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Swedish children’s narratives about growing up in shared residence

Conference contribution
Authors Rakel Berman
Published in International Conference on Shared Parenting , 9-11 July 2014, Bonn, Germany
Volume 2014
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Social Work
Language en
Keywords dual residence, shared residence, joint physical custody, shared care, post-divorce childhood, divorce, doing family
Subject categories Family research

Abstract

Shared residence arrangements are increasingly common in many countries. In Sweden, about one third of children with separated parents share their time between two homes on a 50/50 basis. By using a qualitative perspective, this study aims to shed light on the features of this contemporary family model following family dissolution, focusing on children’s narratives about growing up in shared residence. The presentation aims at further illuminating the practicalities of everyday life for children sharing their time between two households, particularly focusing on children’s voices about family relations, leisure and friendships. The paper is based on an ongoing empirical interview study. Guided by a constructionist approach, the analysis is based on data from qualitative and reflexive in-depth interviews with twenty-seven co-parented children, aged between 9 and 17. The interviews focus on children’s everyday lives within their families as well as in other settings. The results underline the vast variation in experiences among co-parented children. Children’s narratives include both disadvantages of sharing their time between two households and the practical difficulties involved, but also advantages and new opportunities linked to their residence arrangements. Growing up in shared residence arrangements involves new demands on everyday life. The study concludes that shared residence arrangements may work very well for many children, although not for all. How it works depends on a number of variables; individual characteristics of the child as well as the way the arrangement is organized and whether parents are able to cooperate.

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