NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
June 2, 2015
STUDY: SHARED PARENTING BEST FOR CHILDREN POST-DIVORCE
NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION ENCOURAGES STATES TO ACT ON RESEARCH
BOSTON – National Parents Organization celebrates the results of a study recently published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and reported on by TIME magazine that found shared parenting after divorce or separation is in the best interest of children’s health.
The 150,000-person study “Fifty moves a year: is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?” evaluated the mental health of children living in both shared parenting and sole custody situations when their parents live apart and concluded the children with shared parenting – children spending substantial time with each parent – were significantly less stressed than children living with one parent a great majority of the time.
National Parents Organization Founder and Board Chair Ned Holstein, MD, MS, said, “I am pleased to see yet another study conclude that children need and want shared parenting, and I hope that legislators and governors in every state in the nation will react to the overwhelming research in favor of shared parenting by passing family court reform that allows more children to experience the constant love and care of both parents.”
While family courts award sole custody, typically to the mother, instead of shared parenting about 80 percent of the time, state legislatures in nearly 20 states are currently considering shared parenting proposals that seek to begin reversing the statistics.
The TIME story on the recent report, headlined “This Divorce Arrangement Stresses Kids Out Most,” featured Holstein’s expertise on the benefits of shared parenting.
“You’ll hear opponents say, ‘You’ll turn them into suitcase kids; they don’t want to be dragged back and forth,’” Holstein said in the April 27, 2015, TIME story. “Clearly, taking the suitcase back and forth once or twice a week so that you spend a lot of time with both parents is way better for the kids than the alternative of basically losing an intimate and closely loving relationship with one parent.”
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
A regular contributor to local and national media, Dr. Holstein is Founder and Chair of the Board of National Parents Organization. Dr. Holstein was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to the Massachusetts Working Group on Child-Centered Family Law, and he was previously appointed by a Massachusetts Chief Justice to a task force charged with reviewing and revising the state’s child support guidelines.
A graduate of Harvard College, Holstein also earned a Master’s degree in psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His medical degree is from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he later served on the faculty as a teacher and researcher.
SINGLE PARENTING VERSUS SHARED PARENTING
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Census Bureau and numerous researchers have reported alarming outcomes for the 35% of children who are raised by single parents. Yet, until now, this factor has been largely ignored in the conversation about child wellbeing.
Children raised by single parents account for:
- 63% of teen suicides;
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;
- 71% of high school drop-outs;
- 75% of children in chemical abuse centers;
- 85% of those in prison;
- 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; and
- 90% of homeless and runaway children.
Whether the problem is emotional disturbances of children, drug use, alcohol use, teen pregnancy, poor performance in school, trouble with the law or running with gangs, being raised by a single parent is a powerful risk factor. For many of these outcomes, single parenting is a stronger risk factor than race or poverty. Conversely, children on average do much better on all these measures if they have shared parenting. Children ardently desire shared parenting in most cases and are happier with it.
For parents, shared parenting significantly increases child support compliance, diminishes parental conflict and domestic violence and allows both parents to pursue their careers, social lives and other interests without the burden of singlehandedly raising a child.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, seeks better lives for children through family law reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers after divorce or separation. The organization is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bond with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. In 2014, National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws. Visit the National Parents Organization at nationalparentsorganization.org.