A lot of the time, parenting classes, courses, books and products are aimed towards mothers. For whatever reason, marketing teams seem to think that moms are the be-all-end-all when it comes to parenting and raising kids. We know that’s not true and that this mind set has actually had negative effects on the relationships fathers have with their kids.
A new eight-week parenting course in New Zealand finds that includes fathers in the parenting process is stepping in and making a difference. The course has been proven to benefit the whole family.
The research, conducted at the University of Auckland and published in the journal Behavior Therapy, had 42 families with children aged three to eight years with behavioural difficulties. Both mothers and fathers participated in the program, called the Triple P Parenting Program, and later reported a decrease in behavioural problems.
“When mum and dad are a team working together, both learning the techniques, both seeing the results, they’re more likely to use the strategies in the future,” Dr. Tenille Frank told MedicalXpress. Frank is a researcher at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work, who worked on the adapted eight-week course.
Parents in the course also reported a decline in conflict between parents about parenting methods and mothers found that not only did the father’s parenting practices improve, but also more positive methods were used overall.
“There’s no doubt this programme worked as well for fathers as it did for mothers,” said researcher Dr. Louise Keown, who also worked on the study.
“The more fathers are involved early in children’s development the greater likelihood they will continue to maintain that investment over time,” said Professor Matt Sanders, director of the University of Queensland’s Parenting and Family Support Centre, who suggested adapting his program Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) to include fathers.
Traditionally, women conduct 90 percent of parenting courses and make up 70 percent of those who attend.
“This study shows that we shouldn’t be blaming fathers for not attending parenting programs. Rather, we should be extending our knowledge about how best to engage them, as this study has done,” said Professor Sanders. “This can only be a win/win for mothers, fathers and children.”