- by Dr Gowher Yusuf
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- Mar 09 2017
The Transition to Parenthood
The early weeks after a baby enters the family are full of profound changes constant care giving, added financial responsibilities, and less time for couples to devote to each other. In response, gender role of husband and wife usually become more traditional, even for couples strongly committed to gender equality. Mothers change more than fathers as they spend more time at home with the baby; father focus more on their provider role.
For most new parents, the arrival of a baby though often associated with mild declines in relationship satisfaction and communication quality does not cause significant marital strain. Marriages that are gratifying and supportive tend to remain so. But troubled marriages usually become more distressed after a baby is born.
Violated expectations about division of labour in the home powerfully affect new parents’ well being. In dual-earner marriages, the larger the difference between men’s and women’s care-giving responsibilities, the greater the decline in marital satisfaction after childbirth, especially for women with negative consequences for parent-infant interaction. In contrast, sharing caregiving tasks predict grater parental happiness and sensitivity to the baby.
Where can new parents find help?
Special interventions exist to ease the transition to parenthood. For those who are not at high risk of problems, counsellor led parenting groups are highly effective.
High risk parents struggling with poverty, single parenthood, or the birth of a child with disabilities usually need more intensive intervention. Program in which a professional intervener visits the home and focuses on enhancing social support and parenting skills have resulted in improved parent-infant interaction and benefits for children’s cognitive and social development into the middle childhood.
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