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Successful Practices for Dual-Earner Families

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Can children raised in dual-income households be happier than children raised by a stay-at-home parent?  According to a landmark survey done by Ellen Galinsky (1999, 2005) the answer is yes!  Galinsky found that children overwhelmingly endorse having both fathers and mothers working.  It appears that the concern over who should work and how much they should work is largely limited to us as parents.

So what do children worry about?  Through Galinsky’s surveys she found that children are focused on the time they have with their parents at home.  They are concerned that when their parents are home, they be less stressed and tired and more emotionally available to them.  Insert therapy buzzword [balance].

As parents we strive for balance, and whether or not they tell us directly, our children desire a balanced home.  Here are ten practices that can support you and your partner as you work to attain balance in your home.

-Prioritize family time and well-being

-Emphasize overall equality and partnership, including joint decision making, equal influence over finances, and joint responsibility for housework

-Equally value each other’s work and life goals

-Share parental duties and “emotional work” of family life

-Maximize paly and fun at home

-Concentrate on work while at the workplace (If your home is also your workplace, make sure there is a well defined boundary between workspace/work time, and family space/family time)

-Take pride in family and in balancing multiple roles, and believing the family benefits from both parents working (rather than adsorbing the dominant cultural narrative of harm)

-Live simply, which includes limiting activities that impede active family engagement

-Adopt high but realistic expectations about household management; employing planning strategies that save time

-Be proactive in decision making and remain conscious of time’s value

 

Adapted from Normal Family Processes: Growing Diversity and Complexity, Fourth Edition By Froma Walsh PhD MSW

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