If you’re a five year old Australian kid and you’re sitting there reading 8BitDad while your dad is at work late, first of all, thanks! You have great taste in websites. Second of all, you’re going to turn out to be a hooligan. Because of your dad, not us.
According to a total snorefest called “Mothers’ and Fathers’ Work Hours, Child Gender, and Behavior in Middle Childhood”, Aussie five year olds whose dads work more than 55 hours a week showed “significantly higher levels of externalizing behavior”. That’s science-speak for “total dick behavior.”
The study appears in a recent issue of The Journal of Marriage and Family, which is a great read. On opposite day.
The researchers – Sarah Johnson, Jianghong Li, Garth Kendall, Lyndall Strazdins, and Peter Jacoby – surveyed data from the “Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study”. They checked the data of roughly 1,400 kids at ages 5, 8 and 10 for behavior (which was reported by “mostly” the mother in a Child Behavior Checklist), and found that sons (but not daughters) of dads working 55 hours per week or more exhibited higher levels of delinquent behavior.
About 19% of Aussie fathers in the study worked 55 hours or more when their kids were five years old. The stat goes up to 20% for eight year old kids. Mothers’ work hours seemed to not affect kids in the study, though researchers say that Aussie moms are not working as much.
It should be noted that the results are “inconsistent” with prior studies on similar topics; but older studies set dad’s work hours at 40 hours per week and focused on father-child relationships, rather than child behavior.
Researchers guess that the association between long work hours and bad behavior “could be due to reduced parental time and higher levels of overreactive parenting or family dysfunction”. Or, in other words, after you just had a whammy of a day at work and then sat in traffic for an hour and the first thing you do once you’re home is snap at your kids as they act out their excitement that you’re home by doing backflips off the couch.
Researchers suggest that employers and policymakers consider fathers for work flexibility so their children don’t become absolute dicks.
(photo plucked from here)