Couples tend to have a stronger
relationship if fathers spend more time playing with their child than care-giving,
say US researchers. However parents tend to undermine each other if the father
participates in care-giving activities like bathing or preparing meals for the
112 couples who had a 4year child were part of the study. Parents were required to fill out questionnaires about how often they played with their child and how often they were involved in care giving activities. Parents were then observed while they helped their child draw a family picture and build a house of blocks. Researchers looked for evidence of couples trying to outdo each other or criticizing each other's parenting. They looked for signs of supportive co-parenting. After a year the couples were asked to take part in a similar activity.
The results showed that couples showed more supportive co-parenting when fathers played more with their child. But the couples showed lower levels of supportive co-parenting when fathers participated more in care-giving.