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Parental Employment

One factor external to the family, but important to the parenting process, is parental employment. Employment affects parents as individuals since the way they feel about work is often brought home after work, a process called spillover. Parents with very demanding jobs have been found in research studies to shy away from complex parenting tasks such as helping with homework. A disengaged parenting style is one in which a parent seeks to do the minimum required when interacting with offspring. This approach may be more likely when parents are emotionally and cognitively drained from work. Disengaged parenting style has been shown to be related to poor outcomes for children. Jobs also affect parents' skills, attitudes, and perspectives through providing practice at the objective tasks that they perform on the job. From this point of view, jobs shape parents developmentally over time, reinforcing particular strengths and weaknesses.

Parental employment changes the allocation of responsibilities and power in the family. Children may be asked to be responsible for chores at an earlier age when both parents are employed. Although the data are not conclusive, fathers may take on more responsibility for running the household when mothers are employed. The adjustment each family member makes to the time management and effort jobs require of parents determines the effect employment has on children. In other words, with respect to children's development, employment versus nonemployment is less informative than details about the job and family functioning, such as quality of the home environment and parental involvement.

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 6Parenting - Who Is Socializing U.s. Children?, Qualitative Aspects Of Parenting, Parenting Style, Parent-child Interaction - Quantitative Aspects of Parenting