Co-parenting includes the ways parents support or undermine their partner's parenting and how parents manage their relationship in the presence of their children, whether in intact or divorced families. The study of co-parenting addresses the question of how interactions between family members affect children's development. Focus is on the mutual investment and engagement of parents in child rearing. Co-parenting is somewhat, but not completely, influenced by the quality of the parents' relationship with each other. Through methods including observations of family interactions and parental self-report, researchers study different aspects of co-parenting, including hostility-competition; warmth between parents, responsiveness, and cooperation; communication, conflict, help, and support. Research demonstrates that co-parenting affects children's development during the toddler, preschool, middle childhood, and adolescent years. For example, parents' hostility and competition around child rearing when children are infants is related to children's aggression in preschool. Researchers are studying how co-parenting during children's early years sets up patterns of family interactions that affect children's social and emotional functioning over time.
See also: PARENTING; WORKING FAMILIES
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