Children ‘proud’ of working parents

Children do not feel neglected when their parents go to work and some even feel proud, new research claims.

Research conducted for JobCentre Plus found 46 per cent of primary-age children liked their parents going to work and nearly a third felt “proud” their mother or father had a job.

The survey, which looked at children from two parent families, contrasts with previous research looking at one-parent families.

Then, One Parent Families found half of lone parents at work worried about their children.

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.

“Having a job and being a parent does mean that you have to keep lots of balls in the air but if you can make time each day to enjoy your children, you will both feel much more comfortable with the idea of you being back at work.”

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) appeared to present today’s research as proof children would not suffer if their parents worked.

Nearly three in five of those surveyed said they liked the freedom it gave them to watch television or play video games and 48 per cent said they like to amuse themselves playing outside.

Just 16 per cent of children said they did not like their parents working and seven per cent complained their parents worked too hard to spend time with them.

The DWP said children appeared to understand why parents worked. More than half said it was because they needed the money, while 17 per cent said their parents enjoyed it.

The government wants to get more lone parents off welfare and back into work, as outlined in its recent green paper.

Denise Nixon, lone parent adviser at Jobcentre Plus, said: “Going back to work can be a difficult step to make if you’re not sure about the impact it’s going to have on your family, either emotionally or financially.

“Our specialist advisers can advise lone parents on anything from flexible working to childcare, so get in touch with Jobcentre Plus to get the full picture.”

Lone parent society Gingerbread understands the benefits of getting lone parents back into work but says it is sceptical of any government initiatives that will put further pressure on single-parent families.

It argues parents need flexible employment, as well as living wage that can cover childcare costs, if they are to return to work.