Connections and Constraints: The Effects of Children on Caregiving



This article assesses the effects of children on parents' involvement in caregiving. On the basis of interviews with 273 respondents, we address the effects of having children on care given to kin and nonkin; assess the effects of children's characteristics, especially age and gender, on the help mothers and fathers provide; and examine how these vary with mothers' employment. Overall, we find that the presence of children connects parents into networks of care more than it constrains them. The effects vary depending on the characteristics of the child (including age and gender) as well as characteristics of the parent (like gender and employment).