In a recent Australian study of primary school students, Pike (2000) compared four groups: boys who lived with their fathers, daughters with fathers, boys with their mothers and daughters with their mothers. Boys who live with their mothers performed better in scholastics, sports and physics. These boys performed better in scholastic fields than boys who lived with their fathers, and more in physical and physical fields than girls who lived with their mothers. There was no difference in performance in the four groups in the social and behavioural field or in self-esteem. By reading and spelling, girls who lived with their mothers performed better for both girls and boys who lived with their fathers. In spelling, boys who lived with their mothers outperformed the girls and boys who lived with their fathers. In other words, boys and girls raised by their fathers did not do as well in academic fields as boys and girls from maternal families. On the other hand, there were no differences between the groups in terms of self-esteem and competence. Gender differences were not homogeneous across all housing groups, i.e. there were different profiles for each of the four groups. Pike concluded that it is not necessarily advantageous for children living with lone-parent families to be raised by a single parent of the same sex. In Bailey`s 1991 non-accidental interview study, mothers and fathers with shared custody verbally clashed with their ex-partners as parents with sole custody. Mr.
Luepnitz acknowledges that families with a common custody agreement may have been “chosen themselves to be able to negotiate reasonably.” It should also be noted that in the Luepnitz sample, the minimum separation period for the parents was two years. A series of studies indicate that in the years following separation, the frequency of father-child contact decreases in cases of exclusive custody of mothers (z.B Seltzer et al., 1989; Maccoby et al., 1993). However, in cases of exclusive paternal custody, mothers have attended more often over time (Maccoby et al., 1993). In shared custody situations, “contact 0 appears to change less in the first few years after separation, especially when the arrangement is close to 50/50” (Kelly, 1994: 5). Others found that fewer fathers “abandoned” exclusive custody rules for mothers (Coysh et al., 1989; Kline et al., 1989).