THE IMPACT OF WORKING PARENTS ON MANAGING THEIR FAMILY Based on our observation, there are more than 70% of parents in Malaysian are working or employed. Socio-economic conditions in Malaysia have contributed to the need for dual incomes for families. Economically, “the number of two parent families below the poverty line would increase if they were to become single income families. 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. In light of the fact that the majority of two parent families 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 extracurricular activities. In general, the working parent provides a very positive role model for the child in a family where both parents are employed. 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. This tendency may result from the fact that in the mother’s absence, a daughter is often left to cope with caring for her. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
Other than that, when considering quantity of time spent on parenting when both parents work. 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. 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. 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, are 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 today’s parents have about the dual income family and its 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. As a conclusion, there are some bad and good impact of working parent to their family and children. It is depend on us how to manage the family properly. Wassalam..