As any parent knows, raising children is not an easy task. The University of Maine has recently recognized how complicated parenting actually is after they unveiled their new study center which is purely dedicated to the science of parenting.
Family studies professor, Daniel Puhlman says the aim of the center is to research and collaborate on various scientific studies regarding the upbringing of children. "Basically what we're doing is we're processing data, we're having lab meetings where we're talking about research studies, we're doing collaborative work. So it's really a think tank, so to speak," the professor explains.
Puhlman explains that the Parenting Relationships Research Lab is a way of connecting and promoting current parenting research to the public, specifically to doctors and families. His short-term goal is that the center will act as a resource for research in the field, but long-term he hopes to open it to various studies that UMaine can conduct.
In terms of the types of parenting research Puhlman hopes to focus on, right now he's looking into co-parenting and its effects on the family unit and child upbringing, in addition to how to do it properly for the sake of the child/children. "There's some observational work that's being done, but, you know, advancing that, and doing more of that would be really helpful to the field," he explains.
Working closely with the Kids First Center in Scarborough, Puhlman also hopes to help families going through divorce, separation and domestic disputes by providing current research on how to cope and the effects on the children. Not only that, but the center is said to house Puhlman's own work and studies surrounding the damaging effects of poor parenting behaviors on children, in addition to the effects of the legal system on a family's well-being during a separation.
Puhlman has recruited six undergraduate and graduate students so far to help in terms of research studies in the center. The students will receive course credit in exchange for their help at the lab. The Parenting Relationships Research lab is said to open a lot of doors to a not widely studied field, especially in a university setting.