One of the most difficult topics to tackle when going through a divorce is that of child custody. It is hard to help children understand why their family is separating and help them to recover from this extreme change of life. It is during this difficult and emotional time that parents must look at the important roles that both mothers and fathers have in children’s’ lives. While one parent may want to keep the child the majority of the time, he or she must consider the child’s best interests and how spending time with both parents is proven to be beneficial for children of all ages.
Multiple studies have examined the benefits of joint-custody arrangements or having children spend a significant amount of time with both parents, even from an early age. The Father Involvement Research Alliance found that small babies who spend time with their fathers are more confident in new situations and feel secure and safe exploring their surroundings. Kids with involved fathers often do better in school, earn higher grades, have a higher self-esteem and are more emotionally secure than children who are raised in sole-custody situations. Children who have continued access to both parents often have an easier time finding great careers, developing solid social networks and maintaining long relationships with family and friends.
The National Marriage Project reiterates that the different roles mothers and fathers play in the home are vital to a child’s development. While mothers are generally nurturers, fathers promote independence and achievement.