Presentation on theme: "Why do releationships get worse after babies? Duncan Fisher June 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Why do releationships get worse after babies? Duncan Fisher June 2013
THE STATS Babies do not help many relationships! 30% of parents say relationship gets worse 10%+ mothers suffer postnatal depression Children complain about stressed mothers and distant fathers One third of children see parents split
ROLE DIVERGENCE: AN EXPLANATION? Is lack of sleep and uncertainty all there is to it? The greater the roles of mothers and fathers diverge after a baby is born, the unhappier they tend to be. The bigger the difference between parents’ aspirations to share and the reality of their sharing, the unhappier they tend to be. (Cowan & Cowan, USA)
FRUSTRATED ASPIRATIONS The Cowans have shown this harms relationships Should mum be in charge of caring? ◦ 34% of mothers said yes ◦ 23% of fathers said yes Is mum in charge of caring? ◦ 86% of mothers said yes ◦ 69% of fathers said yes
60% of mothers and fathers want fathers to spend more time with their young children 50% say arrangements not of their choice 50% of fathers think they work too much Trouble ahead
WHAT FORCES PARENTS APART? The legacy of the industrial revolution Unequal work expectations – not unequal pay so much any more Beliefs about motherhood ◦ Natural ◦ Innate skills, e.g. multi-tasking ◦ No choice ◦ Primary ◦ High expectations Beliefs about fatherhood ◦ Not natural – clumsiness, funny, “impressive” ◦ Hunter gatherer ◦ Fathers have choice and don’t engage through choice ◦ Low expectations
Mother feels un- supported Unresolved disagree- ments about parenting and a perceived difference in authority Low father involve- ment Father remains unskilled and unconfident Many relationship stresses observed in new parents relate to role divergence
Role divergence conflicts with human nature Human families share – that made us successful Mothers have worked for 200,000 years Dads are genetically programmed to care Children develop multiple attachments from day one Babies programmed to elicit care from multiple carers – origin of human empathy?
If human history were 24 hours long, the model of mum at home alone with the children and dad at work was invented 2 minutes ago.
Sharing makes us happy Feels fairer Parents who share are nicer to each other Parents who share have more sex Parents who share are less stressed Children have more social capital and see wider opportunities for themselves Family spreads financial risk Both parents close to children
SUPPORTING PARENTING Help with parenting and help for relationships is the same thing Must engage BOTH parents Must work on PARENTAL ALLIANCE Parenting is a team activity: work with the team Engage with issue of different parenting styles – e.g. response to distress, holding baby, managing risk, encouraging achievement Cowans/Feinberg: this works better than traditional parenting support