A five-minute role play done with men before their first child is born is likely to predict the quality of their parenting once the baby arrives, suggests a new study.
For the study, researchers videotaped 182 expectant fathers during their partners’ third trimester to observe how they interacted with a doll that they were told represented their unborn baby.
The participants were rated on their levels of “intuitive parenting” as they played with the doll. Researchers found the exercise helped them predict these fathers’ capacity for positive parenting.
“We were able to detect the capacity for positive parenting in these men before they even became fathers,” lead study author Lauren Altenburger, assistant professor of human development and family studies, Pennsylvania State University-Shenango, was quoted as saying by psychcentral.com.
The intuitive parenting skills were measured as the men interacted with the doll–talking directly to their face, using baby talk, smiling and showing concern for the baby’s well-being.
Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State, said that these intuitive parenting skills can also be taught.
The doll was custom-made and consisted of footed infant sleeper sewn with seven to eight pounds of rice to resemble to weight of a newborn. The head was made of green fabric and sewn onto the footed sleeper.
“We can help expectant fathers learn these parenting skills. Not all parents start out knowing how to do these things, but they can be shown how,” the co-author said.
The study was published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines