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Spending time with both parents may be best for kids

With more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, it is not uncommon for children to be in split families and forced into different parenting arrangements. While some children spend equal amounts of time with both parents, others live in the sole-custody of one primary parent. In many cases, mothers are put in the position of primary caretakers and are awarded sole physical custody of the children in divorce cases. However, many studies show the importance of both fathers and mothers and the critical roles they play in children’s lives.

The Father Involvement Research Alliance reviewed a number of studies and found that children with actively engaged fathers are more confident in new situations, are emotionally secure and are willing to explore their surroundings. Kids with involved fathers often do better academically, are less aggressive, and have less impulsivity. In the long-term, these children have more successful careers, experience a better psychological well-being, longer marriages, stronger social networks and overall better health.

Why are both parents so critical to a child’s life? Each parent has different strengths and teaches children valuable skills that the other may not be able to display. Mothers give children security, provide nurturing and show kids how to work together. Fathers, on the other hand, encourage independence, competition and achievement. When parenting together, children may have a better behavioral and academic outcome than children who are raised by one parent. Nevertheless, some fathers still feel as though they are given limited access to their children and must fight to have time with them.

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