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Mum's behavior impacts father's child rearing: study

Research has repeatedly found that kids who have fathers who are engaged in their lives do better. Shapee-Sullivan found fathers with critical partners were less likely to report spending a lot of time with their children.

These two articles touch on the issue of 'maternal gatekeeping' (try Google, etc for more info).

Criticism by Mom Helps Determine if Dad Takes Care of Baby

Voice of America | 10 June 2008

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Criticism by Mom Helps Determine if Dad Takes Care of Baby

By Rose Hoban

There's one simple thing that can help children develop better cognitive skills, succeed more in school and be more emotionally stable ­ it's having a father involved in their lives and in their care. Research has repeatedly found that kids who have fathers who are engaged in their lives do better. And, as Rose Hoban reports, the earlier fathers get involved, the more likely they'll continue that close interaction.

Some men are very involved with their children, but others, unfortunately, are not. Psychology professor Sarah Shapee-Sullivan from Ohio State University is interested in fathers, how they relate to children and what accounts for the variability in their involvement with their kids. She wondered if mothers' attitudes played a part in how involved fathers were in childrearing. So she recruited couples that were about to have their first baby.

First she conducted interviews with the couples before their babies were born. "We asked them some questions," she says, "specifically questions about their expectations, their beliefs about how involved fathers should be in caring for children." After the babies were born, the researchers went back to the couples. "We had them complete some surveys about their relative involvement in caring for the child, … how much the mom was doing and how much the dad was doing."

Shapee-Sullivan didn't just ask the parents about their behavior, she also observed them. She watched how they interacted with each other and with their child, because she wanted to actually see if the moms were encouraging their partner's involvement.

"[For instance], when the dad does something that the mom doesn't approve of with the baby, does the mom, you know, roll her eyes, or look exasperated, or not say anything but re-do the child care task when the father has left?" Shapee-Sullivan gives the example of a father who dresses the baby in an outfit that the mother doesn't approve of, "Does she maybe not say anything but dress the baby in a different outfit… so that the father can see later on that, 'oh, the baby is in new clothes.'"

Shapee-Sullivan found fathers with critical partners were less likely to report spending a lot of time with their children. She says even after allowing for factors such as whether the mothers worked outside the home, or the couples' beliefs about childrearing, fathers who received criticism from mothers tended to withdraw from being involved with their children.

Shapee-Sullivan says she doesn't want to appear as if she's criticizing women, or blaming them for problems with childrearing, but she says you can't discount the role of the mother. "At least as mothers and dads were seeing it, the mother was playing an important role in potentially affecting how involved the dad was," she notes, adding, "but of course, dads have to be motivated in the first place. They have to want to be involved." And an encouraging mother, she says, may help those men stay engaged in childcare.

Shapee-Sullivan's research is published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

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Hoban report - Download (MP3)fsdafasd

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Hoban report - Listen (MP3)

Mom's behavior impacts father's child rearing: study

Reuters | 1 June 2008

Mom's behavior impacts father's child rearing: study

New York (Reuters Life!) - How much a father is involved in the daily care of his children is largely up to his wife or partner, according to new research.

Scientists from Ohio State University and the University of Illinois, who studied 97 couples, said mothers are play an important role in determining how active a role the father plays.

"Mothers can be very encouraging to fathers and open the gate to their involvement in child care, or be very critical and close the gate," said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University and a co-author of the study.

The researchers found that fathers were more involved in caring for their babies on a day-to-day basis when they received active encouragement from their wife or partner.

"This is the first real evidence that mothers, through their behavior, act as gatekeepers by either fostering or curtailing how much fathers take part in caring for their baby," Schoppe-Sullivan explained.

All of the couples in the study were expecting a child when it began. The researchers studied the couples during the pregnancy and until the baby was more than three months old. The couples were also videotaped and they answered questionnaires about their involvement with the child.

Schoppe-Sullivan said the findings, which are published in the Journal of Family Psychology, are important because they reveal what mothers do on a day-to-day basis can have the potential to influence the father's behavior.

Most other studies haven't looked at actual behaviors of mothers," she said. "In many cases, researchers have used questionnaires asking parents how much fathers should be involved in parenting, and then related the answers to parents' reports about mother and father involvement in child care."

But the researchers said the format of the study means they could not prove that encouragement by the mother always leads to more involvement by the father.

"Mothers are still considered the primary caregivers for children in our society, so they likely have a larger effect," she said.

- Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; editing by Patricia Reaney

you know the thing with the clothes impacts the time i spend with my step son, as in my defactos mother says, you cant dress him, you dont have nay taste, and i have found myslef not wanting to spend time with him because the  defactos mother treats me like im simply not good enough.

Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
Don't feel that way monster. It is a psychological game and nothing more. trying to belittle and discourage you is not fair. I used to get my kids with holes in their clothes, shoes etc. naturally I bought new ones. If your child is happy with you that is all that matters. It isn't a fashion competition. I copped it for mixing colours etc, and it does make you feel embarrassed. But the children were happy to be with me ( and they were in decent clothes). That's all that matters.

roosters_64
One of the greatest unstated myths is that women 'know' how to parent and are better than men at it.
wrong in so many ways. Most men who are fathers know that - most men who are just starting out don't know it.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I'm a girl, the mother in law said the other day "what would she know about dressing people nice". thanks MIL. Shes so mouthy about mine, the fathers and the child dress, she almost the same but not as mean to her other kids. I dint know why she does it, i think its just that every time you go against her she has a tantrum (seaming and crying) so thats just her way. In all other ways shes nice, she just a real live version of the mother on everybody loves Raymond, she doesn't think i can clean either.

I think because of mine the father age (early 20's) she truly believes that she would be a better parent to the child, so sometimes she lets us know it. she has the resources (ton of money) and she thinks that she is better at dressing everyone the father is not allowed to pick the kid clothes according to her. I only get to pick clothes because the kid wont wear anything unless me or daddy puts it on him.

there is also a point where the mother in law wouldn't allow the father to put the child to sleep, help feed him, etc or do little things like that. Most of this has stopped as i have stepped in so that the father and me do it as a team. what kid wouldn't want two people who will play with them and care for them all day

for the most part she is very understating, supportive to the father, i just no idea why she would create extra pressure by criticizing the father in front of the child or being so mean about small things.

Last edit: by monster


Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
Are you living with MIL at the moment ?

yep!!! it makes me mad about 3 times a week copping it sweet from her because "its her house". i like her, i just wish she wasnt such a mumzilla

Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
Sorry to take so long to respond, I've been slack this week my girls up and down a bit this week.

It's hard enough normally to hold your tongue around MIL's especially because they are better grands than parents most the time.

it's best to think on terms of that mighty catchy phrase " just one more power ball and I'm outa here "

I found out my MIL was cool when I was around and when I visited by myself but behind my back she was pure venom.

It's a hard one as to whether it's best to keep a lid on it or just let her know that this is your time not her time again.

It's hard if they are caught in some sort of time warp parenting has moved on so much.
I dont think that parenting has moved so much since she still has her own kids under 18, I just think shes overreaching because she still sees herself as the parent to the father and thus has the power to unilaterally override him. it doesnt matter if he has a job a car or pays his own way as long as he is her house he is being taught lessons in life by his parents.

Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
Definatley not an easy position they are always our parents, that just never changes but they do have to let go and allow for their children to make mistakes and learn how to be parents themselves, perhaps all you can do for now is keep using those subtle hints and encouraging your boyfriend/ hubby to interact one thing you don't need is for him to shy away because he thinks this is the best way.

I wonder if she also may be having problems accepting she is a gran ??
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