July 25, 2011

Children Aren’t Effected by Working Moms

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Great news for working moms; a new study reveals that there are no significant detrimental effects on a child's social or emotional development if their mothers work during their early years.

For children living with two parents, the impact of the working life of the mother may partly depend on the father's own working arrangements. The ideal scenario for children, both boys and girls, was shown to be where both parents lived in the home and both were in paid employment. However, the researchers discovered that the relationship between behavioral difficulties and employment of the mother was stronger for girls than for boys and that this was not explained by household income, level of mother's education, or depression in the mother.

Homes where the mother was the sole breadwinner, the boys displayed more difficulties at age five than boys living with two working parents; the same was not true for girls. Girls in traditional households where the father was the breadwinner were more likely to have difficulties at age five than girls living in dual-earner households.

"Mothers who work are more likely to have higher educational qualifications, live in a higher income household, and have a lower likelihood of being depressed than mothers who are not in paid work. These factors explain the higher levels of behavioral difficulties for boys of non-working mothers, but the same was not true for girls," Dr. Anne McMunn, the principal researcher of the study, was quoted saying.

Previous research has suggested that children in single-mother households and in two-parent households in which neither parent was in work were much more likely to have challenging behavior at age five than children where both parents were in paid employment. However, household income and maternal characteristics can mitigate the effects of this.

"Some studies have suggested that whether or not mothers work in the first year of a child's life can be particularly important for later outcomes. In this study we did not see any evidence for a longer-term detrimental influence on child behavior of mothers working during the child's first year of life," Dr. McMunn said.

SOURCE: UK Millennium Cohort Study, July 22, 2011