There are children all over the world who have to cope with the fact that either mommy or daddy just aren’t around, because they have to work. In some cases this is a routine amount of time away from home such as the number of parents working in industries like the energy sector, for others it means waiting for a parent to return home from military service and for many kids it means a parent being away for long periods of time as they seek better opportunities.
This may be the best decision in terms of the big picture, but there are many challenges which these kids face.
There is little doubt that one of the biggest risks for children is the emotional distress of not having both parents around. According to figures from the US government some 87% of those parents who are working away from the home are male. Whilst money can be sent back home using the likes of Ria Money Transfer, kids feel the pain of a lack of presence more than money. One of the main culprits when we look at the rise of criminality, depression and underachieving is the lack of a male role model in the family. Usually this of course cites those fathers who have left or who are imprisoned, but even those who work away run the risk of having a similar impact on children.
Lacking Social Skills
Some key research from Australian community psychologist Anne Sibbel studied the impacts which one parent working away had on kids who had grown up. The results which she found in children who had one parent working away long term, showed the following in more than 75% of participants:
- Difficulty participating in the community
- Being tired during the early leave period
- Missing important events with loved ones, such as birthdays, Christmas, and school events
- Wanting to be more involved in the daily lives of loved ones
As you can see, whilst the financial support was provided by the parent working away, the child’s ability to develop socially and emotionally was severely inhibited.
Very often these children will socialize with those who also come from single-parent families. Despite the kids actually coming from a two parent family, they associate more with those with only one parent at home, because they have the same living situation. This changes the experiences which these kids have and it also makes reintegration more difficult when the parent who does work away comes home. This can often lead to a lack of discipline in children and therefore poorer results when it comes to their academic lifestyle. This in turn can have a great impact on job opportunities moving forward.
The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study carried out by Princeton University studied over 5,000 American families, some where both parents were present, others with only one parent and others with a single parent working away long term. Of the latter two categories, the study found that children were afflicted with “high hopes and low capabilities”.
Whilst so many parents feel that they have to move away to find gainful and well paid employment, there is no doubt that this has a profound impact on children, their abilities, their dreams and their ability to achieve them.
Tricia Lee is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs, a Digital Marketing Agency. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, dance, and read non-fiction.