The Coparenting Relationship: Key to Strengthening Fragile Families.

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Rinelli, Lauren.
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National Center for Family and Marriage Research.
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What is Coparenting? The relationship that two individuals, typically the mother and father, have in relation to parenting a child or children is called the coparenting relationship. This relationship is conceptualized separately from the romantic relationship since parents may not be romantically involved yet still cooperate to parent their shared children. This research brief discusses the results of two research questions analyzed with the Fragile Families data. First, among married and cohabiting couples who have just had a shared child: Are father involvement and coparenting associated with a change in relationship quality in the five years after the birth? Second, among cohabiting couples: Are father involvement and coparenting associated with transitions to marriage or separation in the first five years of the child's life? A positive coparenting relationship may reduce the stress typically associated with parenting (i.e., increased responsibility, lack of sleep) and increase the rewards (i.e., more play time, feeling competent in the parental role). The benefits of coparenting may be particularly strong for cohabiting parents who do not have the legal commitment to each other that married couples share. (Author abstract)

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