Parenting of Divorced Fathers and the Association with Children’s Self-Esteem

Abstract

Research suggests that high parental support and control improves children’s well-being. However, a large part of these studies have focused on the parenting of married parents. Research on parenting after a divorce, mainly has focused on parenting of divorced mothers, with few exceptions concentrating primarily on non-residential fathers. Therefore, we compared both parenting dimensions support and control of fathers in different family structures (non-residential fathers, fathers in joint custody and married fathers). We also investigated the association between fathers’ parenting dimensions and children’s self-esteem, controlled for the parenting dimensions of the mother. Data from 587 children (50 % girls) between 10 and 18 years old and their parents were examined. Results revealed that non-residential fathers (n = 225) were less supportive and controlling than fathers in joint custody (n = 138) and married fathers (n = 224). Nevertheless, having a supportive father was beneficial to children’s self-esteem in each family structure. We conclude that, even after a divorce, fathers have the capacity to enhance children’s self-esteem and we suggest that future research should investigate this capacity.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology.

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Correspondence to Kim Bastaits.

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Bastaits, K., Ponnet, K. & Mortelmans, D. Parenting of Divorced Fathers and the Association with Children’s Self-Esteem. J Youth Adolescence 41, 1643–1656 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-012-9783-6

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Divorce
  • Fathers
  • Parenting
  • Parenting agreement
  • Self-Esteem