• longitudinal investigation;
  • parenting consistency early childhood development;
  • parenting style;
  • working mothers


Title. Relationship of working mothers’ parenting style and consistency to early childhood development: a longitudinal investigation.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a longitudinal study of the relationship of working mothers’ parenting style to their children’s social competence and vocabulary/motor/intellectual development.

Background.  With an increasing number of women choosing to remain in the workforce after starting a family, there has been a concomitant increase in use of non-parental childcare facilities to help look after the child while the mother is at work. This increase in non-parental care has led to a dramatic change in the traditional child-rearing environment.

Methods.  Long-term investigations were conducted over a period of 2 years in 41 Japanese government-licensed childcare facilities. Child development was evaluated by childcare professionals and parenting style was assessed by questionnaire. A total of 504 children and their mothers participated in the study. Data collection was carried out in 2004 and 2006.

Findings.  We found that the changes in parenting style were statistically significantly related to children’s development after 2 years. For instance, changes in the parent-child playing routine contributed to the child’s social competence (odds ratio = 11·088). Variation in working mothers’ disciplinary practices was also associated with children’s vocabulary development after 2 years (odds ratio = 2·246).

Conclusion.  Working mothers should increase interactions with their children in their free time to reduce the risk of developmental delay. Daily childcare support provided by family members or social organizations for long-term working mothers is helpful in mediating the negative relationship of mothers’ working with children’s development.