Children raised by stay-at-home moms tend to be less confident and adventurous, say researchers

Alberta finance minister Iris Evans stirred up a controversy today when she suggested that it might be better if one half of a couple stayed at home to raise a child.

Is it true? Let’s see what the research suggests.

In 2006, Kelly McIntosh and William Bauer of Marietta College conducted some research on the differences between children raised by working mothers and those raised by stay-at-home mothers. Their findings included:

  • “[H]aving a working or stay at home mother does not determine a child’s academic ability.”
  • Working mothers were more likely than stay-at-home mothers to say that their children reacted confidently to new situations, and showed fewer signs of “separation anxiety”.
  • For their part, stay-at-home mothers were less likely to feel stressed out by their day-to-day lives than working mothers.

This tendency toward the children of stay-at-home mothers being more cautious was also noticed in a 2007 study by six Taiwanese academics, who noted some interesting (and statistically significant) differences between medical students whose mothers stayed home and whose mothers had careers:

“The data showed that a higher proportion of students with higher capabilities of critical thinking, curiosity, love of learning, industry, diligence, self-regulation, leadership, forgiveness, mercy, capacity to love and be loved, compassion and humour had mothers with higher educational levels and self-sustaining jobs and income…”

“[M]edical students with stay-at-home mothers were less willing to go abroad, appreciated less of the humanities such as visiting museums or art collections and were relatively unhealthy as compared to students with career mothers.”

It’s not easy to find much on what effect having a stay-at-home father has on his children, with more of the research focusing on the social stigma still attached to the father than on the benefits or drawbacks to the children:

  • A University of Texas at Austin study published in 2008 found that stay-at-home fathers tended to be fairly satisfied with their lives and to be less prone to “psychological distress”. It also noted that these fathers needed strong social support to adjust well to the role of stay-at-home dad.
  • A 2005 Yale University study found that “stay-at-home fathers were not regarded highly by others” and that  “participants felt little compunction about expressing negative attitudes toward nontraditional parents”.
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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

2 Responses to Children raised by stay-at-home moms tend to be less confident and adventurous, say researchers

  1. Emilyjane@hotmail.com says:

    This is a crock.

  2. theviewfromseven says:

    Alright. That begs the question: why do you feel this is a crock?

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