In the second half of the 20th century, the percentage of working mothers in the US has increased from 8.6% in 1940 to 70% in 1996. However, in the past two decades, there has been a steady decline in the number of working moms with the latest statistics showing that 61% of mothers in the US are currently employed. Several studies have tried to understand how these social changes affected children and families with the latest study published in Social Choice and Welfare showing that children of working moms being more sociable. As Lois Wladis Hoffman, Ph.D., explains it in her research article from 1998, we need to understand more about how these social changes affect children and families in order to develop a deeper understanding of developmental psychology.
Shifting Gender Roles and a Child’s Development
Gender roles tend to shift with major social changes and we even have statistics to prove it. As already mentioned at the beginning of this article, the number of women in the workforce has greatly increased over the past century, reaching an all-time high in the mid-90s. As expected, these changes have also affected family life as statistics also show that the number of divorces has also increased with the number of employed women. Social science experts have asked – if and how this affects a child’s development given that women are still considered as the number one caregivers of children. The popular notion is that small children are better off when their mothers are taking care of them full time, but research seems to show otherwise.
A Mom’s Employment Status and a Child’s Social Abilities
The study published in Social Choice and Welfare that we’ve already mentioned at the beginning of this article found that children of mothers that were not working had lower capabilities in social skills, movement, and everyday skills when compared to children of working mothers. The study also found that children in nurseries also had better social skills than children raised solely at home. The researchers from this study believe that the reason why this is so could be that children of working mothers have more opportunities to engage with people outside of home and that this helps expand their social skills. However, the study does not suggest that one parenting style is better than the other but rather provides a link between a child’s socialization and a mother’s employment status.
The Daughters of Working Mothers
Previous research has had similar findings showing that children of working moms seem to be more adept in dealing with the outside world. Lois Wladis Hoffman stated in her own paper on this topic that daughters of working mothers had higher academic and economic achievement than daughters of stay at home moms. According to Hoffman, research also shows that children of working mothers generally had better social adjustment, but that this largely depended on the family’s social class.
A Mother’s Well-Being
Wladis Hoffman also explains in her paper that these findings could be tied to how a mother’s employment status affected her mental health and well-being and how this translated to her parenting style. Apparently, employed mothers reported greater levels of well-being than homemakers and they proved to be more skilled in parenting. This finding could be directly linked to depression as unemployment was often linked to a higher incidence of depression among both men and women.
What Moms Think About all this?
What these findings suggest seems to be that for a child to develop critical social skills, it is better for their mothers to be employed. But some moms seem to think otherwise. An article published recently in abc3340 shares the opinions of women in the Magic City area on this topic. One stay-at-home mom called Maryanne says that children of stay at home moms can be social if their parents make it a priority. She explains that her own children have ample opportunities to socialize despite being homeschooled. On the other hand, Portia Hunt, who is a mother of two has noticed the differences between her children, the younger one who is homeschooled and the older child that attended daycare at one point. What Portia noticed was that her older child was much more skilled and flexible in social situations than her younger child.
Also See: 7 Secrets For Happy Family Memories.
As current and past research show, children are more adept at socializing when their moms are employed full time. The main reason for this being that children of working moms spend more time outside their home and with a greater number of people than children of stay at home moms. What all these facts and figures mean is that stay at home moms should probably look for ways to encourage their young children to socialize and find activities for them to do so. To learn more about family and parenting, moms can look for online resources of this type of education information on sizes like Glozine and similar.