A study suggests that couples have a stronger relationship when the father spends more time playing with their child.
But when he participates in care-giving such as giving baths, parents undermine each other.
The study in the Journal of Developmental Psychology involved 112 couples with four-year-olds.
They were asked how often they played with their children and were involved in care-giving.
The US researchers looked for signs of supportive co-parenting, and for evidence of couples criticising or trying to “outdo” each other.
A year later the couples took part in a similar activity and results showed when fathers played more with their child at the beginning of the study, the couple showed more supportive co-parenting in the second session.
But when fathers took part more in care-giving, the couples showed lower levels of supportive co-parenting a year later.
It’s a small study, so I would like to see another one that is bigger.