Coparenting in the feeding context: perspectives of fathers and mothers of preschoolers

Eat Weight Disord. 2020 Aug;25(4):1061-1070. doi: 10.1007/s40519-019-00730-8. Epub 2019 Jun 12.


Purpose: This study examined how fathers and mothers coparent around child feeding.

Methods: Father-mother pairs (N = 30) of preschool-aged children (M child age = 4.1 years old) participated in joint or group interview sessions.

Results: Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: (1) couples' division of labor regarding feeding tasks seemed to align with stereotypical gender roles; (2) couples noted that they attempted healthier family eating habits in comparison to families of origin and recognized the influence of extended family on their attempts at healthier feeding; (3) couples agreed on the importance of family mealtime, routines, and healthy meals, yet disagreed on strategies to limit unhealthy foods and achieve harmonious family meals.

Conclusions: This study identified processes of coparenting and child feeding areas that were particularly challenging to manage among parents, which could be important targets for childhood obesity interventions.

Level of evidence: V, descriptive study.

Keywords: Child; Coparenting; Couple; Father; Feeding; Mother.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fathers*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Mothers
  • Parenting