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Impact of Working Mothers on Children – Is it Really Bad?

I have not found that children of working mothers suffer any permanent damage. Many clinical studies have revealed that children of working mothers develop and grow just as well as those who have mothers that stay at home. Let us consider a few of these studies to view how mothers who are working outside the home can have a negative or a positive impact on their children.

According to Lisa Youngblade, a psychologist with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, “Working moms are more affectionate with their offspring than those who do not have full-time jobs”. They say that working mothers and their children share more affection between them with more maternal hugs and more expressive verbal affection.

Dr. Hoffman, a well-known researcher, reports, “More husbands come forward to share a helping hand and to participate in activities, such as childcare and household works if their wives are working outside the home”. This is what a husband is supposed to do. But most probably, he slips doing so. When a husband finds his wife capable of doing household things all by herself without seeking much help, then the husband does not bother giving time to his family. He even feels that he can skip the household activities because he is working outside the home long hours. When a husband finds his wife working equally hard outside the household, then he decides to share her responsibilities of childcare and household activities. This is how husbands find themselves bonded to the family and feel good about their small but never negligible contributions for household issues. When husbands pay more attention to childcare they in turn are more concerned and motivated. Husbands can teach their children a sense of integrity, more independence, the spirit of fighting against odds in life, professionalism, healthy competition, and avoiding those stereotypical men vs. women competencies.

According to Hoffman, “Having a full-time job is not just good for the children but also for the mother herself”. It has been found that mothers working outside are less prone to depression and stress compared to the non-working mothers. They have a high level of morale which they effectively pass on to their offspring. They are more enriched with confidence and empowerment.

A Study Review -

To study the relationship between the working mothers and the child, several studies were conducted. One such study was conducted by Dr. Harvey. He took four different employment variables into consideration. These included:

  • if the mother worked during the first 3 years of the child’s life
  • how early a mother returned back to work following a childbirth
  • what is the average duration of working hours per week
  • discontinuity of employment

Then Dr. Harvey compared the above variables with five other measures of child outcomes. These included:

  • behavioral issues
  • compliance
  • cognitive development
  • self-esteem of the child
  • academic achievement

Observations made were as follows -

Significant differences were not noticed among children with working mothers and those with mothers staying at home. It is important to note that this was the observation when mothers went to work during the first 3 years of the child’s lives.

A smaller but not very significant difference was observed among children whose mothers returned to work sooner and those whose mothers returned back to work a little later. This data was given for the children between 3-4 years of age. These notable signs were seen to have subsided by the time the children reached over 5-6 years.

Children with mothers working for long hours showed slightly poor results in tests than those with full-fledged maternal care. Again, these issues were also found to be very small and could fade over time.

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