It’s a very well known fact that sick children can easily affect a working parent’s life, leaving them distracted and worried. However, very fewer people know about the effect a parent’s work life has on their kid’s health.
Parent’s job experiences influence the health and well-being of their family structures. Many families even endeavor to successfully balance task and family requirements.
The study was published in the ‘Journal of Occupational Health Psychology’. Researchers noted that children’s condition is less prone to be negatively influenced when their parents feel a good sense of control over their office lives.
“If you can choose how you are making to do your job, rather than having that inflicted on you, it is better for kids,” said study co-author Christiane Spitzmueller.
The good news, she said, is that there are things organizations can do to serve employees with that sense of control.
The researchers gathered data from both children and parents in Lagos, Nigeria, targeting one group of low-income families and the second group of more affluent families. Teenage children from both groups were estimated at their schools and asked to judge their own health.
While the low-income group included people living in dire poverty, she noted that their responses did not differ markedly from those of the wealthier group. “Economic resources were not as much of a buffer as we would have thought,” she said.
Instead, feelings of freedom in the company accounted for the difference between households where the parents’ work-family conflicts played out in health issues for the kids and those whose children fared better.
The researchers look at so-called “self-regulatory resources,” or the number of self-control parents bring to parenting, having the capacity to act in a more deliberate manner.
“If a parent has too many stressors, it reduces your self-control,” Spitzmueller said.
Parental self-management was related to better health issues for children. In other words, how we parent when we encounter high levels of stress is perhaps fundamentally distinct from how we parent when we are handling well.
“At lower levels of job autonomy, employees likely have to rely more on self-regulatory resources to compensate for the impact of limited control over one’s job on one’s personal life. At higher levels of job autonomy, freedom and more decision-making opportunities are likely to motivate the person to engage; however, self-regulatory resources would be less needed,” researchers noted.
The effect was most pronounced when job requirements are excessive and job autonomy is flat, and Spitzmueller said that grants for potential interventions and policies to address the issue.
Some are comparatively simple, consisting of teaching parents to take a few minutes to recharge before plunging from the workplace into parenthood. Practicing mindfulness can support parents to “replenish their resources.”
Managers and supervisors can be trained to more adequately deal with their operators and to encourage a greater sense of autonomy.
Businesses and organizations can play a role as well. Although the researchers say their findings are just the start of understanding how parental stressors affect children’s well-being, they also encourage workplace interventions aimed at promoting job autonomy.