In the fall of 2015, the Child Health and Parenting (CHAP) Research Group organized and led their first conference for about 30 professionals in the Swedish child health research field.
Most of the attendees were from CHAP or CHESS, with a few extra researchers and professionals sprinkled in (e.g. Uppsala’s barnombudsman).
Topics discussed were typically informative regarding various research projects, as opposed to specific outcomes of a particular study (although these results were also sometimes presented).
The conference was one day, and included a fabulous lunch and fika. Since it consisted of a smaller gathering, the lunch and fika breaks gave ample opportunity to speak with other colleagues and (re)establish relationships.
All in all, the Barnhälsovårdens nationella forskningsnätverk first conference was a huge success, and I look forward to there being more of these conferences.
I presented the only English seminar on preliminary results of a replicated study regarding Child Health nurses’ attitudes of fathers’ involvement at the child health centers.
It turns out that the Child Health nurses are now more accepting of fathers compared to a decade earlier regarding four main points:
- Mothers are instinctively better at caring for infants than fathers.
- Fathers must learn what mothers know intuitively.
- Fathers are as sensitive to infants’ needs as mothers.
- Except breastfeeding, there are no differences between mothers’ and fathers’ ability to relate to and care for their infant.
In addition, unlike Massoudi et al., age no longer predicts their views of fathers, suggesting that those with the most traditional views after retired or changed positions.
However, Child Health nurses are still much more likely to talk about parenthood with mothers (89%) than with fathers (30%).
So, although their attitudes have become more egalitarian regarding mothers’ and fathers’ caring abilities, they still provide significantly more support to mothers.
There are also differences regarding the amount of support Child Health nurses provide based on the socio-economic status of the neighborhood, with poorer and middle income areas providing more support to parents than wealthier areas.
Change towards equality in parenting is happening on all fronts, but within the Swedish child health field, it is slow progress.