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Table 3 Select illustrative quotes supporting the most salient paternal, maternal, and shared parenting roles

From: “His mind will work better with both of us”: a qualitative study on fathers’ roles and coparenting of young children in rural Pakistan

Themes with supporting quotes Respondent
Paternal role
 Providing
  I go for labor and earn money, and when I come back [home] I bring important things for the child. I bring fruits, like bananas and oranges, cerelac, milk, or vegetables like ladyfinger and spinach. I get these so that he becomes healthy. Family 25, father
  Children tell him [father], “We want this, we want that”. He goes and gets things like ice cream and sometimes chips to make them happy. He takes good care of them. Family 24, mother
 Taking child out  
  I take [child’s name] for outings and show her different things, and then I show her trucks and ask her what that is so that her mind works. I show her the fields and teach her the names of things, like, “This is this, you call this this.” Family 21, father
  I take him [out] so that the environment changes. When I take him out, he will see things because he gets bored at home all day, and he will have a fresh mind. Family 32, father
  When I come home he [child] says to me, “Father take me to the shop”. Then I take him to the shop. He also says that he wants to take the goats outside and play with them or give grains to the cow, so I take him there. Family 8, father
 Playing  
  It’s my responsibility that I play with my child because I’m his father. I give him love and affection otherwise the child will think that my father maintains a distance from me. He’s my child. Family 27, father
  My child enjoys and also waits for me to come and play. My child gets happy and I get happy by seeing the child too. Family 34, father
Maternal role
 Feeding
  Look, out of 24 h, a child is with his mother for 18 h. The mother feeds him, so he is closer to his mother. The mother communicates with the child… a mother’s role is more important. Family 17, mother
  ...because she knows everything about the child, like what he should eat and what he shouldn’t eat. The mother knows better. Family 6, father
 Other child care activities  
  Mother is responsible because she is all the time at home with the child. She knows what her child wants, what doesn’t he want, what he needs, what time will he eat, what time does he sleep, what time the child has to be cleaned, when to give him a bath. All the responsibilities are of the mother. Poor father is earning and he doesn’t know. Family 24, mother
  His mother is more responsible because she spends more time with him. From morning to 6, I am busy. During that time I come home for half an hour, but he stays with his mother more so she will be better able to observe Family 20, father
 House chores  
  He does the outside work and gets everything for me. Cooking the food and feeding him is the mother’s task. A mother is at home so she will do that. She will take more care of a child. A father takes his child for an outing and fulfills his wish. I am at home so I do the chores at home. Family 13, mother
  Mother gives birth to a child, breast feeds him, brings him up, washes their clothes, makes food for them, makes him sleep on time, takes care of his neatness, meaning whatever the task is inside the home that’s a mother’s responsibility. Family 17, father
Shared roles
 Teaching
  I sit and show him books to make him smart. I teach him from the books. I teach him words. I tell him the names of different things. I tell him that this is this color. This is a cat and this is the sound it makes. I explain to him like that. I also take him out to meet my friends so he remembers their names. My wife teaches him when I am not at home. My wife feeds him and after feeding him sits with him and plays and repeats what I have taught. She shows my books and teaches him from that. She shows him a cow and different animal and then makes him remember words and the names of animals. Family 18, father
  I talk to her as much as possible. Everyone likes a child who speaks, and my husband talks to her too. We always talk to her so that she becomes intelligent and learns to speak from childhood. He talks to her so that she becomes intelligent and her mind expands the child becomes smart with age Family 23, mother
Health care seeking
  Mother and father have the task that first they take care of the health. The mother will tell the father what is wrong, and then they will both take him to the doctor. Family 32, father
  Whenever the child is sick, no one other than the father can take care of it. If the child gets sick he would take him to the doctor and would make his wife understand how to provide the child with medicinal dosage. FGD, mothers
  If the child gets sick then mother and father take him to the doctor and get medicine for her. Mother and father together take care of the child because God has assigned these responsibilities to mother and father. Family 26, father