Magazine article USA TODAY

Bickering about Baby-With a Doll

Magazine article USA TODAY

Bickering about Baby-With a Doll

Article excerpt

Having expectant parents role play interacting with an infant using a doll can help predict which couples may be headed for co-parenting conflicts when their baby arrives, according to a study in the Journal of Family Psychology.

"The extent to which couples support or undermine each other's interactions with the doll predicts their co-parenting behavior a year later," says coauthor Sarah Sullivan. "We saw the same kinds of behaviors between parents when they were interacting with their baby that we saw a year earlier with the doll. When people first hear about it, many think it is strange. They think it is silly to have adults play with dolls, but couples in our study responded positively to the activity. They were able to take it seriously and it really does predict how they will co-parent."

Lead author Lauren Altenburger stresses that the results have important implications. "Co-parenting has consistently been linked to child outcomes. …

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