The Post-Divorce-Parenting Glossary

Divorced-Parenting Term

High Quality Parenting


   What is high quality parenting after a divorce?

   High qualtiy parenting is a subjective, operationally defined term in post-divorce parenting that:

  1.        puts a children's needs ahead of conflict between parents,
  3.        involves parents staying involved in their children's activities, and
  5.        does what is in the children's best interests.

   It should be noted that high quality parenting after a divorce has been extensively studied and shows significant benefits on a child's upbringing in the aftermath of a divorce or separation.


   What are the benefits on a child's upbringing if parents engage in high-quality parenting after a divorce or separation?

   High quality parenting shows a strong correlation through research with children who have a positive adjustment through divorce. Parents who engage in high quality parenting are consistently involved in their children’s activities (e.g. interests, hobbies, or homework), develop a strong emotional connection with their kids (e.g. reciprocal feelings of closeness, positive connection, and secure attachment), and maintain authority in their parenting (e.g. effective discipline and positive affective relationships) Amato & Kieth.  
   Studies show that a difficult adjustment through divorce tends to have a negative impact on a child’s development, but high quality parenting can help mitigate the negative issues, significantly.  A healthy adjustment during a divorce or separation positively influences a child’s overall growth and development. Healthy, long term pathways that lead to increased ability to adapt (i.e. increased ability to self soothe, increased self reliance) and function (i.e. higher levels of academic success) are more likely in children who experience high quality parenting during the significant challenges encountered during the process of divorce.


   What are the challenges to engaging in high quality parenting?

   Obviously going through a divorce can be one of the most painful experiences in life, both for the couple and the children involved. As a couple separates and emotions are flying, they can become pitted against each other, often losing sight that their children are going through it along side them. Even when amicable, with children in the picture, divorce can be emotionally taxing, with significant lifestyle changes from new child custody arrangements to visitation schedules. Research confirms that how parents react to the stress of such changes, and the potential conflict faced through divorce, can significantly impact how their children develop.
   Challenges to being able to engage in high quality parenting primarily center around conflict.  High conflict can make it much more difficult to do the things required of high quality parenting.  But even in conflict, high quality parenting is possible.  In fact, one parent alone can adopt the high quality parenting mindset and have the same effect on the child's growth.


   If parents are able to co-parent, or if in high conflict, parallel parent, their children can experience significant reduced stress during the divorce.


   What is low quality parenting and how can it impact children's development?

   Low quality parenting, through or after separation and divorce, entails parents allowing significant conflict to negatively influence or deteriorate their parenting.  When children are repeatedly exposed to conflict between parents, it can leave them feeling confused, unsafe, and with lasting feelings of vulnerability. Continued conflict can often negatively impact the quality of parenting in one or both parents resulting in children having increased difficulty adjusting to their family breaking apart (Amato & Keith, 1991; Kelly & Emery, 2003). This can translate into children getting derailed by having significant developmental delays, decreased school performance, potential mental health challenges, increased risk to drug use, and future legal problems. As mentioned, research shows that if one parent maintains high quality parenting it can serve to buffer children from the potential negative impact of divorce and even more stabilizing if both parents maintain quality parenting.


   Why is it so important for divorced parents to quickly adopt the high quality parenting philosophy?

   Research suggests that when a family is facing divorce it is a critical point in time for the overall family unit. This time can be imagined as a fork in the road and how parents respond to the challenges brought on by divorce will dramatically impact which path, developmentally, their children are more likely to take.

How high quality parenting helps children adjust to divorce
High quality parenting studies demonstrate that children adjust much better to divorce if these methods are applied.
High quality parenting classes to help divorced parent
Learn the techniques associated with high quality parenting after a divorce.

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