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Fathers invited to take part in Qld parenting research project

Lecturer in psychology and counselling at the University of Southern Queensland, James Brown, is seeking to explore the barriers and enablers of father involvement in parenting.

If you are interested in helping advance research on fatherhood and if you have a spare 15 minutes, the clinical psychologist would like to hear from you.

Participants in the study will be asked to complete an online survey.

Brown believes that understanding fathers’ involvement in child rearing is crucial, and would like to hear from fathers who have at least one child aged between 2 and 18 years.  Questions will include those relating to general demographic information, and then more specifically, relating to co-parenting experiences as a father.

The names of individual persons are not required in any of the responses. All data collected as a part of this project will be stored securely as per University of Southern Queensland’s Research Data Management policy (without your name) and may be used for research publications and in future research projects.

US researchers update parenting manual as it relates to the modern fatherhood experience

Meanwhile, in the US San Francisco State University has provided an update on the study of fathers in its third edition of the ‘Handbook of Parenting’.

“The mother-child relationship is an essential relationship, but we as a society have often over-emphasised that to the exclusion of fathers,” explained Jeff Cookston, a professor of psychology at the university. “Even if they’re not married, mothers and fathers both play an essential role in children finding their way in the world.”

In 2012, Cookston asked 400 fathers to list three things they did well. High on the list was talking and helping their kids and providing emotional support. Only one in four mentioned financial support.

He says research into family life has become more nuanced over the past two decades, and scholars are now probing the unique importance of fatherhood.

A really big contribution of this research is a space to encourage men to talk about these ideas, to engage with them and to question their parenting,” he said.

The significance of mattering

For example, Cookston and his co-author Ross Parke, highlight research around the significance of  ‘mattering’  to a child  and the role fathers play in fostering these feelings.

 “Your father’s performance of warm, connected, ‘asking about you’ questions are predictive of later senses of feeling you matter to your dad,” says Cookston. That sense of mattering is key to a child’s development.

Their contribution to the parenting handbook points out that fathers don’t fit one mold, and that there is a diversity of fathering experiences, from two-parent families, to those who fall outside the traditional model.

“How do we get men to take an interest in self-evaluating and trying to make a decision to be a different kind of parent — more gender-equitable, more engaged in a child’s life — while also not losing status in whatever employment area they’ve established?” he asks.


Read about professor Cookston's parenting handbook update

Take part in James Brown's fatherhood PhD


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