ABSTRACT

The present study explored the coparenting experiences of fathers and mothers of infants and toddlers. Eleven couples with at least one child under age six were recruited and interviewed in-depth, and the content of the interviews were inductively analyzed. From the interviews with mothers, 97 themes, 27 categories, and six domains emerged, and from the interviews with fathers, 81 themes, 29 categories, and six domains. The six domains of fathers’ coparenting experiences were 'fathers’ personal and family/workplace factors that influence coparenting experiences', 'taking a step back from the childcare responsibility', 'a sense of unfitness and alienation as a caretaker', 'participating in childcare and bonding with children through relationship building', and 'outcomes of coparenting interactions'. In contrast, the six domains of mothers’ coparenting experiences included 'mothers’ personal and family factors that influence coparenting experiences', 'confusion stemming from ambivalent emotions and attitudes toward childcare', 'unintentional assumption of the roles of evaluator and manager', 'efforts toward cooperative coparenting, and outcomes of coparenting interactions'. Differences and similarities in fathers’ and mothers’ coparenting experiences, implications of the findings, and limitations of the study are also discussed.

KEYWORD

coparenting, inductive analysis, maternal gatekeeping, fathering, couple interaction

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