It is a common practice around the world for one or both parents to stay home and care for their children in the early months and years of life. Both mothers and fathers are typically offered some time away from their work to welcome their child and adjust to a new family dynamic.
While it is not financially feasible for many families to include a stay-at-home parent outside of maternity or paternity leaves, the number of mothers who decide to stay home has been increasing. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 29 percent of mothers in America in 2012 did not currently work outside the home, and stayed home to care for their families. Eventually, as children grow and begin attending school during the day, many mothers and fathers who stayed home previously return to work to help support their families.
Parents play a large and important role in their children’s lives that begins at birth and lasts a lifetime. Parental care, love, and nurturing are important to healthy development in all life phases, including infants, children, teens, and adults. To different degrees and levels, every country in the world recognizes the importance of parents being home to nurture and guide young children.
However, recent research done by the Graduate School of Stanford Business suggests that the benefits of having a parent at home exist for teenagers as well.
Here are some of the great benefits that teenagers with at least one stay-at-home parent experience:
Increased Parental Attention, Guidance, and Involvement
A teen who has a parent at home will likely experience more dedicated attention, more often. This is simply due to proximity and opportunity. A stay-at-home parent is more likely to be around in the moments that their teen wants to talk or decides to open up and share. It can be difficult to relate to teens and bond with them on their terms and timelines as they mature. A parent who stays home has the opportunity to be around when their teen goes to school, comes home from school, and has friends over to socialize or study.
Constant Parental Presence Balanced with Independence
Knowing that they have a parent around at home constantly can help teens feel a sense of support and stability. As a parent, it also provides the opportunity to witness how your teen is maturing, who they are spending time with, and be available and present whenever needed. It is important that parental presence be balanced with independence for your teen though. They should know that you are always there for them, but also have the freedom to exercise their independence and make their own decisions and choices based on the family morals and values they’ve been taught.
Better Academic Performance
According to research published by Stanford, a parenting study in Norway revealed that adolescents with a stay-at-home parent were more likely to achieve better grades and academic success. The study was done in conjunction with Norway’s Cash for Care subsidy program incentivizing and paying parents to stay home with their children under the age of three. The research was centered on the development of older siblings, who also benefited from having a parent at home to care for them. It was revealed that the teens whose parents stayed home to take care of them and their younger siblings did significantly better in school as a result.
While there is a growing body of research demonstrating that children and teens benefit from a parent who stays home, due to financial obligations or personal preference, not all parents have the option to stay home as their children grow up. Parents who work outside the home are definitely capable of being involved, loving parents by dedicating time and balancing family and career. If you are struggling to bond with your teen or feel they are becoming distant, speaking with a teen counselor can be beneficial to finding that balance in your life and relationship with your teen.