Bird’s Nest Parenting: Parents’ Perceptions of Their Nesting Process

Publication Date



The debate on the adverse outcomes of divorce on children has informed legislative changes as well as creative approaches by parents to buffer the negative impact of divorce on children. One such approach is referred to as “nesting” or “bird’s nest parenting.” Nesting is a postseparation living arrangement in which the children remain in one residence, while the parents take turns living in the home and caring for the children. Because nesting has not been the subject of prior psychological research, the present study is exploratory and descriptive. The goal was to inform parents, mediators, and therapists about nesting processes from the perspectives of parents with experience nesting. The researcher recruited participants through clinicians and mediators using a written advertisement sent via listserv and through word-of-mouth. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 respondents. Themes that emerged through grounded theory coding included motivations to nest, roles of financial resources, parents’ perceptions of how well nesting was working or had worked for their families: specifically, how nesting is or was stressful, benefits derived from nesting, and elements that facilitate success in nesting. I discovered that parents did not need to have cooperative relationships or amicable separations for nesting to be understood as successful. Further, parents perceived nesting as viable both for short-term and long-term physical custody arrangements. The families who nested longer-term were able to adapt to progressive life, developmental, and family stages. The parents in this study overwhelmingly expressed that nesting was a positive experience for their families.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

First Advisor

Nolty, Anne A. Turk

Document Type





Children of divorced parents, Family relationships, Children of separated parents, Developmental psychology, Child development




Public Access: If you attend a college or university, you may be granted access for free through your school library subscription to ProQuest Theses & Dissertations. Copies may be available for purchase via ProQuest Dissertations Publishing https://dissexpress.proquest.com/search.html

Upload File


Embargo Period