Monday, May 12, 2003

British Study Reveals: Children Do Equally Well With Working and Stay-at-Home Moms

The BBC News reports a study that found that in terms of psychological well-being and behaviour, young children of working mums do just as well as those with mothers who stay at home.

A study of children in their first three years of life found that those who were looked after in nurseries suffered "no measurable psychological or behavioural ill effects because of their mothers' absence".

The result of the ongoing battle between mothers who work outside and those who are at home is officially a draw, they concluded.

The researchers looked at the development of children up to the age of three in terms of how active they were and in terms of their emotionality - how likely they were to be moody or fussy for example.

They found no difference between the development of children of working mums and of those who stayed at home - an active baby would develop into an active child, for example.

They measured the stimulation babies received and found that this was the same whether they were in day care or were looked after by their mothers at home.

Professor Dieter Wolke, from the research project, said women who went out to work still spent 50% of their time playing with their children or talking or singing to them.

Although fathers generally spent less time with their children, this increased the more hours a mother worked, Professor Wolke said.

The article also goes on to make an interesting comment about "quality time" (and, I have to say, one I agree with):

He said he did not agree with advocates of the concept of "quality time," - the idea of setting aside time to fully devote to a child - because young children were not predictable.

"You can't switch them on and off. If they are in the mood they will engage with you but if they are not, they won't," he said.

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