Effects of Working Parents on Child Development

Impact of Working Parents on Child Development

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rashmi Prakash (Psychologist/Psychotherapist)
View more Psychologist/Psychotherapist Our Panel of Experts

Parents are the first teachers in a child’s life and play a pivotal role in shaping their adult lives. With the advent of the family style where both the parents are at work, this parent-child relationship has also faced a positive and negative impact. There is more disposable income for the parents to spend on the child but less time to engage effectively with their children. The effects of both parents working on the children in the modern world are not unknown, but what we can learn is how to effectively sail through it without affecting a child’s development.

How Working Parents Affect a Child’s Development?

Earlier, with the joint family system, raising a child was no 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 the considerable time that they could have spent with them.

How Working Parents Affect a Child’s Development

The below-mentioned points help you get a detailed view of the good effects and problems faced by children of working parents:

1. Positive Effects

Let us first focus on the many positives that the children of parents (both of whom are working) can experience.

  • Quality Lifestyle – With both the parents working, a high-quality lifestyle is more affordable for most households. There is more money that parents could spend on their children for their educational or extra-curricular needs.
  • Life Experiences – Since both parents go out to work, they have a plethora of life lessons and experiences with them to share with their children. This helps the child to have a more mature outlook towards their lives.
  • Valuing Time – As both parents have to go out to work, they most often have very few hours to spend at home with their kids. This teaches the children that time is indispensable and doesn’t come back once it slips away. They understand the value of time faster while making the most of it.

Valuing Time

  • Make Children Independent – Children of working parents become independent from a very early age. Since they realise that their parents are at work, they learn to make their decisions themselves, making them good and confident decision-makers.
  • Dealing with Stress – Children learn from their surroundings. When they notice how their parents balance their work life and home life, it makes them more respectful towards others and helps them to cope up with stress better later in their lives.

2. Negative Effects

Though both parents working has a significant positive outcome in the lives of their children, it comes with a few negatives as well. The negative effects of working mothers on child development may vary with the working couple, as a whole. Let’s look at the negative impacts of a working couple on the child’s development:

  • Psychological Effects – With the nuclear family style, couples have to move out into the cities for their jobs. Their parents are unwilling to settle down in the city, leaving their hometown and babysitting the children. This leaves the parents with very little support from their own families. As a result, they have to hire nannies or admit their kids in daycare facilities. Parents need to be extra careful in selecting daycare and nannies for the kids; otherwise, the quality of attention towards the child is sure to decline with outside help.
  • Behavioural Changes and Mood Swings – Parents need to make sure they spend 30 minutes to 1 hour of quality time with their children every day. As the children are left with the nannies or at the daycare, they tend to suffer from restlessness and have a hard time managing their mood swings. When parents don’t spend more time with their children, it tends to make them more stubborn and aggressive.
  • Bonding With the Parents – Sometimes when both the parents are busy at their work and spend very less time at home with their kids, the bond that the children have with their parents suffer. As the kids grow up, this gap may widen.

Bonding With the Parents

Significant Tips for Raising Children for Working Parents

Just as each child is unique, every family and their ways of parenting their child are unique. Since the scenario of working parents raising a child is quite a common phenomenon now, we offer you some helpful tips to successfully share a strong bond with your kids.

1. Adjusting Job Timings and Working Life

It is a very well-known fact that parents usually come home tired and have very less enthusiasm and energy in spending time with their child at home. It is really important that parents who step out for work to boost the family income spend quality time with their children. Check your office policy on the rights of working parents if the child is sick and utilise it to be with your child when she is not feeling well.

2. Having the Child’s Grandparents at Home

We have become better human beings for the way our parents have raised us. So, if the grandparents are willing to volunteer to babysit your child, you have the least to worry about. This arrangement allows the kids to develop a bond with their grandparents and gives you a breather when both of you are busy at work. From the financial aspect, this the most low-cost and low-risk arrangement for your child.

3. Hiring a Babysitter

A babysitter is one of the options you can consider if both of you have to go to work and leave your baby at home. They can provide all-round support while you are at work, and your child can get undivided attention.

Hiring a Babysitter

4. Daycare/Childcare/Boarding School

Childcare solutions for working parents are cost-effective and help children build their social skills. You can provide your child with a large variety of books, toys, and other educational resources. As various policies and laws govern daycare centres, they tend to be more organised and alert in their functioning. Moreover, the children get to interact with a lot of other children, helping them to socialise from very early on. If you have grown-up kids, sending them to boarding schools is also an option. But you should ensure that your child knows the reason why you are opting for this arrangement so that they don’t nurse a grudge later in their lives.

5. Keeping the Children Busy With Hobbies

It would be a very nice idea to introduce the kids to a wide range of activities. They can be a mix of both physical and creative activities. It will help them channel their energy in the right way and also develop a knack towards them. They can pursue any of the activities as a hobby later in their lives.

6. Invest in Quality Time with Children

Time is irreplaceable and invaluable. With working parents and child neglect being the most serious problem afflicting many households, it is very important to spend quality time with your child every day. Switch off your mind from any other thoughts, and instead, focus on the time you give your child. It has a huge impact on their lives and can help them achieve the equilibrium to raise their children successfully while they work.


1. How does the absence of parents due to work affect the child’s emotional well-being?

The feelings of loneliness, emotional detachment, and insecurity bubble up in the children in their parents’ consistent absence due to work. Because parents are not actively involved with their children, the emotional bond that children generally share with their parents or caregivers diminishes, leading to potential issues in trust and attachment. You may find extreme detachedness, a sense of abandonment, anxiety, and stress among kids, which usually surfaces and becomes evident in social situations.

2. Are there any specific age groups that are more affected by working parents?

The impact of working parents on children can vary across different age groups. Younger children, typically below the age of five, are most probably among the most affected age groups impacted by the absence of working parents in their lives. Young children need consistent caregiving and may experience separation anxiety. School-aged children may adapt well to structured routines, while teenagers might seek more independence. We have to remember that with each age group, the impact is nuanced because each child’s response is individual.

3. Can childcare arrangements impact the child’s development when both parents work?

Certainly, childcare arrangements significantly impact a child’s development when both parents work. Children in their early ages need focused attention and care for their emotional and physical wellbeing. Quality childcare can foster cognitive, social and emotional development, providing a structured and nurturing environment. However, a lack of support may lead to stress and developmental challenges.

Every parent, whether working or non-working, wants to raise a child who can contribute positively to society. Parents play a vital role in shaping the lives of their children. Even if both parents in a nuclear family are working, make sure that there is enough time dedicated daily to spending time with the kids.

Also Read: 

Major Stages of Child Development
Role of Parents in Child Development
Impact of Working Mother on Child Development
Factors Affecting Child Growth and Development

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