Researchers say texting helps kids cope with divorce

Kids and teens in California have made texting a favorite form of communication. Though adults sometimes worry about the effects of texting and online chatting, a new study shows that there are some benefits, especially for kids who live with only one parent. The researchers say that texting and internet communication is helping to keep children of divorce in steady contact with both parents.

In the past, children of divorce were thought to be negatively affected by arguing between their parents. The better the parents got along with each other, the better off the child was emotionally. But now researchers say that recent studies indicate that the relationship between the parents doesn't matter as much as the relationship each parent has with the child.

Texting and online communication give kids ways to connect with an absent parent on a regular basis. When the parents don't get along well, texting can allow a child to communicate with each parent individually. This can prevent the child from being caught in the middle between two fighting parents, and it can curb parental tendencies to interfere in the child's communication with the other parent.

If the divorcing parents cannot come to an agreement on their own, child custody and visitation are decided in court. However, another option is mediation, a legal process that is required in California prior to taking a custody case to court. The courtroom is therefore considered a last resort for parents who are unable to reach an agreement on child custody. A lawyer could help a divorcing spouse understand the process.

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