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How Are Children Affected Both Positively or Negatively by Dual Income Parents?

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Earlier, with the joint family system, raising a child was no a difficult feat at all as there were multiple caregivers for a child apart from the mother. Aunts, uncles, grandparents – everyone helped in the upbringing of the children in the family

Nuclear families have, however, mushroomed and increased all over the country, leaving working parents with almost no family member to leave their child with. This style of parenting came with its own positives and a few downfalls as well. It leads to greater maturity levels and experience that the parents can share with their children, while reducing a considerable time that they could have spent with them.

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When both parents work, some children feel neglected. No matter how hectic your life becomes, you need to set aside time each day for your youngsters. Let them know just how important they are to you, not only through words or gifts but through a commitment of time. Two-parent working families may have more money, but material things and access to costly activities are no substitute for a parent's time

Encourage your children to talk with you about how your job is affecting your relationship with them; if they are upset that you are spending less time with them than in the past, you need to make an extra effort, perhaps developing a ritual of having them call you at work each day at a certain time. Let them know you really want to hear from them each afternoon. It's important to keep in mind that stress at work can find its way home. When parents feel overworked or unappreciated at their job, they may vent their frustration and anger at their children or at each other. And the way parents are supervised at work frequently becomes how they "supervise" their children at home. If you have to abide by many rules and rigid policies at work, you may find yourself running a very structured household with lots of rules. Finally, parents tend to encourage their children to develop skills similar to those they use in their work. For example, parents whose jobs involve autonomy and creative problem-solving are likely to guide their children toward those same types of behaviors, while parents whose work rewards organizing information or materials may value those skills at home. Some parents awaken their families a few minutes earlier each morning so that everyone can eat breakfast together and thus share a few minutes with one another as the day begins. In the evenings they turn off the television set and replace it with family activities like games, sports, music, and conversation. A family with two wage earners can be a positive influence on children. Everyone—both children and adults—will enjoy some of the benefits. Boys and girls will tend to see the world as a less threatening place, knowing that both Mom and Dad are succeeding in the workplace; girls in particular perceive themselves as having greater career options if they have a mother who works. Children also tend to feel proud that their parents have careers. Depending on their after-school child care setting, middle-years children also have greater exposure to other youngsters and new social experiences, which can contribute to their development.

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Especially important, our primary interest concerns possible theoretical explanations for the association between SES and family life. Research dating back to the depression years of the 1930s has confirmed that families often suffer when faced with economic hardship or low SES (e.g., Angell 1936). A crucial and continuing issue concerns the mechanisms that might account for the relationship between SES and family processes, as well as factors that might moderate that relationship

In this review we are particularly interested in theoretical progress during the past decade that improves understanding of the nature of the relationship between SES, family processes, and individual well-being. After reviewing evidence for sometimes opposing theoretical perspectives, we evaluate important new directions for future theoretical developments in this area of research. We also address the methodological requirements for adequately pursuing these theoretical issues. Before turning to these matters, we describe economic trends during the past decade, consider the measurement of SES and social class, and review underlying assumptions of various theoretical approaches. In 2008, mother-headed (single-parent) families, father-headed (single-parent) families, and traditional male-as-breadwinner families also had median incomes that were less than they had been in 2000 (in 2008 constant dollars; U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2009). Married-couple families with both spouses working earn more than any other family structure. In contrast, the median income of mother-headed families was less than half that of married couple families throughout the 2000s. Father-headed households fared slightly better.

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In summary, households with only one employed parent are usually in a lower income bracket than those with two wage earners. Families who live in poverty or just above poverty level have fewer resources available to promote a healthy environment for children. Consequently, low-income families live in less-desirable neighborhoods than higher earners. These living arrangements are often characterized by violence, property crime and fewer educational opportunities. Children from low-income families are also more likely to quit school when they become old enough to get a full-time job and contribute financially to the family.

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U.S. Bureau of the Census. Historical income data: Current Population Survey tables. 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009,

Angell RC. The family encounters the depression. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons; 1936.

Bradley RH, Corwyn RF. Socioeconomic status and child development. Annual Review of Psychology. 2002;53:371–399.

Conger RD, Belsky J, Capaldi DM. The intergenerational transmission of parenting: Closing comments for the special section. Developmental Psychology. 2009

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