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The amount of time the father spends alone, caring for the baby during the first year of parenthood, has a positive effect on the stability of the parental relationship, according to a new study.
The study, led by Helen Norman from the University of Manchester, used individual measures of childcare and housework in the first year of parenthood to explore whether paternal involvement in specific tasks had an association with the accumulated, long-term risk of relationship breakdown. The researchers also explored these associations according to the parent’s ethnicity and the mother’s employment status. Although it noted an overall link between time involved in childcare and parental relationship stability, the study says the effect was moderated by ethnicity and the mother’s employment.
The study complements other studies which have found solo-paternal care as particularly important because of the positive effect it has on a father’s happiness and well-being and the development of the father–child relationship and that it can increase the mother’s leisure time, which is likely to have a positive effect on her personal well-being, work–life balance and relationship satisfaction.
A recent Workingmums.co.uk’s survey shows a growing demand by dads to be more involved in family life, with 73% saying they are considering seeking flexible working, but 72% fearing their employer’s reaction if they do.