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Children & Child Custody

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New Mothers Assess Partner’s Parenting Skills

New research from America has revealed that the stability of a couple’s relationship will have an impact on how much a new father is encouraged to be involved in the raising of his child.

The researchers wanted to find out what factors might make new mothers more likely to restrict the father’s role in child-rearing, in order to help identify how best to increase a father’s involvement in bringing up young children.

The study, by researchers at The Ohio State University, found that new mums will assess their partner’s suitability to be a father, and will restrict their involvement if they believe the couple’s relationship to be unstable, or their partner lacks confidence in his ability to be a father.

The researchers looked at 182 couples who were dual-earners and were going to become parents for the first time. They were interviewed during the first trimester of pregnancy and again when the baby was three months old.

They found that the mothers were more likely to limit the father’s involvement in child-rearing if they had reported problems with the relationship when questioned during the first trimester or had said they were considering divorce or separation.

They were also more likely to restrict the father’s involvement if he had expressed a lack of confidence in his own parenting skills during the pregnancy.

“New mothers are looking at their partner and thinking, ‘Is he going to be here for the long haul? Does he know what he is doing with children?’” explained Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University.

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