Loss of “mundane talk” creates challenges for non-residential parents

Professor Stephanie Rollie Rodriguez at Texas A&M– Corpus Christi has published an interesting examination of what she describes as the “mundane talk” that provides the foundation for “maintaining nonresidential parent–child relationships” and the challenges faced by non-residential parents.  She writes, Parents “who have limited interactions struggle to “know” their children, while those with frequent interaction with their children have access to the mundane stories of their children’s lives, which helps to maintain the relationships.”

This research emphasizes the need for non-residential parents to have many ways of maintaining communication with their children even if not physically present and the need for non-residential parents and their children to share information updates about the time they are not together.  This communication is key to continued close relationships.


Qualitative Insights into Divorce’s Impact on Children

November 8, 2013 Time:   2:30 pm – 4:00 pm  Bowie A

Maintaining Intergenerational Stepkin Relations in Divorced Families

Presented by: Caroline Sanner, Ashton Chapman, Luke Russell, Lawrence Ganong, Marilyn Coleman

Remarriages have higher divorce rates than first marriages, suggesting that children may experience multiple stepfamily transitions. Little is known about how families navigate ex-stepkin relationships resulting from these transitions. Given the demonstrated importance of stepgrandparent/stepgrandchild relationships in remarried families, our grounded theory study seeks to explore relationship maintenance strategies with ex-stepgrandparents employed by stepgrandchildren following parental divorce. 13 former stepchildren were interviewed and common themes were identified. Preliminary results indicate that stepgrandchild’s age, steprelationship length, relationship quality, and presence of biological grandparents impacted young adults’ decisions to maintain contact with ex-stepgrandparents post-divorce.

Negotiating Nonresidential Parent-child Relationships in Emerging Adulthood

Presented by: Richard Feistman, Marilyn Coleman, Lawrence Ganong

The well-being of emerging adults’ (ages 18 to 25) often relies on the emotional and financial support provided by their parents. However, relationships between emerging adults and their divorced parents, particularly their nonresidential parents, are fragile. Our grounded theory study will result in a model of the processes involved in forming or maintaining relationships between emerging adults and their nonresidential parents. Preliminary results from 32 participants indicate that emerging adults’ often control levels of contact. Several factors, such as attitudes on family ties, influence the degree of contact emerging adults have with nonresidential parents.

Custody Arrangement Decisions Among Divorcing or Separating Parents

Presented by: Jaimee Hartenstein, Melinda Stafford Markham

A secondary qualitative data analysis of a database of interviews from a previous grounded theory study of 30 participants was conducted. This study investigated how divorced or separated parents determine the custody arrangements for their children. Four categories emerged from the data including no court involvement, agreement decided by couple to be included in divorce decree, court ordered arrangement, and custody changed over time. The findings suggest that there is a great deal of variation in the custody arrangements among divorcing or separating parents. There is not a universal arrangement that will be suitable for all divorcing or separating parents.

Custody Arrangement Decisions among Divorcing or Separating Parents

Young Adults’ Socialization Narratives After Parental Divorce

Presented by: Mick Cunningham, Kelly Skillingstead

Despite the enormous body of evidence investigating parental influences on children, we know remarkably little about how people think and talk about socialization processes. The current study focuses on young adults’ narrative explanations of how they perceive they were affected by their parents’ divorce. Results show that many young adults 1) believe that their parents have modeled behavior that the offspring hope to avoid in their own marriages, 2) lament the absence of effective relationship modeling, and 3) suggest they will themselves act in ways that are opposite of the behaviors they observed in their parents’ marriages.

Downloads: Young Adults’ Socialization Narratives after Parental Divorce