Staying Connected with Your Child When You’re a Working Parent
Working Parent: To Work or Not to Work, That is NOT the Question
By Shannon Cassidy
Do kids suffer if their parents work?
Does every kid wish for a Mom or Dad to be waiting at the bus stop every day?
Which is better: two working parents or one?
In four words: I do not know. I won’t pretend to know the answers to these questions but will offer perspective on what I believe is true.
1. Kids need love and attention. If both parents working causes children to experience neglect or significant loneliness then yes, I think the child suffers. Most of the working parents I encounter do a terrific job of committing time for their children.
2. Do they wish for a bus stop pick up, I imagine yes. If expectations are set and they know no one can come today, it helps the child avoid feeling forgotten. Setting expectations is essential.
3. Which is better one working parent or two? All I know is one is better than none. Good employment is a challenge today. Responsible parents are looking for ways to provide for their families and we can’t underestimate the value of a job and the blessing of a career. Talk to your children about work, finances and the decisions you make to work or not to work.
Five things every kid needs
1. Eye time. Look your child in the eye, at their level, and ask them about themselves. What did they learn, see, experience today? What excited them? What frightened them? What do they understand life to be about. Be curious about your child, look them in the eye and ask good questions.
2. Hug time. Every human being needs to be held. Research indicates that being held as a child is linked to self esteem and confidence.
3. Learning time. Take your child to the library, a museum, a nursing home, park, Apple store, local airport, post office. Teach them things about life, nature, art and technology.
4. Quality time. Tell them you love them both verbally and with quality time. Do something together. It can be chores, errands, adventure – just being together is what counts.
5. Gratitude time. Tell your child how much you appreciate them, and why. Exchange ideas about all the things you have to be grateful for. Gratitude is the antidote to fear. Equip your children with the gift of gratitude.
Parenting is an enormous privilege and responsibility. We must continuously remind our children they arrive on this planet wired for struggle and worthy of love. Let’s help them learn from their challenges and embrace their gifts and talents. Working or not working isn’t the differentiator – the factor that matters most is love.
Shannon Cassidy is the founder and CEO of bridge between inc., a professional services firm specializing in executive coaching, program facilitation and keynote speaking. Cassidy holds certifications from Harvard Law School in Negotiation Training and from the Mediation Training Institute in Organizational Conflict Resolution. Her areas of expertise include: emotional intelligence, leadership transitions and team synergy. Her ability to get to the point and inspire positive change has made her one of the most sought-after coaches and speakers in her field. In fact, Forbes.com cited Cassidy as one of Philadelphia’s top coaches.