Little is known about family relationships and daily activities in dual-earner families. This proposal examines parents' work involvement (how much they work and how absorbed they are in that work) and their involvement with their school-aged sons and daughters (including monitoring and conjoint activities). In addition, these aspects of parents' lives are examined in relation to their children's daily activities (with and without parents), the quality of the children's family relationships, and the children's personal well-being. Because children's summer vacation may pose a challenge to employed parents in terms of supervision, this study compares how dual-earner parents (and a small control group of single-earner families) handle supervision and parent-child activities during the school year versus the summer. We are interested in how parents negotiate the competing demands of work and child-rearing and in the impact of different strategies on the child. The sample includes 150 two-parent families, 100 of which are dual-earner and 50 of which have a father as sole wage-earner and a homemaker mother. In each family, the oldest child will initially be in the fifth grade and serve as the target child, and there will be at least one younger sibling. Each family will be interviewed four times: the winter of the target child's fifth grade year, the summer between fifth and sixth grade, the winter of the sixth grade year, and the following summer. Each phase of data collection involves two kinds of interviews: home interviews in which mother, father and target child report separately about parental work situations, child care arrangements, and the child's well-being (defined as self-esteem, social competence, and the extent to which the child displays internalizing and externalizing symptoms); and a series of 7 telephone interviews per phase in which children report on their activities during that day and parents report both on their activities with the child and their knowledge about the child's activities in their absence (to measure supervision.) The study will provide information on how dual-earner parents structure daily activities--under conditions of varying levels of commitment to the workplace, and the implications of these arrangements for the well-being of school-aged boys and girls. We will also explore whether similar family patterns operate and have similar effects in families with a single wage-earner father and a homemaker mother. The study will shed light on how these processes change over time and vary depending upon the season.
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|Crouter, A C; Maguire, M C (1998) Seasonal and weekly rhythms: windows into variability in family socialization experiences in early adolescence. New Dir Child Dev :69-82|
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