-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In families where dads
play more with their young children, couples tend to be more
supportive of each other's parenting styles.
But couples who look after their preschool children together may
have more disagreements than couples in which mom is the main
caregiver, researchers report.
The Ohio State University study included 112 Midwestern couples
with a 4-year-old child. The couples completed questionnaires that
asked them how often each parent played with the child and how
often each parent was involved in caretaking activities, such as
giving the child a bath.
The researchers then observed each couple for 20 minutes while
they helped their child complete two tasks: drawing a picture of
the family and using a toy building set to make a house.
The study found that couples had a stronger, more supportive
co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing
with their child. However, couples tended to display less
supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior if the father
participated more in caregiving.
The findings surprised the researchers and may be disappointing
for people who believe caregiving should be shared equally by
mothers and fathers, said study co-author Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan,
an associate professor of human development and family science.
However, the study just shows that there is more than one way to
share parenting duties.
"You can certainly have a solid co-parenting relationship without sharing caregiving responsibilities equally," Schoppe-Sullivan said in a university news release.
The study appears in the January issue of the journal
The American Academy of Pediatrics discusses
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