Children are generally resilient creatures. Oftentimes, children emerge from the wake of divorce stronger and healthier than they were while living in a household marked by marital tension. However, research suggests that if the aftermath of divorce is not handled in certain ways, the self esteem of girls and young women can suffer. This recent research conducted by Terry Gaspard suggests that the self esteem of girls and young women may be uniquely impacted by lack of access to both divorced parents in the wake of the family split. The same self esteem and access link does not seem to affect boys significantly.
As a result of this research, it is important for divorcing and divorced parents of daughters to consider how to best ensure that daughters have access to both parents during and after divorce. Of course, if parental unfitness, abandonment or abuse are factors in a daughter's relationship with either parent the question of access may be moot. But if both parents are fit and plan to remain in their daughters' lives, concerns about parental access and self esteem boosting should likely be addressed in their daughters' parenting plan or plans.
Gaspard’s research provides hopeful conclusions as well as information on the link between lack of parental access and lowered self esteem. According to Gaspard, if divorced or divorcing parents help to ensure access, engage in supportive parenting and maintain a low-conflict relationship between themselves, their daughters’ risk for lowered self esteem will drop significantly.
If you have any questions about how to best address issues of parental access in your parenting plan, please consult an experienced family law attorney with your questions.
Source: The Huffington Post, “How To Raise A Daughter With High Self-Esteem Post-Divorce,” Terry Gaspard, Dec. 25, 2013