It is not whether a parent works or stays home that makes the difference

Whether it is better for children to be raised by stay-at-home parents is a never-ending debate. Raising children is a challenge under any circumstances.

Working parents often have a greater challenge in balancing the quality versus quantity time spent with the child, and ensuring emotional needs are fulfilled.

Stay-at-home parents sometimes have the greater challenge stretching the budget to meet the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

Sometimes, due to distant employment, divorce or untimely death, there is only one parent and the challenges of both time and money considerations are even greater.

Sincere intention is the most important factor

Children need to be raised by loving, nurturing parents. Children also need a safe, stable environment where their physical and emotional needs are met. Some parents can best provide these needs with dual employment. If financial considerations require the parents to leave the child with a loving, nurturing caregiver, in a safe and stable environment, there is no reason to believe the child will not thrive as well as if the parents were on the scene 24/7.

Whatever the parent’s availability and circumstance, when the motivation is good intention to provide all the time and requirements necessary for the child’s well being, the child will be better off.

Attitude is another important factor 

If the parent is ambivalent about leaving the child with a caregiver, the child will sense it and experience separation anxiety. If the parent is confident and comfortable with the daycare arrangement, the child will mirror that confidence in his behavior. Actually, studies have shown, children of working parents exhibit independence, self confidence and ability to adapt with greater ease.

A family is a tiny community unto itself. The parents of each family must do whatever is deemed necessary to meet the physical and emotional needs of all members.

It is a futile exercise in frustration to compare one family situation with another and judge one inferior. If dual employment is required, parents don’t need the additional pressure of feeling guilty for leaving their child, or children, in the responsible care of others. Some might prefer to be a stay-at-home mom or dad, but it is not always financially feasible. 

These days, some parents work, some stay at home, some mirror the patchwork daycare solutions of their youth. There is guilt, and ongoing debate and discussion about the “better” way to raise  children. The logical conclusion to any debate about working vs stay-at-home parents is apt to be that if you bring sincere, loving intention and a positive attitude to the situation, whether you work, or stay at home full time, your children will thrive.

All parents, whether working or stay-at-home, do the best they can do. There is no “better” way.