"But when you co-parent, the dad builds up a relationship with the kids that perhaps wouldn't have been there in a parented couple."Lucy said she was proud her girls could see their mum and dad making good decisions."We could have stayed together and lived in an unhappy home where our children lived amongst conflict and grew up to believe a normal relationship was unhealthy one — now instead they see mum and dad getting on reasonably well and building bridges." Child psychologist Kimberley O'Brien said shared custody allowed parents who were not in a relationship together to give their full attention to the children."There are lots of benefits to having one-on-one time," she said."They [the children] aren't competing with the other parent for attention." Dr O'Brien said it could be a point of tension in a nuclear family when it can often be "all about the kids", and when parents were taking care of themselves, they had a lot more energy to give."They aren't feeling tired or resentful of their own time being eaten into by children's needs," she said."If they have three days to themselves to socialise or work or do the things they need to do, then have time to focus on the children, parents can be less stressed and really appreciate that time they have with the kids."We also know that children in joint physical custody are happier than those in sole parental care — with 2016 research from Stockholm University finding they had less "psychological complaints".
But there are some drawbacks for children, including having to pack up their personal belongings regularly, and adjusting to living in two locations while trying to maintain social or educational activities.
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