might want to go back and check it out, because I walked you through a research-based idea I’ve been using to increase the amount of fun I have while I’m hanging out with my daughter, who was a toddler when I recorded that episode.
Then we took a turn for the worse in episode 36 and looked at the impact of divorce on children’s development, and we learned that it can have some negative impacts for some children, although the majority are pretty resilient and do make it through a divorce OK. For the last episode in the long-delayed conclusion to this mini-series we’re going to take a look at what happens after divorce – things like single parenting and remarriage and stepfamilies, that can also have large impacts on children’s lives. We’ll spend a good chunk of the show looking at things that stepfamilies can do to be more successful.
So let’s start with the things we don’t understand very well, and I have to say I was pretty surprised by this one. The vast majority of divorcing mothers gain custody of their children; somewhere north of 80%, and there is actually a ton of conflicting evidence on the benefits – or lack of benefits – of contact with the child’s father after the divorce. Some researchers have theorized that the traditional visitation pattern of spending every other weekend with the father “created intense dissatisfaction among children, and especially young boys.” They found that children in mother-custody families often expressed profound feelings of deprivation and loss regarding the loss of contact with their fathers, and that this stress is mirrored by distress in fathers, who recognize their own greatly diminished role in their children’s lives after the divorce. The so-called “father absence hypothesis” has been used to describe the difficulties that may be primarily experienced by boys:
Boys need a regular, ongoing, positive relationship with their fathers in order to develop a valued sense of masculinity,

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