Fathers’ Involvement with Young Children in Rural Orissa: As Mothers See It
The present research study which investigated participation of fathers in child rearing in rural low-income families in Odisha provides a glimpse of this relatively unexplored context within the larger body of Indian fatherhood research. The objective was to find out whether providing training to mothers in ‘early childhood development’ would have a spin-off in terms of enhanced fathers’ participation in child rearing. Fathers’ involvement as reported by the mothers was significantly more in the experimental group as compared to the control group in routine physical care activities of the child and in providing cognitive stimulation to the child by acts such as talking with the child and responding to the child’s questions, narrating stories, taking the child along on outdoor visits and specifically teaching names of objects and relationship terms. No differences were observed between the experimental and control groups in terms of playing with the child or providing love and nurturance through hugging and cuddling. In terms of actual numbers, however, the percentage of fathers in rural areas who are involved in providing cognitive and affective stimulation was low. Nonetheless, given that positive findings have been obtained even though enhancing fathers’ involvement was not a stated objective in mothers’ training, this study points towards the great potential of involving fathers in child rearing through concerted and planned efforts.
KeywordsFather involvement Rural Orissa Mothers’ view on fathers Fathering young children
This chapter is based on an evaluation study conducted by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Research, Jamia Millia Islamia, for Hands to Hearts International, USA, in the period 2013–2014. The study was titled ‘Evaluating Efficiency of Intervention with Mothers through Changes in Parenting Practices, Community’s Attitudes towards Children and Children’s Health and Nutrition Indicators in Selected Districts in Odisha, India’. The contribution of faculty and staff of the centre to the study is gratefully acknowledged, especially Dr. Renu Singh, Dr. Saba Firdos, Dr. Sufia Azmat, Dr. Prachi Vashishtha, Dr. Seema Naaz, Dr. Nimisha Kumar and Dr. Neelima Chopra, as also the support in statistical analysis provided by Mr. Akash Mehrotra, translation of tools by Prof. U. N. Dash and data collection by the research team.
- ARNEC. (2012). Supporting positive father involvement in the care and development of children in the Asia Pacific region. Synopsis of ARNEC e- Discussion # 4. Retrieved on November 24, 2017, from http://www.arnec.net/ntuc/slot/u2323/e-discussion/Father%20Involvement%20E-Discussion%20Synopses_final-web.pdf
- Census of India. (2011). Odisha: Executive summary. Government of India. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011census/PCA/PCA_Highlights/pca_highlights_file/Odisha/Executive_Summary.pdf
- Centre for Early Childhood Development and Research. (2014). Evaluating efficiency of intervention with mothers through changes in parenting practices, community’s attitudes towards children and children’s health and nutrition indicators in selected districts in Odisha, India. New Delhi: Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Nagar.Google Scholar
- Chaudhary, N. (2013). The father’s role in the Indian family – A story that must be told. In D. W. Shwalb, B. J. Shwalb, & M. E. Lamb (Eds.), Fathers in cultural context (pp. 68–94). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Qin, D. B., & Chang, T. F. (2013). Asian American fathers. In N. J. Cabrera, N. J, & C. S. Tamis Le Monda (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 261–278). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Roopnarine, J., & Suppal, P. (2003). Kakar's psychoanalytic interpretation of childhood: The need to emphasize the father and multiple caregivers in the socialization equation. In D. Sharma (Ed.), Childhood, family and socio-cultural change in India: Reinterpreting the inner world (pp. 115–137). New Delhi: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Roopnarine, J. L., Talukder, E., Jain, D., Joshi, P., & Srivastav, P. (1992). Characteristics of holding patterns of play, and social behaviours between parents and infants in New Delhi. Developmental Psychology, 26(2), 867–873.Google Scholar
- Shoppe Sullivan, S. J., brown, L. G., Cannon, E. A., Mangelsdorf, S. C., & Sokolowski, M. S. (2008). Maternal gatekeeping, coparenting quality, and fathering ehavior in families with infants. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(3), 389–398. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3188.8.131.529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Shukla, A. (1998). Father’s role in child care: Knowledge, beliefs and practices. Unpublished master’s thesis. Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Baroda, India.Google Scholar