Lone parents who return to work worry about the effect on children, but research commissioned by Job Centre Plus shows that most children respond positively.
When primary school children were asked how they felt about their parents having jobs, some 46 per cent said that they actually liked their mum or dad going to work. 16 per cent said they did not like parents working. Almost a third said that the fact that their parents worked made them feel proud.
Earlier research among lone parents found that 49 per cent of those 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 ten children 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.
Responding to a question about why their parents went to work, the 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 believed that their parents worked because they enjoyed it.
Liz Tucker, counsellor and family relationship expert, said: “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.”