Research: Healthcare Professionals Hesitant to Include Fathers in Parental Support Interventions

  • Healthcare professionals are hesitant to include fathers in parental support interventions.
  • Parental support interventions are designed to improve parenting styles and offer tips and insight for those that may need a hand.
  • Child maltreatment is a real risk that uninformed parents face, and attending these interventions can help parents avoid the risks.
spousal abandonment

"Healthcare professionals need to understand that even if a father does not have custody of their child, they have just as much of a right to be a part of the efforts to improve the support given to the child."

Children of divorce can find themselves in a bit of a pickle. They do not want to alienate either parent and may not fully understand what is occurring. The two most influential individuals in their lives are no longer together, and this change can cause challenges to develop.

When it comes to the risks that children face during and after a parental divorce, it is important to consider the role that both parents play in a child’s development. The parents are active and present, offering encouragement and providing a comforting environment.  Both are ready and able to make decisions in the best interests of the child.

This is why the recent trend of fathers being excluded by child health care professionals in parenting support interventions is so perplexing.

Understanding the research

A recent article in Acta Paediatrica, a peer-reviewed pediatric medical journal, highlighted the role that fathers play in the development of children and how many healthcare facilities have been hesitant to include fathers in formative methods intended for the betterment of child, such as parenting support interventions.

The engagement of both parents is a crucial point to the growth of the child, due to the fact that the close and caring methods of parenting from a father are just as influential on the development and health as that from a mother, according to an earlier study published in Acta Paediatrica that compared fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes.

The early involvement of a father in the care of a child increases the chance of continued engagement as the child grows, and given the benefits of having continued engagement with both parents, it is important that a father is just as included in parenting support interventions.

Learning more about the interventions

According to research published in the Child Abuse and Neglect Journal, parenting interventions go substantially beyond education, in how they address challenges that parents want to solve, improvements of parent-child relations, parental stress reduction, and alternatives to coercive practices.

These types of interventions help provide support to those who need a little help in the parenting department. They help provide insight into how their decisions affect their child and help them make better decisions in the future.

Whether they are divorced or still married, many parents can find themselves struggling with parenthood. They do not wish to negatively affect their child’s development, but without the insight, they may make a wrong decision or two, which can have negative ramifications during a custody case.

Child maltreatment is a real and problematic issue. When parenting goes awry, a parent can benefit from behavior correction, before it adversely affects the health and development of a child.

However, convincing a parent to attend a parental support intervention is not easily feasible. Not only are many healthcare professionals hesitant to include fathers in on interventions specific to the given child, but they are not normalized behaviors. Without being court-ordered to do so, a parent can feel like they have no incentive to attend.

Gatherings that can only benefit a parent already are being offered on many levels. Just like child-birth classes, parental support interventions are designed to be informative ways for a parent to become more knowledgeable and confident in their parenting styles for the betterment of their child.

Healthcare professionals need to understand that even if a father does not have custody of their child, they have just as much of a right to be a part of the efforts to improve the support given to the child. These services are for parents, looking to forge a better understanding of their child’s development, and they should not be discriminated against because of their gender or custodial situation.

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