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The benefits of birdnesting after divorce (Rebroadcast)

James Laurie, aged 8, is assisted in his online work by his mother Laurette as he continues home schooling in London, United Kingdom.
James Laurie, aged 8, is assisted in his online work by his mother Laurette as he continues home schooling in London, United Kingdom.

It’s often the case that a child with divorced parents split their time growing up between the homes of two parents. Sometimes they live with one parent full-time with one parent and see the other on weekends and holidays.

Some parents who are no longer married are trying a strategy called birdnesting. It’s an arrangement where children remain in their family home while the parents cycle in and out of the house. 

The hope for this approach is that it offers stability to young people during a time of major change. According to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Psychiatry College of Medicine, children of divorce have a greater risk of developing mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. 

And kids and teenagers in general are struggling with mental health at higher rates right now. In 2021, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry along with three other organizations declared a national emergency in adolescent mental health. 

How much can co-parenting arrangements like nesting offset the negative effects of divorce on kids? What do you need to know before you try nesting? And is it a long-term solution—especially for exes trying to move on?

We discuss this and more with a parent who’s nested for nine years, a therapist, and a family lawyer.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Haili Blassingame

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