Children are often the innocent victims of divorce, subject to decisions that can affect them for the rest of their lives. In regards to infants and toddlers, some parents in Texas and across the country, along with renowned psychologists, have had concerns over a mother's relationship with her infant child being negatively affected when the child has frequent visitation with their father that include overnight stays. But the results of a study just released by Arizona State University shows that no matter what their age, children benefit from spending time with each parent, including sleepovers at both homes.
The study not only dispels the worries over the mother-child relationship, it shows that it is actually strengthened when children of infant and toddler age have frequent overnight stays with their father. These same children were also shown to have stronger relationship with both parents when they were 18-20 years old than those children who had no overnights. The grown children with the strongest relationship with both parents were shown to be those that spent an equal amount of nights with each one during their infant and toddler years. The study also concluded that trying to make up for lost overnight time in the infant-toddler years during child and adolescent years did not work.
The author also notes that fathers learn better parenting skills by taking care of their children through the entire time cycle from evening through morning. Father and child learn about each other and build a foundation for their future relationship. The study also says that mothers benefit from the overnights their children have with their father through reduced stress that may come from having to be the full-time parent of their small children.
The study concluded that the positive results are the same whether or not the overnight stays were court ordered or mutually agreed upon by the parents. Fathers in Texas can sometimes face the struggle of being granted equal share in their child's care and development. Circumstances can vary in each case, but an attorney can help ensure that the best interests of the child are kept at the forefront of any decision regarding visitation, enabling children to have a better relationship with both of their parents.
Source: asunow.asu.edu, "Overnights with dad benefit kids of divorce ?????no matter their age", Feb. 2, 2017