Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Dads Who Bond With Kids Help Keep Marriage Strong

THURSDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- For dads aiming at marital bliss, a new study suggests just two factors are especially important: being engaged with the kids, for sure -- but also doing a fair share of the household chores.

In other words, just taking the children outside for a game of catch won't cut it.

"In our study, the wives thought father involvement with the kids and participation in household work are all inter-related and worked together to improve marital quality," said Adam Galovan, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Missouri, in Columbia. "They think being a good father involves more than just doing things involved in the care of children."

Galovan found that wives feel more cared for when husbands are involved with their children, yet helping out with the day-to-day responsibilities of running the household also matters.

But Galovan was surprised to find that how husbands and wives specifically divide the work doesn't seem to matter much. Husbands and wives are happier when they share parenting and household responsibilities, but the chores don't have to be divided equally, according to the study. What matters is that both parents are actively participating in both chores and child-rearing.

Doing household chores and being engaged with the children seem to be important ways for husbands to connect with their wives, and that connection is related to better relationships, Galovan explained.

The research was recently published in the Journal of Family Issues.

For the study, the researchers tapped data from a 2005 study that pulled marriage licenses of couples married for less than one year from the Utah Department of Health. Researchers looked at every third or fourth marriage license over a six-month period.

From that data, Galovan surveyed 160 couples between 21 and 55 years old who were in a first marriage. The majority of participants -- 73 percent -- were between 25 and 30 years old. Almost 97 percent were white. Of participants, 98 percent of the husbands and 16 percent of the wives reported they were employed full time, while 24 percent worked part time. The average couple had been married for about five years, and the average income of the participants was between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.

Couples indicated which spouse was generally responsible for completing 20 common household tasks -- or if both or neither of them were responsible. Fathers rated their involvement in their children's lives and mothers noted how involved they felt their husbands were with the kids. Both spouses rated how happy they were with how they divided household tasks and with their marriage.

Men and women differed in how they reported marital quality. For wives, the father-child relationship and father involvement was most important, followed by satisfaction with how the household work was accomplished.

For husbands, satisfaction with the division of family work came first, followed by their wife's feelings about the father-child relationship, and then the degree of involvement the dad had with his children.

For her part, Laurie Gerber, president of Handel Group Life Coaching in New York City, said the study rings true. Women really appreciate getting hands-on help at home, but men don't realize this intuitively because they see things very differently, she said. "If a man wants to get into his wife's good graces he should do a chore," she said. "If a woman wants to get into a man's good graces, she should jump him."

A study published earlier this year in American Sociological Review showed that married men who spend more time doing traditional household tasks reported having less frequent sex than do husbands who stick to more traditional masculine jobs, such as gardening or home repair. While women like getting help, doing too many of the chores may inadvertently turn the husband into more of a helpmate than a lover, the research found.

Rather than basing the choice of chores on traditional roles, Gerber recommends that tasks be divided based on both who cares most about getting the particular job done and who is best at it. "My husband doesn't care if my kids have matching outfits on and I don't care about getting the oil changed," she said. Couples need to sit down and discuss who will be primarily responsible for what. "That stops fights and clears so much air."

For Gerber, it's critical to try not to be influenced by how you were raised, what your culture says you should do or what the gender stereotyping says, but rather, by what you think is right. "Marriage is all about being there for the other person and you work as a team to get the job of the family done," she said.

More information

Learn more about parenting from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Adam Galovan, M.S., doctoral student, University of Missouri, Columbia; Laurie Gerber, president, Handel Group Life Coaching, New York City; March 8, 2013, Journal of Family Issues, online

Reviewed Date: --

This content was reviewed by Mid-Atlantic Womens Care, PLC. Please visit their site to find an Mid-Atlantic Womens Care obstetrician.

Find a pediatrician
Helpful Information
Mid-Atlantic Womens's Care
Health Tips
Being There: Advice for Expectant Dads
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Do Parents Influence Their Kids’ Health Behaviors?
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Making Rules for Children Reinforces Love
Making the Most of Family Moments
Making This School Year Your Child's Best Ever
New Parents...Sore Backs
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Solving Battles at Mealtime
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking Sex with Your Teen
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Children Say 'No' to New Foods
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Breast Milk Collection and Storage
Breast Milk Expression
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother
Breastfeeding Overview
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Diphtheria in Children
Discipline
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Firearms
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Normal Newborn Behaviors and Activities
Osteosarcoma in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.