Study: Working Moms Do Not Affect Their Children's Development

| by Taylor Bell

Working moms often feel guilty about their absence from the home and their children’s lives. However, a study from the Academy of Social Sciences done in the U.K. revealed that children’s literacy, math skills and behavior are not affected by whether their moms are home or not during their infant years.

"The research evidence reflects many changes over the last 40 years," said Heather Joshi, professor of economic and developmental demography at the University of London's Institute of Education, reports CBS News. "There has traditionally been a concern that the employment of mothers comes at the expense of child development. But as the percentage of mothers in work has gone up, any impact on children has diminished."

This finding contradicts many people’s ideas of the mother’s role in the home. According to a 2009 Pew Center survey, 82 percent of men and women think young children are better off if their mothers do not work outside the home or work only part time.

Though the United States Census Bureau reports the number of stay-at-home moms in 2011 decreased from previous years, researchers examined six sets of about 40,000 children over the past four decades and found “there was no difference in cognitive ability or behavior by the age of five in children whose mothers stayed home or worked,” reports CBS News.

Earlier studies had been done that showed that children born between the 1970s and early 1990s had slightly lower literacy scores if their mothers worked. But authors of the study noted “that disadvantage seems to have disappeared for younger generations.”

While the study showed having a working mother did not affect children’s development, Joshi noted to parents that this does not mean children do not experience any effects because of their mothers’ employment.

Source: CBS News