For parents attending parenting skills groups, it is always encouraged that both partners be involved in the group when possible. This joint effort allows parents to be on the same page and provides consistency for the child. However, there is a lack of research looking specifically at the effects of fathers attending parenting groups.
Recently a new study was published by Tataiana Homen at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, evaluating the impact of the The Incredible Years® (IY) preschool parent program on fathers. In this study, the fathers of thirty-six children were randomly assigned to receive either the IY program or a control group. Researchers then reported on the father’s parenting skills and their children’s behavior.
Results from before the program and six months later showed significant improvements for the fathers attending the IY Parenting Groups. Not only did the fathers’ positive parenting skills improve, but the children’s prosocial behaviors benefited as well! Additionally, these fathers reported an improvement in their family’s quality of life, which is especially important. The fathers were highly involved as shown by great attendance rates. They reported high satisfaction with the program in terms of how their children’s behavior improved. The mothers’ reports followed the same trends as the fathers.
These promising results suggest that father involvement in the parent programs may further promote social support in the family and increase consistency in parenting between mothers and fathers, thereby improving long term positive outcomes for children’s development.
1. Homem, T.C., et al., A Pilot Study with the Incredible Years Parenting Training: Does it Work for Fathers of Preschoolers with Oppositional Behavior Symptoms. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 2014. 12(3).