Divorced couples should focus on kids needs

Divorced couples should focus on kids needs
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Divorced Couples Should Focus On Kids Needs

Washington: Hostile relationships between divorced couples can improve when they set aside their differences and focus on their children's needs, a new study has suggested.

The research was conducted at the University of Missouri.


"Most people falsely believe that, when people get divorced, they'll continue to fight, to be hostile," said Marilyn Coleman, Curators' Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at MU. "We found in our study that's not always true. Some couples get along from the very beginning, and, for about half of the women we interviewed, the couples whose relationships started badly improved over time," she stated.
Marilyn Coleman and her colleague interviewed 20 women who shared physical custody of their childrenwith ex- partners. Nearly half of the women interviewed said they had contentious relationships with their former significant others and the other half reported amicable relationships.

Of the women reporting cordial relationships with their ex-spouses, a few had always gotten along; the rest of the relationships had gone from combative to cordial.

"To me, it's almost as if the parents in the bad-to-better relationships matured. Mostly, it's because the parents began focusing on their children. The parents saw how upset their arguments made their kids, so they decided to put their differences aside and focus on what was best for the children," Coleman said.

The women in amicable relationships reported that their ex-partners were responsible parents and that money was not a source of conflict. In addition, the women said they communicated with their ex-partners frequently and in multiple ways, via text, phone and email.
Cordial parents also dealt with differences in parenting styles more efficiently by communicating issues that arose. In addition, the women who had better relationships with their former spouses did not try to limit their children's interaction with their fathers and, instead, found ways to conveniently transition the children between two homes.

"Conflict within a marriage or after a divorce is the most harmful thing parents can do for their children's development. If kids go through their parents' divorce, they've lost some access to both parents. If the parental fighting continues, the children have not only lost access, they're still involved in the conflict—in the ugliness—and it harms the kids,"
Marilyn Coleman explained.

Marilyn Coleman cautions that shared physical custody does not ensure cooperative, happy relationships post-divorce. Making the co-parenting relationships work requires conscientious efforts from parents.

"The goal for divorced parents should be to maintain the best co-parenting relationships possible by moving past prior relationship issues and focusing on children's well-beings,"
Marilyn Coleman said.


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