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Are The Kids All Right? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are the Kids All Right?

Working Moms and Their Children’s Welfare

CBS 11 News

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

Women now comprise 51% of the workforce and the number of working moms who are the sole breadwinners has increased for the third year in a row. But does a working mom negatively impact her child’s development? New landmark research just released by the American Psychological Association says “no.”

Is the mother working outside the home bad for the child?

Absolutely not. In fact, most studies tell us that working women have higher self esteem, are stronger emotionally and financially, and are actually excellent mothers. The children benefit from having a mother who is confident, resourceful and in control of her life – traits they idolize and learn. This landmark study reviewed 69 studies over the last 50 years and found that children whose moms return to work before the child is three do just fine—they don’t show increased anxiety, behavioral problems, or low self esteem. In fact, they flourish emotionally and socially. A happy mother produces a happy child.

But how do mothers feel about these findings?

Ambivalent About Working: No, most working moms are very ambivalent about leaving their kids especially when they’re young. Women are experts at beating themselves up and being the perfect mother is something we expect of ourselves, no excuses. Although most working mothers are pleased to have a job in this economy, they wonder if they are doing the right thing when it comes to their kids. This attitude was confirmed by the Pew Research Center which reported that working women remain conflicted about the competing roles they play at home and at work. We still do twice as much housework and childcare as our husbands despite his increasing contributions around the house.

Lack of Community Support: But what is most interesting is the lack of support many young mothers feel from their communities and families. Young working moms often feel judged by others. Despite the fact that society overwhelming believes that both men and women should contribute financially, working mothers of young children suffer a special penalty. Only 12% of the public says that it’s best for a young child if his mother works full time. This new study now totally shatters this outdated sentiment which has defined generations of mothers.

Are children reaping the rewards of having a working mom throughout their development?

There are several advantages for children with working moms:

More Resources: Working moms provide more financial resources to their children. When you have to cut the pie into fewer pieces, there’s more for each child. These concentrated resources allow children to develop a wide array of skills and interests. Nothing is more important to the mother than the advantages she can provide her children.

More Education, Fewer Kids: As women become better educated, they have fewer kids. So not only do these kids reap the benefits of having more resources, but they have incredible mothers who manage offices, stock portfolios, and surgery rooms. These mothers can pass along their wealth of knowledge, self discipline and resilience to prepare their kids for life!

Confidence and Independence: Research shows that working mothers are generally more confident than moms who stay at home, and children benefit enormously from having an engaged, empowered mother. Children tend to adopt the attitudes and habits of their mothers and the child of a working mom has a decided advantage.

But of course, there are several lifelong benefits to having the mother at home

Without a doubt, remaining home with baby is a wonderful experience and is what most of us long to do if we can afford it. The child luxuriates in having a dedicated caretaker who patiently mentors him on a daily basis. Stay at home moms are talented at providing that stable, predictable and enriched environment that only a mother can really give. It is a wonderful gift to give your child if you can do it, but if there are financial realities that prevail, it is okay to work. There are many strategies in rearing outstanding children. The real secret is being an emotionally intelligent parent who is willing to help the child gather strength and confidence in himself.


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