Overnight Swapping Tough on Infants

Babies who spend nights with different parents after divorce have problems making secure attachment to either parent. This according to a recent study at Mills College in California. Here’s a story about it from Health24.com.

The infants who spent different nights with different parents didn’t develop reliable ways of signaling to their parents what their needs were, and they were less likely to trust their parents as a resource to deal with stress. There’s no indication that the study was adjusted to render out other factors that might cause problems for children, such as conflict between the parents and stress in the parents themselves arising from the conflict.

One comment

  1. Lee,

    I think that the article implies that the study did control for factors like conflict between the parents. It says that “overnight visits were not the sole factor affecting the babies’ attachments,” and that other factors like the mother’s ability to protect her baby from the stress of the parents’ separation, the parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate about their baby’s well-being, and the extent of conflict between the parents also contributed. It also appears that the children were compared to a control group in which fathers saw their children only during the daytime.

    Others have reached similar conclusions about the effects of infant overnights, including the Spokane County Bar Association, the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Task Force on Visitation and Child Support Enforcement, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

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