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We Can Parent Together Tools for engaging fathers, mothers and others in co-parenting.

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Presentation on theme: "We Can Parent Together Tools for engaging fathers, mothers and others in co-parenting."— Presentation transcript:

1 We Can Parent Together Tools for engaging fathers, mothers and others in co-parenting

2 In 2006, 38.4% of all births in the United States were to unmarried women


4 Fathers are more likely to regularly see their children and pay child support when they perceive a degree of parental involvement (Peters et all., 2004)

5 Policy interventions need to focus on strengthening mother-father relationships as well as improving fathers’ ability to provide economic support and be involved in other arenas of parenting. Coley & Chase-Lansdale, 2000.


7 The quality of the relationship between children’s parents matters for children. Children benefit when both parents are present and functioning in a low conflict relationship. Carlson, McLanahan and England, 2004.


9 Most unmarried parents are highly committed to each other at their child’s birth and hope to marry. However the percentage of couples who are working together to raise their children decreases from almost 60% at the child's birth to only 13% when the child reaches their teens. The Fragile Families and Child-Wellbeing Study

10 Home visiting programs need to take a family systems approach in which father involvement is tied to the couple relationship, the father’s family and maternal grandmother. Kalil et all, 2005


12 “families that adjust well to life’s challenges tend to be those in which there exists a supportive partnership between the adults who are responsible for guiding the socialization of the family's children.” Salvador Minuchin, Families and Family Therapy, 1974


14 The risks of negative outcomes (of growing up in a single parent family) are reduced if the parents cooperatively work together to raise their children, and if regular financial and emotional support are received from the non- custodial parent. (Kelly and Emery, 2003, Feinberg, 2002)

15 Barriers to marriage Financial concerns being employed, having assets and enough money for a “proper” wedding Relationship issues father’s maturity, low trust, sexual infidelity, domestic violence Timing issues need time to plan the wedding Gibson, Edin and McLanahan, 2003 from Fragile Family Interview Data


17 Barriers to healthy family formation and father involvement Incarceration Domestic violence Mental health problems Drug and alcohol abuse Waller and Shisher, 2006


19 When mothers are able to yield to father’s involvement, and fathers are able to approach child care with a sense of wanting to learn, not only are parent-child relationships strengthened, but also the relationship between co-parents. Knudson-Martin and Mahoney (2005)

20 Unmarried parents express a strong desire to form a family and work together to raise their children. Marriage may not be a realistic goal for these families, but strengthening their ability to co-parent may show more promise in terms of improving child well-being outcomes. Shirer, 2009

21 Family members personality characteristics, mental health and well being Three generational transmission of expectations and behavior patterns Quality of the parent-child relationships Quality of the relationship between parents Balance of life stresses and social supports for the family Cowan, Cowan, Pruett, Pruett, 2006 Children’s development and adaptation are predicted by the risks and buffers in 5 interconnected domains:


23 Couple relationship quality and father involvement are key factors in establishing and collecting child support

24 Even if parents are experiencing relationship discord and distress but are able to maintain a positive co-parenting relationship, adverse outcomes for children will be reduced.


26 Positive co-parenting (i.e. mutual support of the parenting role, childrearing agreement, equitable division of parenting responsibilities and parents’ management of interaction patterns) has been found to be an important mediator between the couple relationship and child outcomes.


28 Early involvement of the non-custodial parent with his or her child predicts a pattern of connection and support for the child.

29 Family relationships – particularly with the paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother impact father involvement. When the mother has a positive relationship with the father’s family and the father with the mother’s mother, there are more positive patterns of father involvement. Kalil, Ziol-Guest and Coley (2005)

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