Dads! Renovate Your Relationship. Another great resource from Dad Central Ontario

Monday Mar 31, 2014

The transition to parenthood can be a time of stress for couple relationships. Research shows that new parenthood is associated with increases in marital conflict (Belsky and Pensky, 1998) and a decrease in satisfaction with the marriage relationship (Shapiro, Gottman & Carrère, 2000). However, with a few exceptions, information and programming for new parents tends to focus on health, safety, attachment and infant development rather than the couple relationship.

To help fill this gap, Dad Central Ontario has created a new manual-style resource to help fathers navigate the relationship issues of new parenthood. The 20-page booklet, called Dads. Renovate Your Relationship! was adapted from an Australian resource entitled Renovate Your Relationship, A manual for men.

The Australian resource focused on (heterosexual) spousal relationships in general, including communication, listening skills, anger management, emotional skills, and conflict resolution. The Canadian version borrows and adapts some of that material and also adds new material on relationship issues related to new parenthood:

• understanding your partner's experience as a mother

• understanding your own experience as a new dad

• how to be a hands-on dad

• building a relationship with your baby

• sex after baby

• parenting teamwork

Dads Renovate Your Relationship! was written by John Hoffman, Canada's leading writer of father education materials, as part of A Man To Count On, a larger father education projectfocused on intimate partner violence prevention. A Man to Count On was led by Brian Russell, Provincial Coordinator for Dad Central Ontario and Katreena Scott, Canada Research Chair in Family Violence Prevention at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. The project, which was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, also included the development of workshops, videos and fact sheets for fathers and professionals who work with them.

Electronic copies of Dads Renovate Your Relationship are available free-of-charge on the FIRA website in English and French. Hard copies of the manual are available for a nominal charge of $2.00 CDN each from Dad Central Ontario, Unit #2, 30 Bennett Street, Carleton Place, Ontario, K7C 4J9, 613-257-2779 x 108


Belsky, J. & Pensky, E. (1988). Marital change across the transition to parenthood. Marriage and Family Review, 12, 133-156.

Shapiro, A.F, Gottman, J.M. & Carrère, S. (2000). The baby and the marriage: Identifying factors that buffer against decline in marital satisfaction after the first baby arrives. Journal of Family Psychology, 14(1), 59-70.