Social economic effects of children

When Both Parents are Employed Socio-economic conditions in
North America have contributed to the need for dual incomes
for families. Economically, “the number of two parent
families below the poverty line would increase to an
estimated 78% if they were to become single income
families.” (Ontario Women’s Directorate 9) Socially, it was
the norm, in the past, for women to stay at home having a
more expressive role in the family; taking care of the
children and providing emotional support for the family.

Presently, women feel that their traditional roles as child
bearers and homemakers must be supplemented with a sense of
achievement outside the home. Recent studies reflect an
increased trend towards the dual income family and
projections are for this trend to continue. In 1961, 30% of
married women were working; in 1978, 38% were employed; by
1981 50% were working and in 1985, 55% held paying positions
outside the home. (Jarman and Howlett 95) In 1961, only 20%
of all two parent families were! dual wage families, but by
1986, more than half (53%) of all families were dual earning
families. (Ramu 26) In light of the fact that the majority
of two parent families in the 1990’s have also become dual
wage earning families, it is important to examine the
effects of such a phenomenon on society in general and on
child rearing in particular. Children acquire their goals,
values and norms based on the way that they view or identify
with their parents as well as from the quality and amount of
care, love and guidance given to them by their parents.

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Parents who work present a different image to their children
than parents who do not work. In addition, wage earners,
including parents, must (in most cases), be absent from the
home during the day. When considering these modifications to
the family dynamics, there is considerable basis for proof
that the positive effects outweigh the negative effects
experienced by offspring in families were both parents are
employed. The working parent occupies an important exemplary
role within the family. Working parents often command
considerable respect from their children, because they
demonstrate the worthy characteristics of industriousness,
social compatibility, self reliance, maturity, intelligence
and responsibility. Because children identify with their
parents, the feedback from such positive influences tends to
be positive as well because many of these positive
characteristics are imparted upon them. A child who observes
the competent coping abilities of a working parent learns in
turn, how to cope with life’s problems. At first this may
translate into an improved sense of self-reliance and
independence for the child as well as an improvement in the
ability to be socially compatible. As the child grows, it
can further render a child more emotionally mature and hence
more competent in dealing with responsibility and task
completion such as is needed for school work and extra
curricu! lar activities. A study by Hoffman in 1974
corroborates these observations and therefore one can
conclude that, in general, the working parent provides a
very positive role model for the child in a family where
both parents are employed. (Hoffman 18) Attitudes of working
parents pertaining to achievement, responsibility and
independence affect both male and female offspring. There
seems to be more beneficial effects felt by daughters of
working women than by sons; however, this neither implies
nor concludes that males do not receive some positive
effects due to maternal employment. (Spitz 606) Hoffman has
concluded that daughters of employed mothers tend to be more
independent. (Hoffman 73) This tendency may result from the
fact that in the mother’s absence, a daughter is often left
to cope with caring for herself: This promotes her
independence and self-reliance. At the same time, the
daughter may also be left with the job of looking after a
younger sibling, helping to promote her sense of
responsibility. Significant too, is the fact that daughters
of working mother’s tend to be more decisive about their
futures than sons. Further studies have demonstrated that a
mother’s employment status and occupation tends to be a good
predictor of the outcome of the working mother’s daughter,
since daughters tend to follow in their mother’s footsteps.

Typically, working mothers held higher educational
aspirations for their children and furthermore, most
daughters tend to achieve higher grades in school. (Spitz
606) It is also important to note that both male and female
children acquire more egalitarian sex role attitudes when
both parents work. Boys with working mothers showed better
social and personal skills than boys of non-working mothers.

On a negative note, middle-class boys tend to do worse in
school when their mothers worked. (Shreve 118) As well, boys
whose mothers work tend to have strained relationships with
their fathers due to their perceptive devaluation of their
father’s worth as an adequate bread-winner. (Adele 32) One
can conclude that males may be negatively affected when
their mothers work, but males and, to a greater degree,
females are affected in many positive ways with regards to
achievement in independence and responsibility. Adequate
child care is a necessity for parents who both work. It is
often complicated to balance both the parent’s and child’s
needs when using child care. However, it may be possible to
satisfy the demands of both if forethought and prudence are
applied. Many cultures worldwide realize that a child’s
nurturing can be acquired from a variety of sources
including both adults and older children. Children can be as
comfortable with grandparents, neighbors, professional child
care attendants, and babysitters as they are with their own
mothers. In fact, a variety of sources for nurturing not
only provide the child with a variety of role models, such
as in the case of grandparents, but it also provides them
the ability to compare these role models and to choose the
appropriate characteristics which they will adopt as their
own. One third of all children are looked after by
relatives; 50% of all children in child care situations are
being looked after by someone unrelated! to them. (Petterson
533) To date, in Ontario as in all of Canada, there is no
adequate government policy for child care. Funds ear marked
for this area of social assistance are either
misappropriated or abused. Even now, in 1995, the government
of Canada has not yet recognized the fact that children are
a community responsibility and that they should start
treating them as such. (Monsebraaten A1) In the end, the
responsibility of choosing the proper type of child care
lies with the working parents. Proper research of the day
care facilities and employees should include an
investigation into the availability of superior care in a
quality program where rearing beliefs and practices mirror
those of the parents. When both parents feel confident in
their day care choices, they will view them as supportive
influences rather than intrusive ones. This positive
attitude will provide the child with positive feedback
because when parents feel good about their lives and
decisions, they communicate their satisfaction to their
children in the form of positive feelings. These positive
feelings are then internalized by the children. (Rodman 576)
Difficult as it may seem, it is clear that if forethought,
research and adequate investigative techniques are applied,
parents can successfully select the child care facility
and/or individual most appropriate to fulfill both their own
an! d their child’s needs. Parents who work alter several
traditional methods of parenting. The aspects of parenting
which are most affected are quality, quantity and content.

When considering content, a major point is the preparation
of the child for a society in which those children will be
adults. Currently, a child has a 50% chance of becoming
divorced, and in the case of a female, a 50% chance of
becoming a single mother as well as the probability of
becoming a member of a dual wage earning family. (Shreve 61)
Working parents are in a good position to prepare their
children for that type of lifestyle. Healthy family dynamics
including team work, sharing, and responsibility, are more
easily adopted when they are already familiar. As far as
quality of parenting, it has been observed that women who
are highly satisfied with their roles whether they work or
not, display higher levels of warmth and acceptance than do
dissatisfied mothers and these positive feelings are
reflected in their ! relationships with their siblings.

(Lerner and Galambous 44) Finally, when considering quantity
of time spent on parenting when both parents work, it has
been concluded by Hoffman in 1974 that there is no
consistent evidence of deprivation felt by children of
employed mother’s. In fact, mothers who were better educated
and employed outside the home spent more time with their
children even at the expense of their own leisure and sleep
time. (Hoffman 76) Hoffman also proposes that the time spent
on employment simply substitutes for time previously spent
on needless or less important household tasks which can be
performed by others or not at all. Researchers question the
validity of measuring the number of hours a mother spends
with her children. Hoffman found that while working mothers
spent less time with their children , the time spent with
them was more likely to be in direct contact with them.

Mothers who are at home full time spend only 5% of their
time in direct in! teraction with their children. (Hoffman
75) Employed mothers spend about the same time reading to,
playing with and otherwise paying attention to their
children as do mothers who stay at home. (Hoffman 76)
Because society has changed, the family’s function within
society has changed as well. Parental roles have been
modified to meet these changes. Today, the family’s most
important task is to provide emotional security in a vast
and impersonal world. Working parents often possess the
skills necessary for responding adequately and creatively to
the increased stress placed on children to succeed in such
an environment. Parents who work must, out of necessity, be
adept at providing fresh, innovative and effective modes of
parenting even when time with the child is limited. The
debate as to whether or not both parents should work or not
is really not significant anymore. Both parents are working
and will continue to do so and children are not being raised
today in the same way as they were in the past. The next
generation of parents will be more confident than their
predecessors and they and their children will probably never
experience the dichotomous feelings that t! oday’s parents
have about the dual income family and it’s effects on child
rearing. Working outside the home and being a good parent at
the same time is possible and in both of these tasks there
is much to value and treasure. When Both Parents are
Employed Socio-economic conditions in North America have
contributed to the need for dual incomes for families.

Economically, “the number of two parent families below the
poverty line would increase to an estimated 78% if they were
to become single income families.” (Ontario Women’s
Directorate 9) Socially, it was the norm, in the past, for
women to stay at home having a more expressive role in the
family; taking care of the children and providing emotional
support for the family. Presently, women feel that their
traditional roles as child bearers and homemakers must be
supplemented with a sense of achievement outside the home.

Recent studies reflect an increased trend towards the dual
income family and projections are for this trend to
continue. In 1961, 30% of married women were working; in
1978, 38% were employed; by 1981 50% were working and in
1985, 55% held paying positions outside the home. (Jarman
and Howlett 95) In 1961, only 20% of all two parent families
were! dual wage families, but by 1986, more than half (53%)
of all families were dual earning families. (Ramu 26) In
light of the fact that the majority of two parent families
in the 1990’s have also become dual wage earning families,
it is important to examine the effects of such a phenomenon
on society in general and on child rearing in particular.

Children acquire their goals, values and norms based on the
way that they view or identify with their parents as well as
from the quality and amount of care, love and guidance given
to them by their parents. Parents who work present a
different image to their children than parents who do not
work. In addition, wage earners, including parents, must (in
most cases), be absent from the home during the day. When
considering these modifications to the family dynamics,
there is considerable basis for proof that the positive
effects outweigh the negative effects experienced by
offspring in families were both parents are employed. The
working parent occupies an important exemplary role within
the family. Working parents often command considerable
respect from their children, because they demonstrate the
worthy characteristics of industriousness, social
compatibility, self reliance, maturity, intelligence and
responsibility. Because children identify with their
parents, the feedback from such positive influences tends to
be positive as well because many of these positive
characteristics are imparted upon them. A child who observes
the competent coping abilities of a working parent learns in
turn, how to cope with life’s problems. At first this may
translate into an improved sense of self-reliance and
independence for the child as well as an improvement in the
ability to be socially compatible. As the child grows, it
can further render a child more emotionally mature and hence
more competent in dealing with responsibility and task
completion such as is needed for school work and extra
curricu! lar activities. A study by Hoffman in 1974
corroborates these observations and therefore one can
conclude that, in general, the working parent provides a
very positive role model for the child in a family where
both parents are employed. (Hoffman 18) Attitudes of working
parents pertaining to achievement, responsibility and
independence affect both male and female offspring. There
seems to be more beneficial effects felt by daughters of
working women than by sons; however, this neither implies
nor concludes that males do not receive some positive
effects due to maternal employment. (Spitz 606) Hoffman has
concluded that daughters of employed mothers tend to be more
independent. (Hoffman 73) This tendency may result from the
fact that in the mother’s absence, a daughter is often left
to cope with caring for herself: This promotes her
independence and self-reliance. At the same time, the
daughter may also be left with the job of looking after a
younger sibling, helping to promote her sense of
responsibility. Significant too, is the fact that daughters
of working mother’s tend to be more decisive about their
futures than sons. Further studies have demonstrated that a
mother’s employment status and occupation tends to be a good
predictor of the outcome of the working mother’s daughter,
since daughters tend to follow in their mother’s footsteps.

Typically, working mothers held higher educational
aspirations for their children and furthermore, most
daughters tend to achieve higher grades in school. (Spitz
606) It is also important to note that both male and female
children acquire more egalitarian sex role attitudes when
both parents work. Boys with working mothers showed better
social and personal skills than boys of non-working mothers.

On a negative note, middle-class boys tend to do worse in
school when their mothers worked. (Shreve 118) As well, boys
whose mothers work tend to have strained relationships with
their fathers due to their perceptive devaluation of their
father’s worth as an adequate bread-winner. (Adele 32) One
can conclude that males may be negatively affected when
their mothers work, but males and, to a greater degree,
females are affected in many positive ways with regards to
achievement in independence and responsibility. Adequate
child care is a necessity for parents who both work. It is
often complicated to balance both the parent’s and child’s
needs when using child care. However, it may be possible to
satisfy the demands of both if forethought and prudence are
applied. Many cultures worldwide realize that a child’s
nurturing can be acquired from a variety of sources
including both adults and older children. Children can be as
comfortable with grandparents, neighbors, professional child
care attendants, and babysitters as they are with their own
mothers. In fact, a variety of sources for nurturing not
only provide the child with a variety of role models, such
as in the case of grandparents, but it also provides them
the ability to compare these role models and to choose the
appropriate characteristics which they will adopt as their
own. One third of all children are looked after by
relatives; 50% of all children in child care situations are
being looked after by someone unrelated! to them. (Petterson
533) To date, in Ontario as in all of Canada, there is no
adequate government policy for child care. Funds ear marked
for this area of social assistance are either
misappropriated or abused. Even now, in 1995, the government
of Canada has not yet recognized the fact that children are
a community responsibility and that they should start
treating them as such. (Monsebraaten A1) In the end, the
responsibility of choosing the proper type of child care
lies with the working parents. Proper research of the day
care facilities and employees should include an
investigation into the availability of superior care in a
quality program where rearing beliefs and practices mirror
those of the parents. When both parents feel confident in
their day care choices, they will view them as supportive
influences rather than intrusive ones. This positive
attitude will provide the child with positive feedback
because when parents feel good about their lives and
decisions, they communicate their satisfaction to their
children in the form of positive feelings. These positive
feelings are then internalized by the children. (Rodman 576)
Difficult as it may seem, it is clear that if forethought,
research and adequate investigative techniques are applied,
parents can successfully select the child care facility
and/or individual most appropriate to fulfill both their own
an! d their child’s needs. Parents who work alter several
traditional methods of parenting. The aspects of parenting
which are most affected are quality, quantity and content.

When considering content, a major point is the preparation
of the child for a society in which those children will be
adults. Currently, a child has a 50% chance of becoming
divorced, and in the case of a female, a 50% chance of
becoming a single mother as well as the probability of
becoming a member of a dual wage earning family. (Shreve 61)
Working parents are in a good position to prepare their
children for that type of lifestyle. Healthy family dynamics
including team work, sharing, and responsibility, are more
easily adopted when they are already familiar. As far as
quality of parenting, it has been observed that women who
are highly satisfied with their roles whether they work or
not, display higher levels of warmth and acceptance than do
dissatisfied mothers and these positive feelings are
reflected in their ! relationships with their siblings.

(Lerner and Galambous 44) Finally, when considering quantity
of time spent on parenting when both parents work, it has
been concluded by Hoffman in 1974 that there is no
consistent evidence of deprivation felt by children of
employed mother’s. In fact, mothers who were better educated
and employed outside the home spent more time with their
children even at the expense of their own leisure and sleep
time. (Hoffman 76) Hoffman also proposes that the time spent
on employment simply substitutes for time previously spent
on needless or less important household tasks which can be
performed by others or not at all. Researchers question the
validity of measuring the number of hours a mother spends
with her children. Hoffman found that while working mothers
spent less time with their children , the time spent with
them was more likely to be in direct contact with them.

Mothers who are at home full time spend only 5% of their
time in direct in! teraction with their children. (Hoffman
75) Employed mothers spend about the same time reading to,
playing with and otherwise paying attention to their
children as do mothers who stay at home. (Hoffman 76)
Because society has changed, the family’s function within
society has changed as well. Parental roles have been
modified to meet these changes. Today, the family’s most
important task is to provide emotional security in a vast
and impersonal world. Working parents often possess the
skills necessary for responding adequately and creatively to
the increased stress placed on children to succeed in such
an environment. Parents who work must, out of necessity, be
adept at providing fresh, innovative and effective modes of
parenting even when time with the child is limited. The
debate as to whether or not both parents should work or not
is really not significant anymore. Both parents are working
and will continue to do so and children are not being raised
today in the same way as they were in the past. The next
generation of parents will be more confident than their
predecessors and they and their children will probably never
experience the dichotomous feelings that t! oday’s parents
have about the dual income family and it’s effects on child
rearing. Working outside the home and being a good parent at
the same time is possible and in both of these tasks there
Bibliography:

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