Does Maternal Employment Have a Negative Effect on Infant & Child Development?
There is much discussion and research on the effects of a mother's working on an infant's cognitive and psychosocial development. Jay Belsky, a researcher on infant development and David Eggebeen, an expert in health and human development, believe that maternal employment during infancy and childhood has a detrimental effect on the social and behavioral development of the child ( Belsky and Eggebeen, 1991). in addition, University professors and researchers Wen-Jui Han, Jane Waldfogel, and Jeanned Brooksd-Gunn from Columbia University conclude that maternal employment in the first yhear of a child's life has a significant negative effect on verbal ability at age 3 or 4 and lowered math achievement when children were 7 to 8 years of age. When ethnicity was controlled for, these negative effects were found for white children, but not for African-American children.
Thus, the question still remains: Should mothers stay home with their babies? Often women will drop out of the workforce for at least the first few years to stay home and care for their children in order to make a connection. The fact that the mother-child bond in the first few years is critical to the child's later development has been established from years of significant research.
In contrast, there are others who believe that there is no negative impact of a mother's working on infant develoment; and that quality chid care providers may be able to meet the same attachment needs that mothers previously met. Further, some research also shows that being exposed to a variety of quality caregivers, including other family members, fosters postiive personality characteristics and independence in the child later on.
Please review the selected readings and post your opinion on the subject.
Does a mothers employment and substitute child care have a negative impact on the development of infants and toddlers? State the reasons for your decision.
Other References for Affirmative Arguments:
Jay Belsky and David Eggebeen. (1991). Early and extensive maternal employment and young children's socioemotional development: Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Journal of Marriage and the Family (November 1991).
Han, Wen Jui, Jane Waldfogel, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. (2001). The effects of early maternal employment on delinquency. Social Problems
Other References Arguing that Children are not Harmed by a Mother's Employment:
Clarke-Stewart, K. Alison. (1991). A Home is not a school: The effects of child care on children's development. Journal of Social Issues, 47(2).
Vander Ven, Francis T. Cullen, Mark
A. Corrozza and John Paul Wright. (2001). Home alone : The impact of maternal employment on delinquency. Social Problems (May).