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Harvard Research Finds Working Mothers Raise Successful Daughters And Empathetic Sons

Harvard Research Finds Working Mothers Raise Successful Daughters And Empathetic Sons

There are many posts on the Internet which urge working moms to feel less guilty about how they are raising their kids — they seem to be doing better than some may think. This has been confirmed by a Harvard study which involved 50,000 children of career women from 25 countries. Researchers found that there were considerable benefits for kids raised by working mothers. The study included women who were working part-time in addition to full-time professionals.

The study found that these children were more accepting of non-traditional gender-role models in the home setting. Later, this contributed to daughters being more successful in the workplace in supervisory roles and sons who were more empathetic. Here are six reasons why these sons and daughters are more successful at work and at home.

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1. Sons understand how gender roles have evolved

Both sons and daughters learn that a working mother is perfectly normal and that the woman’s role is not necessarily that of a housewife. In fact, according to the Office of National Statistics in the UK, the number of stay-at-home moms has decreased by more than 33 per cent in the last twenty years. Sons begin to understand that they too have a role to play in the running of the household. Later in life, they contribute more in childcare and in managing the home because of this early life lesson. In fact, the Harvard study shows that these men are spending twice the amount of time on childcare — 16 hours a week compared to the 8.5-hour norm.

2. Sons are likely to be more empathetic

Sons learn from an early age to pitch in and help out with household chores when their mother is away from the home. This makes them more sensitive to the needs of others. They will never wonder what stay-at-home mothers do all day. They are more likely to grow up being empathetic and caring, becoming better partners and parents themselves. There is no need to separate masculine from feminine qualities. A parent will teach their sons that there are only human qualities. The family with a working mom finds it easier to instil empathy in their boys.

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3. Sons are more likely to marry a working mother

Other studies show that sons brought up by working mothering are more likely to have wives who work. The reason behind this is that the sons have a less traditional view of mothering because they grew up in a home where working and mothering was seamless. They are much more likely to be supportive and helpful when their own wives work.

4. Daughters have a positive role model to follow

Instead of worrying obsessively about how much actual time they spend with their daughters, working moms should reflect on how they are setting a positive example of gender equality and success. Daughters are inspired by the example and have no qualms about their own careers when they marry.

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5. Daughters have more supervisory roles

The Harvard study found that daughters of working mothers were more likely to be successful and had more supervisory roles than those women brought up by stay-at-home moms. Twenty-five per cent of daughters of stay-at-home moms were in supervisory roles compared to 33 per cent of daughters of working mothers. These women were much more confident in holding down dual roles than their colleagues. The reason is that they had an excellent example to follow from an early age.

6. Daughters are earning more

The daughters of working mothers earn up to 23 per cent more (in the USA) than their counterparts and are better placed to gain more senior positions. That makes a difference of $7,000 annually in the USA. The reason is that these women are motivated from an early age to follow their own career choices, just like their own mothers. This is a crucial factor in their success.They were also taught to be independent and autonomous from an early age, as their mothers never had the time to indulge in helicopter parenting.

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Long live women’s right to choose when it comes to working or staying at home. If they choose the former, they should relax and know that that their choice will have a beneficial impact on their sons and daughters. It is high time to change the stereotypes and recognize quality parenting is much more complex than many people imagine.

Featured photo credit: Dad helping Ricky while Sara looks on/Joshua Blount via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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