The Impact of Mother's Employment
Research on the influence of income and mother's employment suggests that working is not a predictor of negative outcomes and working can have both positive and negative effects on student achievement. Regardless of whether they are single or married, mothers who work full-time often have less time to spend with their children, a condition that may lead to lower achievement and increases in behavior problems at school. For many single-parent families, however, children receive more benefits than harms from their mother's work. In addition to the income working brings into the family, African American children in elementary school actually do better in ...view middle of the document...
It also casts doubt on the Government's efforts to encourage more women to go back to work.
In the first project of its kind, the records of nearly 400 sets of brothers and sisters were analysed using figures from the Government-funded British Household Panel Survey.
Researchers compared the variations in achievement between siblings whose mothers worked during the early childhood of one, but not the other.
This left the amount of time the children spent with their mothers in their pre- school years as the only variable.
It meant that the picture was not distorted, as it has been in some previous studies, by factors such as a mother's class and educational background.
'There is strong evidence of an adverse effect of a mother's full-time employment during the first five years of life on her children's probability of achieving one A-level or more,' the report states.
'The effect ranges between a seven and nine per cent lower probability.'
The research also suggested that every year the mother worked part-time cut the child's chances of getting at least one A-level by three to six per cent. But the negative impact on children was lower if their mothers were highly educated.
The report's co-author John Ermisch, professor of economics at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, said this was probably because such women have better jobs and can afford better childcare.
'They may also allocate their residual time differently than less educated mothers.'
There was also limited evidence that children of parents with higher incomes went on to perform better at school, he said.
'This may be because the parents have higher attainments themselves and there is obviously some genetics going on there, or because they have more income. '
Professor Ermisch said his findings suggested that any political policy which increased pressure on mothers to return to work was misguided.
He added: 'If you are only pushing women into jobs at McDonald's then you may not be doing anybody any good, particularly the kids.'
First off, there’s a long list of studies that have compared the children of working and stay-at-home moms and found no significant differences in terms of cognitive and socio-emotional development. Studies that take class and gender into account, however, have revealed several patterns:
Pro: Girls with working moms tend to do better academically, achieve greater career success, and make more nontraditional career choices.
Pro: Results from Dr. Wladis Hoffman’s own study showed that kids with employed mothers scored higher on achievement tests for language, reading and math, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, and marital status (yes, the study controlled for the mother’s education).
Pro: Girls with working moms tend to be more independent. They also participate more in class, ask more questions, and are more comfortable in...