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How Can a Dual-Earner Marriage Affect the Children?

by Erica Loop

Parents, on average, will spend between $8,760 and $24,510 each year on child-rearing expenses, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture 2011 report. A dual-earner marriage is often a necessity to cover the costs that a family requires. Although working is more of a necessity than a choice for many families, busy schedules and the added pressures that work creates can affect children in several ways.

Time

Whether you work full time or have a part-time arrangement, being in a dual-earner family typically means that time is an issue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, working mothers spend roughly 1.2 hours per day doing care-related activities for their children while working dads spend an average of 49 minutes on the same tasks. The BLS also notes that working moms spend on average of two hours per day on household chores and dads spend 1.2 hours on chore-related tasks. Between out-of-the-house and in-house work, its clear that kids of dual-earner families aren't getting an overwhelming amount of time with mom and dad doing leisure-time activities. This, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website, might lead to feelings of neglect in the children.

Income

While being in a duel-earner family can have its negative qualities, the added income that two paychecks provides is often a necessity. The USDA notes that the projected costs of raising a child from birth through age 17 will run from $169,080 to $389.670. Having any extra income can help parents feel more comfortable in affording child-related expenses, such as day care or clothes, making the family environment less stressful for everyone involved.

Stress

When stresses from work spill into the home, everyone suffers. Whether mom's boss is on her case or dad didn't get that much-deserved promotion, parents can feel anxious, distracted or depressed when at home because of work-related issues. A stressful, or anxiety-filled, home environment can negatively affect children. According to the AAP, parents who bring work stresses home might take out their frustration on each other or the kids. Children might feel confused or sad, not understanding that the parent's anger isn't truly directed at them.

Perceptions

When children see that both mom and dad work, especially if both parents enjoy their jobs, they can develop a positive perception about their future careers. The AAP notes that a duel-earner family can show kids that work isn't a bad or threatening environment. Additionally, children can see that women can hold key places in the work force and that an array of professional options are open to both men and women. Instead of seeing the woman's place as in the home, children who have two working parents can develop a more well-rounded perception of being a professional and succeeding in a career.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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