Fathers’ Involvement with Young Children in Rural Orissa: As Mothers See It

  • Rekha Sharma Sen
  • Zubair Meenai


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.


Father 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.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indira Gandhi National Open UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Jamia Millia IslamiaNew DelhiIndia

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