He provided an overview of the Family Foundations (FF) program, which he developed 15 years ago and has continued to adapt for families in different contexts. This 8-class program (consisting of 4 prenatal and 4 postnatal sessions) aims to enhance support and coordination in the co-parenting relationship—viewed as the foundation of healthy family functioning. FF has demonstrated short- and long-term positive benefits for parents and children on a range of outcomes, including:
Feinberg said that building positive coparenting relationships also promotes future family resilience: One month into the coronavirus pandemic, parents who were randomly assigned to FF 10 years ago, compared to control parents, reported decreased harsh parenting, sibling conflict, and children’s behavioral problems, according to Feinberg.
He also discussed four domains of parenting teamwork:
- joint family management
- division of labor
- childrearing agreement, and
- support vs. undermining.
“These four aspects build the foundation of parents’ sense of worth, security, and competence,” said Feinberg. Through exercises, homework assignments, and videos, the FF program fosters communication between parents and helps them navigate the new challenges of parenthood.
At all times, but especially during stressful periods such as the pandemic, Feinberg advises parents to prioritize:
- physical and emotional self-care
- mutual coparenting support, problem solving, and coordination.