Does having working parents harm children?

Currently, most mothers in the U.S. are employed, whether they're working at home or out of the house. This change occurred in conjunction with many other transformations in society, including smaller family size, the increasing instability of marriage, revisions of gender expectations, and an increased stress on personal fulfillment. In a study carried out by researchers from the University of Michigan who compared children whose mother worked to children who were being raised while their mothers stayed at home, it was found that while the daughters of working mothers had higher academic scores, were more open to working in nontraditional fields, and were more independent, sons of working mothers were more likely to act out due to lack of maternal supervision.

Other variables came into play aside from the mother's actual employment, such as how much the father helped at home, whether or not the mother was in telephone contact with the children while she was at work, and if the mother received a sense of well-being from her work. The father's involvement in child care appeared to be why the daughters made academic gains; accountability for the whereabouts of the children was related to the independence of the daughters and whether sons were unsupervised and gravitated more toward peers; and the emotional well-being of the mother affected her mental health, resulting in effective parenting and emotionally balanced children.

The disadvantages of working outside the home are that your child is likely to come down with more illnesses, due to exposure to more people, and you may have feelings of conflict or guilt regarding leaving your child. Since a child's development is mostly influenced by the family's emotional health and the type of child care received, if you're happy with your decision to go to work and you choose quality child care, your child will probably thrive if you decide to work outside the house.