Heymann & Fletcher

Research shows benefit to kids able to text parents after divorce

These days, there seems to be a new study every week that says that social media and cell phones are harming people, especially children. Families in New Jersey have likely heard these warnings and may have some concerns. However, recent research is finding something new -- that children of divorce benefit from connecting to their parents over social media and texting.

The study examined the cases of around 400 divorced parents from across the country who have children aged 10 to 18. Researchers considered different parts of relationships between parents and children, such as parental warmth and closeness, parental knowledge of the child and inconsistent discipline. While experts used to believe that the ability of parents to cooperate post-divorce was what influenced how a child dealt with the divorce, this new data suggests something else. It seems now that more contact a child has with the parent who is not living in the home, the better that relationship is.

These experts are now actually recommending that children of divorce be allowed to have a cellphone or other communication device, provided they are old enough. They say that as long as the noncustodial parent isn't discussing something that he or she should run by the custodial parent first, it is beneficial for the child to have that line of communication. Kids place a high value on forms of communication such as texting or Facebook. If the divorce was contentious, it can help the noncustodial parent talk more frequently with his or her children without worrying about being forced to speak with his or her ex-spouse.

Whatever the circumstances of a divorce may be, the important thing is that the children's needs are put first. Those who are undergoing the process of divorce in New Jersey may find it helpful to consult an attorney when determining custody agreements. It can help parents keep perspective on what is important -- the health and well-being of their children.

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