Shared residence: Children’s perspectives and new evidence
Illustration: Ronja, 5 years.
There has been an increase in shared residence for children among parents living apart over the last decades. In 2012, about one in four children with separated parents had shared residence in Norway, and this arrangement has become more common among most groups of parents.
The purpose of the project is to study the variation in families’ experiences with shared residence in Norway, particularly children's experiences with shared residence, and how such an arrangement is actually practiced. The project also aims to identify knowledge gaps and topics that should be studied in future research on children and parental breakup.
The Ministry of Children and Equality wants to know more about how shared residence is actually practiced, and what advantages and disadvantages children themselves emphasize with such an arrangement, the role of the parents’ socio-economic status for parents’ use of shared residence and children’s experiences with such an arrangement.
We will also examine the role of shared residence for children’s relationships with their parents, other family members, friends and neighborhood, whether there are differences between children in different age-groups, and children’s relationships with their siblings and new family members. Moreover, we will explore to what extent children themselves can influence the way that shared residence is actually practiced, how they experience their parents’ collaboration and conflicts, and the role of new information technology in their contact and communication with their parents.
Methodological approach and informants
Different methodological approaches and groups of informants will be used in the project. We want to interview children and young people in neighborhoods with different socio-economic characteristics about their experiences with shared residence. At certain schools we will also interview the school nurses and social counselors about their role and experience with children with shared residence.
Moreover, we will carry out focus groups interviews with the staff in some larger kindergartens about the kindergarten’s role and experience with children who have shared residence. We will also use survey-data to explore the factors that further and hinder shared residence for children among parents who live within a short geographical distance from each other, as well as the extent of conflict and cooperation between shared residence parents compared to parents with other arrangements.