Parenting: Explaining why parents work
April 25, 2011 (WPVI) -- Thousands of parents in the Delaware Valley drop their children at daycare or school every day and head to work. 65-percent of married couples in the U.S. are 2-career couples and most have children. At some point, kids inevitably ask, "Why do you go to work? Why can't you stay here and play with me?" Sometimes there are even tears at goodbye.
Jennifer Pereyva of Columbus, New Jersey is in pharmaceutical sales. Her 6-year-old asked that question and Jennifer went looking for picture books to help explain it. She didn't find much.
Jennifer tells us, "So I sat down at the kitchen table with a carpenters pencil and a blank piece of computer paper and started writing and, well, just kind of went from there."
The result was an adorable simple rhyming book called, "Mommy and Daddy work to Make Some Dough," which is now sold at Borders and online. It's aimed at children 6 and younger and talks about how houses, cars and toys cost money that parents have to earn.
"Now my daughter, she completely gets it," said Jennifer. "After we read the book we asked her, 'So, why do mommy and daddy work?' And she says, 'To make some dough.' And I said, 'OK, and what is dough?' She's like, 'Dough is money.' ...so after I did that sort of gut check with her I thought, OK this might actually work."
Experts say there are other important points to include when you explain why and where you go to work.
1. Don't dodge the question: talking about your job teaches your child the importance of contributing financially to the family.
2. Keep it simple: Explain the basics...if you're in real estate, say "I help people find houses."
3. Focus on the positive: Don't say "I hate working but I have no choice." Hopefully you enjoy what you do and you can convey that, which helps your child feel good about working when they're an adult.
It's nice to explain to your child that you love them first, but that you also enjoy your work, and that you can do both well. You might not get to come to every baseball game or music rehearsal, but tell them you try to do most things and you hope they understand how you balance your life.
More bosses are trying to accommodate the working/parenting balance. With 70-percent of mothers with children under age 18 working, employers don't want to lose a valuable part of the work force, and families are better for it.
The explanation worked so well that Jennifer says her daughter wants to come to work with her now and make money! They decided to start with chores and an allowance first!
monica malpass parenting reports, parenting, monica malpass
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