Growing Up In Scotland glimpses into shared parenting

The most recent report from Growing Up In Scotland gives a few glimpses of the involvement of “non-resident parents” with the oldest cohort in the study – 14-year olds.  Most of the results relate to the views of the young people and parents who are their main carers, but the young people in separated families were also asked about their relationships with their other parent.

Just over one quarter (27.3%) of young people had at least one parent who lived elsewhere and they were asked questions about their relationship with this parent.

Half (50.8%) of young people reported they would like to see their non-resident parent as often as they do now, whilst around two in five (38.3%) said they would like to see the parent more often, and the remainder (10.9%) would like to see the parent less often.

Over half (57.5%) said they saw this parent once a week or more, whilst 15.1% said they never saw this parent. Young people were also asked how often they had contact with the parent living elsewhere by telephone, text or email, or via apps like FaceTime or WhatsApp. Young people said they had more frequent contact with their parents in these ways than they saw them in person. Just over two thirds (67.5%) said they had face to face contact at least once a week or more with the parent.

Figure 18 – Frequency of contact between young person and non-resident parent
This chart shows the proportions how often young people had contact with their non-resident parent, either “face to face” or “via telephone, text, or email, or via apps like FaceTime or WhatsApp”. Young people had more contact via telephone, text, email or apps than face to face: 5.0% of young people said they had face to face contact with their non-resident parent every day, whilst 26.15 said they had contact every day via telephone, text, email or apps. Conversely, 28.6% of young people said they had face to face contact with their non-resident parent once or twice a week, whilst one in five (20.5%) said this was the case for contact via telephone, text, email or apps.Base: All young people with at least one parent who lived elsewhere and who were happy to answer questions about him/her/them (559)

Given the lack of published data on shared parenting in Scotland, these results collected from 2493 families provide a glimpse into the views of these young people, but as the study did not try to talk to the parent who lived apart from them it is only a partial picture.

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