The Effects of Working Mothers on their Children
One mother expresses her personal experience and opinion on the effects of her employment on the children I am happy to see support for the mom who wants to work outside of the home. By my children seeing me go to work, I am teaching them the values of hard work, commitment, and responsibility. I am also showing them that mothers and fathers share in all responsibilities of raising a family, financial and housework. There is no doubt in either my mind or my child s that the first priority is each other. Out times together are positive. I have seen too many stay at home moms yelling at their children and worse, the children yelling at their mothers. I do not think this is the message that stay at home moms like to give. Their lives are now more enriched, never been happier, and that they are more fulfilled. Actually, I think a lot of stay at home moms justify their laziness and lack of ambition by saying they are staying at home for the benefit of the children (abcnews.com 2).
For many years women have believed that if they returned to work after having children, their children would be harmed by the lack of a mother s presence. This belief is no longer true. Studies have shown, Despite the declining population of young people, the number and proportion of children with working mothers rose steadily during the past decade (Kamerman 13). In fact, 1979 was the first time more U.S. children lived in families with a mother in the labor force than in families with a mother who was a full-time homemaker (Kamerman 13). Mothers no longer have to worry; they are free to choose the career path they want to follow. Mothers can make this decision with confidence because experts believe that a mother who works has a positive effect on her children. Children with mothers in the workforce are taught responsibility, independence, the importance of an education, and also social skills that are acquired from day-care.
There are still a few experts that argue children are negatively effected by the absence of their mother. They believe that this absence can cause an attachment disorder. Some also report that the lack of their mother can make it harder for a mother and child to form an effective relationship. A recent study suggested Returning to work later and having more breaks in employment was associated with more compliant and better behaved children (Recer 2). However, this same study also noted that the difference was very tiny and disappeared by the age of 5 (Recer 2). The effect of a working mother on her children has always been a controversial issue that experts have argued for decades.
The book Families that Work assures mothers that the change in maternal roles can only have positive effects, helping children to become more responsible and more independent (Kamerman 8). Children of working mothers often complete some of the tasks that the mother would normally perform. For example many children with two working parents learn more quickly to clean their rooms, fix their own snacks, and pick out their own school clothes. These children also learn to rely on themselves or further research for answers to the night s homework questions. A study conducted in March of 1979 clearly indicated that being assigned chores around the house and yard is a developmental process (Gerstel 208). This amount of responsibility can teach a child many lessons that he will use for the rest of his life with family and career.
Independence is an important value that children must be taught in order to become successful. An expert in the field of child psychology, J. McCord expresses his beliefs that working mothers stress independence training more than do non-working mothers (Hoffman 145). Independence allows a child or teenager to determine what he wants from his life. This can help a child set his own goals and also make him strive toward these goals. A child who is dependent on his parents throughout life can have problems when he is forced to experience life without his parents. A teenager must be able to successfully and happily live without being constantly dependent on parents and other adults for money, decision making, as well as simple every day tasks.
A good quality education is a necessity for children that want to thrive in the working world. A child often looks at a working mother as a very influential role model. A working mother has a great effect, especially on a female child, maternal employment affects the female child s concept of herself and the behavior expected of her (Hoffman 129). Studies have also proven that the children of a working mothers have higher academic and career aspirations and show a higher level of achievement than the children of a non working mothers (Hoffman 134). Children learn almost everything from their parents, which is why it is important that parents provide an adequate and accurate role model for the children to follow. Children whose parents are not educated often do not feel the need to be educated themselves. Financial security is another factor that determines whether or not a child attends college. A well-known author in the field of child psychology explained, Possibly extra money in the house would make it easier for children of employed women to plan on college. (Hoffman 158). Louis Hoffman also states many employed mothers, often indicate they are working solely to help finance their children s college education (Hoffman 158).
High quality day care centers provide opportunities for exploring and creating, for positive social interactions, and for language learning. ABC news reported that recent studies have proven The higher the quality of child care in the first three years of life the greater the child s language abilities at 15, 24, and 36 months (Schmid 2). Thousands of preschoolers live in two different worlds; that of their family and that of the day care center. In fact many of these preschoolers spend most of their waking hours at the day care center. Effective social skills are an important part of a child s life; these skills are often taught and stressed at day care centers. Children in day care interact with other kids on a constant basis; this interaction allows the children to enhance their communication and motor skills. Another advantage of group care is the friendships that children develop with their peers during the care. One expert observed that children s contacts with each other often develop a sibling-like quality (Webb 43). Some children involved in this study even went to one another s homes to have dinner, to play on weekends, and occasionally, to stay for the night.
The mother who works as a professional has an extremely different influence on her children than one who works in a less intellectually demanding job or one who does not work at all. Children learn from the environment and the people that they are exposed to in life, especially in the early stages. When children are exposed to hard working parents it helps them to appreciate the value of responsibility and independence. The importance of a good education is immeasurable and is also a necessity for a child to grow into a prosperous adult. Another important factor that affects a child is the day care environment that the child is exposed to on a daily basis. A good day care provider can teach a child many skills. A child can also learn from the other children that they spend many hours with in day care.