It's no surprise that work life often influences home life. Many adults spend much of their time at work and stress doesn't end the minute you clock out and walk out. But one aspect of work life in particular impacts the home: interpersonal relationships with coworkers. When you are mean to the people that you work with, the effects don't stop at them. Being rude to your coworkers affects their children at home as well. Here's how.
Researchers from the American Psychological Association found that when people are rude to their coworkers or treat them poorly, those on the receiving end of the bad treatment take it out on their children. According to Science Daily, women who experience what researchers refer to as "workplace incivility" are more likely to engage in authoritarian parenting practices that can negatively impact their children.
Workplace incivility is defined as anything rude, disrespectful, or impolite. Study co-author Kathryne Dupre, PhD, of Carleton University told Science Daily that this behavior includes ignoring others, making rude statements about them, taking credit for other people's work, and avoiding people. All of these behaviors trickle down to their children.
Angela Dionisi, PhD, of Carleton University, who was also involved in the study, stated that workplace incivility is harder on women:
These findings reveal some previously undocumented ways that women, in particular, suffer as a result of workplace aggression. In uncovering how this mistreatment in the workplace interferes with positive mother-child interactions, this research also speaks to a previously unacknowledged group of indirect incivility victims, namely children.
In order to determine how workplace incivility impacts family, the team conducted an online survey of 146 working moms and their families. By asking moms about their experiences with incivility in the workplace, the team found that moms who have such negative experiences are more likely to use authoritarian parenting techniques that are classified by strict and controlling behaviors. Authoritarian parenting has been linked to poor social skills, lower levels of self esteem, and higher levels of depression in children, according to Health Line. Additionally, incivility at work was associated with mothers feeling less effective as parents, Dupre said.
This is far from the first study to examine how work impacts home. Striking an effective home-life balance is a struggle that affects people from all walks of life. Those at the lower end of the wage scale, for example, are less likely to have benefits that are conducive to being involved parents — such as sick leave and personal leave, according to Urban Wire. Without such time off, these workers are less capable of participating in activities at their children's school or attending their special events.
Additionally, low earning works are more likely to have nonstandard hours, meaning those outside of the usual 9-5 work day, as Urban Wire reported. Past research has found nonstandard hours to be the hardest on children due to difficulties finding reliable childcare and unpredictable schedules. But low-income families aren't the only ones with issues related to work.
Higher earning workers and well-educated professionals also struggle with work interfering with their home life. A 2010 study of 1,800 workers in the U.S. found those who make more money to be more likely to report that their jobs negatively impact their personal relationships, according to The Seattle Times. Those who set their own schedules and those with college or postgraduate degrees also have difficulty maintaining relationships in the face of work pressures. The Seattle Times reported that employees who succeed at work and report high levels of job authority, skill-level, decision-making latitude, and personal earnings appear to have the most negatively impacted relationships overall.
Striking an even, healthy balance between work and family life is never easy. But studies like these shed light on how the different aspects of time spent working impacts children at home. Next time that you're considering leaving Nancy off of the invite list for after work drinks, think again.