Differences of Children Raised by Stay-at-Home Mothers vs. Working Mothers

Differences of Children Raised by Stay-at-Home Mothers vs. Working Mothers


Today, gender equality continues to be advocated for across most of the nations, and especially in America, it has taken root quite firmly. This gives mothers an equal chance to take into careers; hence, they have to leave their children in care of others, or enroll them in day care institutions. This has raised debates about the impacts of bringing up children while still working, with critiques suggesting that children raised by stay at home mothers acquire better morals from their mothers, as opposed to those raised by working mothers who have little time for their children. According to Prout and Hallett (2003), children raised by other people apart from their mothers tend to learn some habits at an early age, which may not be good, and more so, other caregivers may find it hard to punish the child since they lack the authority from parents. Moreover, considering that mothers are rarely at home, children become more attached to their caregivers, and they may develop a feeling that their mothers do not love them, and they may never get close with each other. However, some researchers say that children raised by working mothers in some situations actually benefit compared to those raised by non-working mothers. In addition, the working mothers argue that bills have to be paid, food brought to the table. Many issues have been raised concerning this topic, and researches are addressing the emotional and academic impacts on the child.

Literature Review

            Largely, a person’s behavior is a result of the experiences and upbringing in life, especially during childhood when one is developing. It has a root in who has raised the children, where the characters of the caregiver are passed to the child, and might still hold even after maturity. When the mother raises her own child, she is in a position to know how they behave, and can change the behavior if it is not right since they are in a better position to discipline them (Hughes, 2001). A mother always wants the best for her child, and bringing them up at home will mean close attention and correction whenever they go wrong, ensuring they develop the best behaviors.

Mostly, working mothers will employ babysitters to bring up their children, or enroll them in a day care. When the outsider is bringing them up, changing the behavior maybe harder considering that mothers might object them from punishing their children, hence wrong behavior may not be corrected at the early age. In addition, the outsider may be afraid of losing their job, making them refrain from inflict any kind of pain for correction. This has been argued by sociologists who feel early child development need to be well planned to correct  unwanted behaviors (Buehler, 1998). A child who only sees the mother in the evening will be quite happy to have them her home, and may not show any unwanted behavior since they have little time, leaving no chance for the mother to correct her child, or notice anything wrong.

In another, argument, it is argued that children raised by stay-at-home mothers develop closeness with them, and this makes the child feel at home with their parents since they see their mother all the time. This way, the child can learn to be free with the mother, since they are the closest, and for the love they receive, they are happy to have their mother at home. It is argued that a non-working mother will bring the family together, and enhance the family bond; hence, joy of feeling at home is felt. In another argument, it is argued that children who spend more time with their mothers develop better skills such as language, since the mothers will talk to their children more. However, other arguments are against this argument, suggesting that it is not about who raises the child that matters, stating that even kids who spend full time with their mothers at early age might also acquire wrong behaviors later. This also suggests that other caregivers could offer children good morals and skills in life considering some are professionals in child development (Corsaro, 2005).

In other arguments, it is stated that children brought up by their mothers may not learn how to be independent at the early ages. When mothers bring up their children, they tend to be attached to them too much, and provide all assistance that is needed by the child, consequently, making them reliable on their mothers for everything, and develop a feeling that mothers should always be there for their children. More so, children brought up by their mother at home do not spend enough time playing, and may not learn important skills of making decision (Corsaro, 2005). Most of the times, especially non-schooling children will not leave their mother’s side often, and when they start school, they find it hard to adapt having many people around.

Unlike children raised by their mothers, children raised by other people, especially in day care where one person may be taking care of several children at the same time, a child may be forced to do several things on his or her own, since the caregiver may not attend to all of them at the same time. At day care, the children meet others who are different from their mother, and they learn to become social when they are posed to different kinds of people, and learn with other kids during playing which is helpful for child development. Moreover, day cares employs people with a good knowledge in child development, hence they know how best to help them develop good characters and impart them with skills needed in life’s daily activities. For instance, in a study, it was found that a nursery or a trained baby sitter could stimulate the children behavior or skills using toys and creative games that help the child in learning and developing a liking for more lessons (Greenberg, & Avigdor, 2009). However, it is also argued that children who lack the care of their mothers at the early age may have problems later in life, such as lack of confidence, although this may not be the case to majority since they get to have their mother every evening, except when mothers cannot come home daily. More so, children brought up by working mothers experience more social and professional influence from their mothers, who have a variety of social skills to offer the child since they face different situations at work every day. The children are able to interact with new situations that come their way whether the mother is there or not, they feel more comfortable and confident in what they do. In addition, a child brought up by both parents who are working will see the need for education since the child would want to emulate his or her parents.

On the other hand, children brought up by their mothers who are at home may not have a variety of social skills to learn from since the mother is always at home, and may not face different situation every day, hence, they may feel shy about interacting without their mother’s presence. More so, children brought up by non-working mothers may feel separated when they are out in new situation, where some even cry for their mother and could grow holding to this character (Golinkoff, 2010). A child brought up by a non-working mother will grow thinking that education is not important, especially a girl since she might develop to think that women are not meant to work. A study found that a child of both working parent scored higher at school and did not feel too much pressure to study unlike the other child brought up by the mother (Essortment, 2002).

From the above arguments that create the difference between the children raised by working vs. nonworking mothers, it is evident that the difference is not brought about by who has given the care, but rather, it is about the development of the child that is the issue. Non-working mothers can develop their children growth by issuing them with some house chores that could help develop their skills, especially basic ones such as house keeping. Mothers will love to see their children learn to do things, and this could encourage them to teach them more household chores. Consequently, this makes the child more responsible when it comes to keeping the house in order and even glooming themselves.

On the other hand, there is an argument that children raised by baby sitters and day care may not learn such chores because a nanny will feel that it is her work to do the chores, and at day care, children will be engaged in other activities such as playing. The arguments states that this may cause irresponsibility in children who do not learn such chores, such as cleaning the house, and later in life may not keep their homes tidy, since they never learned how to do it at an early age.

Some researches have focused on the social side of the issue, where they say that absence of the mother can affect the child negatively, while still, lack of work for the mother might as well act to affect the child negatively. Factors that would cause a non-working mother to cause negative impacts to the child are poverty, poor parental education, and quality childcare may not be provided (Alanen & Mayall, 2001). Since the mother may not be in a position to meet, all the demands of the house if they are not financially stable. This could mean stress for the mother, and a child will be affected by this, considering that they are always together. However, this will happen in cases where the father is not well up enough or if the mother is single.

Working mothers are able to provide the best for their children than when they have to rely on their father only, hence better childcare can be possible, and the assurance of a stable life will reduce stress in the mother, which could be passed to the child. More so, a child will feel happier to know the parents are working, and they can provide everything the child may need, though it is not always so since both parents could have small jobs. The researchers also add that lack of presence of the mother all the time would cause the child feelings of alienation.


Conclusively, the development of a child is very crucial, and children may be impacted by the time they spend with their children, but still, it cannot be obvious that all children will be affected the same way by the same situation, hence this cannot be 100% accurate, although these are the general observations from the studies and researches conducted. The researches have shown that children raised by working mothers will gain good social and professional skills, while those raised by stay-at-home mothers will develop strong personality and learn responsibilities early. Conclusively, some people will think that career women do not love their children while others will think that entrusting others with your children may be risky. In addition, some feel that a child will turn out to be good despite the way they are brought up, though it is important to note that a child’s behavior may not point out the specific character when he grows up (Wright, 2000).



Alanen, L. and Mayall, B (2001). Conceptualizing Child-adult Relations. New York, NY: Routledge.

Buehler, D. (1998): The Superlative View. Is there any Scientific Approach to Children. Delhi India: Kamla Raj Enterprises.

Corsaro, W. (2005). The Sociology of Childhood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press

Essortment. (2002). Children of Working Mothers. Retrieved from http://www.essortment.com/children-working-mothers-36977.html

Golinkoff, R. (2010). Baby Talk: Communicating with your child. New York, NY: New York      University press.

Greenberg, L. & Avigdor, B. (2009). What Happy Working Mothers Know: How New Findings in Positive Psychology Can Lead to a Healthy and Happy Work/Life Balance. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Hughes, Z. (2001). The Joys of Being a Stay-at-home Mom. Ebony, 56 (7): 136.

Prout, A. and Hallett, C. (2003). Hearing the Voices of Children: Social Policy for a New Century, London. New York, NY: Routledge Falmer.

Wright, M. (2000). The Sociological Imagination, Oxford: Oxford University Press.




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