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Working mothers 'do no harm to children's behaviour'

25 Jul 2011

A study has confounded the widespread view that if mothers work during the early years of a child’s life, it may have detrimental effects on their social and emotional behaviour.

The study conducted at University College London examined data on 12,000 children over a period of five years and concluded that the best arrangement existed where both parents lived and worked at home.

Girls whose mothers did not work showed more difficulties at age five than those with employed mothers, researchers said.

These “difficulties” were regarded as behavioural problems including hyperactivity, aggression, clinging, and nervousness affecting children between the ages of three to five, on which mothers were asked to comment.  

Lead researcher Anne Mcmunn added that the findings can be explained by the fact that mothers who constituted part of the labour force tended to be better educated, living in households with higher incomes and were less likely to be depressed.

But the study also found that boys in homes where the mother worked but the father did not were more likely to have behavioural problems too.

This suggests that significance can be granted to gender in family role model processes.

Nevertheless, Sally Russell, co-founder of the Netmums social networking website said:

“This latest study will be reassuring and very welcome news for all those millions of working parents.”

You can read the full story on the BBC website.

Tags: Adults, Children, Families

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