Study shows playing with a doll may help you and your partner to co-parent

Wondering how your relationship will change when you have kids? Try playing with a doll, a research study suggests.

Researchers observed 182 couples, in the third trimester of pregnancy, playing with a life-sized baby doll, and then examined these couples’ interactions with their own babies nine months after birth and the results were intriguing.

The results

Couples who were supportive of each other with the doll tended to be equally positive in their real-life parenting relationship. Those who criticized each other, carried that over when their children came along.

“Some of the couples were very positive, saying nice things to each other about their parenting. With the doll, they might say ‘You’re going to be such a great dad.’ After the birth of the baby, their talk would be very similar: ‘You’re such a natural,’” said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University.

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She continued, “We saw the same kinds of behaviours between parents when they were interacting with their baby that we saw a year earlier with the doll.”

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Co-parenting the doll

“Co-parenting has consistently been linked to child outcomes. When parents fight and undermine each other’s parenting, the child suffers,” said Lead author Lauren Altenburger.

“If we can identify couples who may have problems with their co-parenting before their baby is even born, we may be able to intervene,” she said.

“Even if you and your spouse are completely in sync romantically, that doesn’t necessarily translate to parenthood. While the experiment showed a link to parenting relationships, the couple’s romantic relationship did not”, the researchers noted.

So I guess if you have any future plans to have a family with someone, you should give them a doll to play with?


Originally posted 2014-08-26 14:43:16.