Coparents and parenting programmes: do both parents need to attend?

Jun 2017 | Corinne Huntington and Arlene Vetere

Abstract: Numerous parents participate in parenting programmes to promote child development, but few programmes consider relationships within family systems. While both parents’ attendance can improve outcomes, both are rarely able to attend, with mothers typically being the participant. The study aims to understand whether changes to parenting practices can occur from one parent's attendance and, if so, what factors promote the non-attending parent's modified parenting practices. A mixed-method evaluation was conducted: semi-structured interviews, surveys and focus groups. In this study, both parents attributed changes to their parenting practices to programme participation. This was facilitated by mothers giving programme information to fathers and positive coparent relationships. Ideally, both parents would attend every session; however, it is posited that this may not always be necessary for promoting positive parenting. Implications to support families are discussed.

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