Children Of Divorce Benefit Greatly From Overnights Or Sleepovers With Dads, Study Reveals

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 04, 04:00 am
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Children of divorce can gain a lot from having frequent overnights or sleepovers with their dad. Infants and toddlers develop better relationships with their parents when they grow older when they are able to spend equal time between two homes.

Many divorced parents think sleepovers at the father's house might be disruptive for the children and their relationship with the mom. They think the best arrangement would be for kids to stay with the primary caregiver, which is usually the mother. A new study published in the American Psychology Association journal, however, is saying otherwise.

Researchers surveyed 100 children of divorce who are now of college age. They were asked about their current relationship with their parents and their childhood. Their parents were also asked about the time they spent with their kids after the divorce. Most of the students surveyed were children of divorce before they were 3-years-old.

Researchers learned the most critical time for these kids was during their toddler years. Those who spent more overnight time at dad's had "higher-quality" relationships as grownups with both parents compared to those who didn't experience sleepovers at their father's place frequently. Their relationship was even better than children of divorce who eventually make up for lost time with their fathers during the teenage years.

"Having to care for their infants and toddlers for the whole cycle of evening, bedtime, nighttime and morning helps dads learn how to parent their children from the beginning," study author William Fabricius said, according to Science Daily. "It helps dads and babies learn about each other, and provides a foundation for their future relationship."

Frequent overnights or sleepovers with dad also ease the stress of child-rearing from the mother who usually functions as the full-time parent. With the kids staying at their fathers often, mothers get some break from being single parents.

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