A new study out of Norway shows an increase in children’s physical and mental health problems as communication with their dads deteriorates. In a press release from the University of Bergen, Professor Eivind Meland at the Department of Global Public Health and Care, said, “This demonstrates that contact with both parents after a divorce is important.”
The study surveyed children between 2011 and 2013 to gauge any changes in their family structure and the level of connection they shared with their parents. The study focused on a small sample of 1227 children, 213 of whom lived in single-parent homes when the study began. That number grew to 270 children by 2013.
Divorce Hurts Father-Child Relationships
In most cases, divorce had a severe impact on the father-child relationship. The majority of children didn’t struggle to stay close to their mothers, but nearly all had future difficulties communicating with their fathers. Daughters were slightly more likely to lose touch with their dads. Overall, 3x more children lost contact with their fathers than with their mothers.
Court actions are at the root of the problem. While Meland says there is a growing tendency for parents to share custody, more courts (in Norway) still award the mother primary custody. That’s bad news for kids who bear the brunt of the stress.
The Physical and Psychological Impact of Losing Touch With Your Dad
Children who suffered difficulties talking with their dads after divorce showed surprising similarities to one another in contrast to the other study’s subjects. Notably, they complained more of physical symptoms of stress, like headaches, stomach aches, dizziness and sleeping problems. They also complained more of serious psychological issues like depression.
The most important takeaway from the study was that children who remain close with both parents after divorce do not have these same issues!
Using Science – and a Good Lawyer – to Secure More Time With Your Kids
The paper, “Divorce and conversational difficulties with parents: Impact on adolescent health and self-esteem,” was published recently in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. Meland hopes the research will influence decisions in the courtroom. It’s possible! Be sure to give a copy to your lawyer!
This is the kind of science dads can use to argue their children will benefit most from joint parenting time. Unfortunately, there are several legal loopholes parents can use to undermine their co-parent’s time with the kids. It’s important to work with an experienced fathers’ rights lawyer to prevent these problems before they begin.
Dads going through separation cannot — and should not — be afraid to fight for their children. Even in the best situations, their health could depend on it.
Check out our State-by-State Directory of Legal Organizations and Referral Agencies for help in protecting your family post-divorce.