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(p. 123) Supporting Father Involvement in the Context of Separation and Divorce 

(p. 123) Supporting Father Involvement in the Context of Separation and Divorce
(p. 123) Supporting Father Involvement in the Context of Separation and Divorce

Marsha Kline Pruett

, Carolyn Pape Cowan

, Philip A Cowan

, and Jillian S Diamond

Page of

date: 21 May 2019

This chapter discusses father engagement when parents separate or divorce. It begins with a summary of research on married and cohabiting couples. A burgeoning literature indicates that fathers play an important role in their children’s development, a role that is often quite different than that of mothers. Further, a plethora of recent studies show that when parents have high levels of unresolved conflict, or cold and withdrawn relationships, their children are at risk for behavioral, social, and emotional symptoms, as well as difficulties meeting academic challenges in school. After developing and summarizing these studies as relevant background, some central issues of father involvement when relationships dissolve but co-parenting obligations continue are considered: dilemmas about continuing a collaborative co-parenting relationship even though the partners are in conflict with each other; and special problems of father involvement associated with maternal gatekeeping and establishing overnights with children. Finally, an evidence-based intervention designed to support and enhance father involvement prior to separation and divorce is described, with suggestions about how it could be adapted for separating and divorcing couples.

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