The relationship between maternal employment and teenage character traits
The purpose of the study is to determine the relationship between maternal employment and teenage character traits. Statistics show a significant increase in women entering the labour market and although demographics are changing rapidly, social attitudes and policies may lag behind, and the concept of mothers as principal caretakers and fathers as economic providers remains very much in place. The profound and sometimes contradictory convictions of individual members about working mothers and their children paralleled those of countless others and professional people where matched only by the equally profound lack of facts on which these convictions might be based. The objective of the study is to measure the perceived character traits of teenage children in terms of self confidence, locus of control, independence, time management and ambition. The questions were measured within two different scenarios: the first, within households where both parents are employed, and the second, within households where only the father is employed. The aim of the study is to determine if there is any correlation between maternal employment and the presence or lack of presence of the specified character traits. The empirical study was conducted using the quantitative research method with a non–probability sample. The data collection method used for the purpose of this study was in the form of questionnaires, based on the Likert scale. The content validity of the questionnaire was evaluated by a subject matter expert, while the face validity was determined by the Statistical Consultation Services of the North West University. Analysis of completed questionnaires involved descriptive statistics and practical significance. The target population, high school teachers within the North West and Gauteng Province, consisted of 70 participants. Based on the findings emanating from the research, there were no noticeable difference found between teenagers within households where both parents are employed and households where only the father is employed, although the results indicated a tendency for children within households where both parents are employed to be slightly more self confident, lean more towards an internal lotus of control, have higher ambition and are less dependent than those teenagers from households where only the father is employed. These findings, although not noticeable, agree with the literature. There were limitations that had an impact on the results of this study. The limited population resulted in a small sample. The sample indicated that 41 percent have five years or less experience. Participants indicated that they are not always aware of the household dynamics. Additional limitations include the strict ethical roadblocks when conducting research on children. It was recommended that a more comprehensive study should follow, which should include the participation of mothers and teenagers alike. This will give the researcher a distinct and clear result of what the influences could be within the household dynamics.
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