Fathers should stick to just playing with their children as their efforts to look after them just end in arguments with their wives, a study claims. Psychologists have found that couples have a stronger, more supportive relationship when the father spends more time playing with their child and less time feeding or bathing them. The findings suggest that traditional roles work best and that a man who insists on helping with the baby care actually undermines his wife’s efforts.
…The results showed that, in general, when fathers 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. The findings in the study remained the same even when the researchers compared dual and single-income families, and when they took into account a wide variety of other demographic factors such as father’s education and work hours, family income, family size and the length of the couple’s relationship. The results fit into her other work, which has found that mothers can act as “gatekeepers” to their children, either fostering or restricting how much fathers are involved in caring. “There might be some ambivalence on the part of mothers in allowing fathers to participate in day-to-day child care,” she said. “But fathers might be ambivalent too, and may not be happy about shouldering more of the caregiving. That may contribute to less supportive co-parenting.” The study appears in the journal of Developmental Psychology.