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Do Involved Dads Create Conflict?

Gabrielle Revere

Sharing childcare duties is perhaps the biggest battle in modern-day parenting: Do moms and dads do their equal share in raising their children? Ideally, the duties are split roughly in half, right?

Plus: Why so many moms are mad at dads

This makes the findings of a study conducted by Ohio State University all the more interesting: When dads are more involved in childcare, it creates more, not less, conflict.

Plus: How to make your marriage a happier partnership

Granted, the study examined a limited segment of the population: 112 Midwestern families, tracked when the children were four years old, and then a year later. But it ultimately found that when dads were more involved with playtime activities, there were fewer co-parenting squabbles. When dads picked up slack on childcare tasks, like diaper changes and bedtime routines, that's when the bickering picked up.

Plus: Why dad's parenting technique can work better

Does this mean a parenting relationship is most harmonious when mom handles all the "dirty work" while dad gets all the fun? The writer who reported this study for made a valid point on this thought:

"Who says you have to equally share all the parenting duties? I do the laundry; my husband more often presides over bathtime. I am the homework guru; he packs the lunches."

Plus: The chore wars

It seems to me that splitting tasks in general, rather than dividing the labor of each one in half, can lead to a strong co-parenting relationship.

How do you split the parenting chores in your home?