Children across the country have given the thumbs-up to their parents for going out to work, says new research. So finally, working mothers have something to show critics that being at work does not make their children unhappy.
The research, published by Jobcentre Plus, found that 500 primary school children were asked how they felt about their parents having jobs, and nearly three times as many children (46%) say they actually liked their mum or dad going to work, compared to those who didn?t (16%). In fact, almost a third (31%) say that the fact that their parents worked made them feel proud.
Earlier this year, a separate piece of research carried out by One Parent Families on behalf of Jobcentre Plus among lone parents, highlighted that 49% of mothers who were back at work felt more worried about their children as a result.
In contrast, this latest survey, which polled children from both one and two-parent families, revealed that working parents are, on the whole, successful in finding ways to spend quality time with their children: when asked how they felt about their parent working, almost four in 10 children (37%) agreed that their mum or dad still made time for them despite working hard, whereas just 7% thought that their parents didn?t have time for them because of work.
Denise Nixon, a specialist lone parent adviser at Jobcentre Plus, says: “Going back to work can be a difficult step to make if you?re not sure about the impact it?s going to have on your family, either emotionally or financially. Every family is different so we give tailored advice to allow you to decide what works best for you and your children.”
When asked why their parents went to work, children overall displayed a down-to-earth understanding, with 55% saying it was because they needed the money. At the same time, nearly one in five children (17%) believed that their parents worked because they enjoyed it. Older children seemed to admire their parents? efforts most, with the oldest age group (9-11 year olds) being most likely to say they were proud of their parents for working.
The survey findings clearly show that children of working parents still have a lot of fun with them, with most children mentioning several examples, including watching TV/DVDs or playing video games (58%), playing indoor games (50%) and playing outside or riding bikes (48%).
With more than 29 million people in work in the UK, and the numbers on benefits continuing to fall, more and more parents are benefiting from being in work. And the government is helping even more people get off benefits and into employment.
Liz Tucker, counsellor and family relationship expert, says: “It?s only natural to worry about how your child is coping while you?re at work but the truth is that children are generally pretty tough and can adapt very quickly. A working parent can be a positive influence because this establishes a work ethic in the family and also gives kids a chance to be a bit more independent.
“Having a job and being a parent does mean that you have to keep lots of balls in the air but if you can make time each day to enjoy your children, both you and they will feel much more comfortable with the idea of you being back at work.”