Co-Responsibility in Parenting

Co-responsibility in parenting is essential when it comes to raising a child. Learn how to implement this strategy right from the start.
Co-Responsibility in Parenting
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Although more and more women are joining the workforce around the world, household chores are still not being distributed properly, leaving women carrying most of those responsibilities as well. In addition, co-responsibility in parenting has yet to become the norm, which ends up hurting everyone involved.

To ensure children are getting proper emotional development, they need both of their parents to be present in their lives. However, this doesn’t always happen or there’s a lot of balance. That’s because people are still adhering to traditional gender roles in society, which makes it difficult for men to play a role in their kids’ childcare. The good news is that there’s certain measures you can take to remedy that issue.

Co-Responsibility in Parenting

Why has co-responsibility in parenting not caught on?

When a couple has children, the children belong to both parents. Therefore, it would be normal to expect that both mothers and fathers play an active role in raising their child and in their daily lives.

However, the truth is that women spend much more time raising children than men do. They dedicate their time, energy and mental resources to parenting, and there’s a number of reasons why.

First, some women may find it difficult to share this responsibility. It’s common for mothers to think that no one can take care of her children as well as she can, not even their father. Many mothers think they’re the only ones capable of taking care of the children, organizing their daily routines, and showing them the love and affection they need.

In addition, they may underestimate their partner or think their way of doing something is wrong. As a result, they end up doing everything in terms of parenting. 

Other times, it’s the fathers themselves who aren’t willing to share co-responsibility in parenting. There are many men who continue to prioritize work over family life. Also, there are some men who still think that childcare is an inherently female task. Therefore, they stay in the background when it comes to raising their children.

This idea is only pushed further by the fact that, during the first months of the baby’s life, the mother has a more relevant and irreplaceable role. Right from the start, this establishes an unbalanced dynamic that some couples maintain as the child continues to grow. 

Why is co-responsibility in parenting important?

It’s clear that taking responsibility for every aspect of raising a child can be exhausting and stressful for women to deal with. However, this situation also hurts fathers because they’re losing the opportunity to establish deeper and more meaningful bonds with their children.

Above all, it’s a detriment to the kids who will suffer from the physical or emotional lack of one of the main figures in their lives. 

How to establish co-responsibility

To establish co-responsibility in parenting, it’s important that both the mother and father are committed to doing so. In addition, you can follow a series of guidelines that will help you achieve this goal:

  • Establish a good dynamic from the beginning. It’s true that when the baby is a newborn, the role a mother plays is irreplaceable. However, even though the father can’t breastfeed, he can still do many other tasks like bathing or changing the baby’s diapers. It’s important that the father gets involved right from the beginning.
Co-Responsibility in Parenting
  • We don’t all have the same qualities, so it’s always a good idea to take advantage of each parent’s strengths. For example, one of you may be good at organizing and the other might excel at comforting the child. Maybe one parent enjoys reading a story to your child at night and the other likes playing with them more. Talk to your partner about your strengths and preferences. This will help you feel more comfortable about your roles as parents.
  • Forget criticism. Remember that there’s more than one right way to do things and that you and your partner are a team. Therefore, you should try to not criticize each other’s parenting styles. Instead, you should support them. And, it’s essential to always use dialogue, understanding and mutual reinforcement. 

In conclusion, co-responsibility in parenting is natural and beneficial for the whole family. Adjusting to parenthood isn’t easy and it takes time, trial and error. However, working as a team will be an excellent starting point.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.