By: Yakosu Umana
UPEI student Alex MacDonald is conducting a study to find reasons why fewer men attend parenting seminars. MacDonald helps organize Triple P parenting seminars with UPEI psychology professor Philip Smith. (Photo by Yakosu Umana)
Alex MacDonald wonders why most dads or male guardians don’t attend parenting seminars.
Could it be a busy schedule, or gender roles?
The 21-year-old took a parenting course in the fall of 2017 and only a week was spent on fatherhood.
She was intrigued.
So MacDonald spent more time studying the roles of fathers and men in society.
In her research, MacDonald found only 15 per cent of fathers or male guardians attend parenting seminars or sessions.
Today, the fourth-year psychology major is conducting a study with fathers and male guardians to find out why so few attend.
There are common reasons, MacDonald said.
“Work, where are parenting classes advertised? Who is expected to go?”
MacDonald helped organize a parenting seminar with UPEI professor Philip Smith on Feb. 20.
Of the 17 who attended, six were men.
In a two-parent home, when only one attends a seminar, it can cause a difference in parenting style, MacDonald said.
“You kind of get one parent whose parenting is different from the other and that ends up being confusing to children at times.”
“You know, why does one parent have these rules and expectations and the other doesn’t.”
MacDonald’s research found when both parents go for parenting seminars or education, the benefits are greater.
Although it’s unreasonable if both go and there isn’t childcare available, she said.
Gender roles are an issue as well, MacDonald said. Research shows women do more work at home.
“It’s what we call unpaid work or the second shift. People come home from work and they have to take care of the home.”
There is a perception of parenting being a woman’s duty, she said.
“A lot of times we see dad as someone who helps mom take care of the kids, and not be active as a parent.”
“I think that’s a disservice to men,” she said.
“I think they’re really great parents and it is important to give them the authority to be a parent and know they can handle the responsibility.”
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