Parents who share caregiving for their kids ‘experience more conflict’

January 27th, 2011 - 4:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 27 (ANI): A new study has found that parents who share caregiving for their preschool children may experience more conflict than those in which the mother is the primary caregiver.

Researchers found that couples had a stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing with their child.

But when the father participated more in caregiving, like preparing meals for the child or giving baths, the couples were more likely to display less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other.

Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study, conducted the study with Rongfang Jia, a graduate student at Ohio State University.

The study was designed to test how a father’s involvement in child caregiving affected the couple’s co-parenting relationship - how parents interact together while parenting their child.

The study began with 112 Midwestern couples, most of whom were married, who had a 4-year-old child.

At the beginning of the study, fathers and mothers filled out questionnaires that asked how often they were involved in play activities with their children and how often they were involved in caregiving activities.

The results showed that, in general, when fathers indicated they played more with their child at the beginning of the study, the couple showed more supportive co-parenting one year later.

However, when fathers said they participated more in caregiving, the couples showed lower levels of supportive co-parenting one year later.

Researchers looked for evidence of couples criticizing each other’s parenting or trying to “outdo” each other in their efforts to work with the child.

The study appears in the January 2011 issue of the journal Developmental Psychology. (ANI)

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