Child custody study: Multiple roles can make parents depressed
As divorcing spouses separate and move on in life, and perhaps remarry, spouses may find themselves being a part of multiple families. Very often parents may have custody of their own child and then play the role of a stepparent for a new spouse’s children. Playing multiple roles can be very stressful.
Brigham Young University scholars say that stepfathers experience a range of emotions and playing multiple family roles can, indeed, be very stressful. The scholars have analyzed data of more than 6,000 parents. The main finding is that after a divorce and an increase in parenting roles, depression increases for both men and women.
In a blended family, men and women typically play “yours, mine, and ours” roles. This triple role is likely to make parents 57 percent more depressed than those who remain single after a divorce. The parent, especially men, is more likely to ask himself if he is supposed to play the role of a parent, a friend or an uncle.
The risk for depression is higher for men who do not have child custody. The man feels a certain guilt and the family dynamics change with the birth of a new child into the blended family. Everybody wants to be a good parent and stepparent, but sometimes they are unable to handle the emotions. The key is to remember that the child is the most important person in any child custody issue.
Source: Medical Xpress, “Parenting and depression study: Fathers are at risk, too,” Feb.5, 2015