In this lecture, we present some recent findings on parenting after divorce that came out of the multi-actor survey ‘Divorce in Flanders’. We will focus on three related aspects of post-divorce parenting. First, we look at fathers and their parenting. Using Baumrind’s parenting styles theory, we identify parenting styles among divorced fathers and the factors influencing these styles. We look not only at characteristics of the fathers themselves but also include children’s and mother’s characteristics to identify differences in parenting styles. Second, we look at how the well-being of the child is influenced by the divorce. We ask ourselves whether parenting styles and residential arrangements have an influence on the self-esteem and life satisfaction of children from divorced families? Our analyses first focus on fathers only after which we compare the effects for both maternal and parental styles to conclude with a broad comparison across a wide diversity of family arrangements, including still married families. In this comparison, we find support for the equal parenting thesis underlining the importance of paternal fathering after divorce and the differential effects thereof of post-divorce family constellations. Last, we take the post-divorce life course in consideration. A divorce is not the end of an adult’s romantic relationship history. New partners arrive in the life of the ex-partners (and the children). Again, we look at the outcome of the life course trajectories of both mothers and fathers and analyse the effects on the well-being of children (adolescents in fact since we take a longer post-divorce period into account).
Dimitri Mortelmans (°1972) is Senior Full Professor in Sociology at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Antwerp (Belgium).
He teaches Introduction to Scientific Work, Quantitative Research methods, Qualitative Research Methods, Applied Multivariate Statistics and Advanced topics in family sociology, life course sociology and demography.
He is head of the Centre for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (CLLS). His research concentrates on family sociology and sociology of labour. He has published on divorce, new constituted families, gendered labour careers and work-life balance. He is also the main author of the Step in Statistics book series of which six volumes have been published (in Dutch). On qualitative methodology, he published the Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods and Qualitative Analysis with Nvivo. In demography, he co-edited Changing Family Dynamics and Demographic Evolution. The Family Kaleidoscope (Edward Elgar) and Lone parenthood in the Life Course (Springer).