Chilean Children’s Perspectives on Their Parents’ Work and Family Conflicts, Tensions, and Reconciliations: Preliminary Gender Analysis

Abstract

Tensions and reconciliations between work and family are analyzed from Chilean children’s perspectives considering that: 1) The quality of family relationship is key to socio-emotional development; 2) The impact on the lives of the children is undeniable due to the link between economic and emotional dependence; 3) Most studies dedicate special attention to those aspects which affect parents and working organizations, with little focus on the children; and, 4) Results regarding the impact of tensions on children’s development and the quality of their upbringing are contradictory. An adapted Ask the children survey was applied to a purposive sample of 955 children (M age  = 13.2, 51 % male). Results show a favorable appraisal of parental competences and time spent together. Work interferences in parent–child relationship encompass the affective sphere (mothers) and communicative area (fathers). Boys would like to work more than their parents did, whereas girls would like to work less than them. Nevertheless, both boys and girls would like to work more than their mothers did. Regarding the worst aspects of having working parents, children reported that is seeing them exhausted and stressed. Still, tensions and conflicts are not perceived dramatically by the children, probably due to some sort of loyalties within the family and the recognition to the efforts related to being absent for long periods of time in behalf family wellbeing. Differences by gender of children and parents are consistent with international evidence. Finally, the discussion of this study encompasses the implications of the conciliation strategies and public and private policies implemented.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Universidad de la Frontera, Regular FONDECYT Grant 1130039 (2013–2015), National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT), Government of Chile.

  2. 2.

    Gender: group of dispositions through which a society transforms biological sexuality in products of human activity, upon which these transformed needs are satisfied (Rubin 1998). It has a performative character which refers to roles in a social space. Therefore, the roles of individuals are conjugated and validated in everyday life, by facing a constant and permanent tension (Butler 2007).

  3. 3.

    Co-responsibility or shared responsibility are used as alternate terms to highlight the responsibility of each family member, especially that of grown men and women in everyday tasks of the family and labor spheres, as well as the responsibility that the State has on the subject (Arriagada 2005).

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Kinkead, A., Saracostti, M., Grau, M.O. et al. Chilean Children’s Perspectives on Their Parents’ Work and Family Conflicts, Tensions, and Reconciliations: Preliminary Gender Analysis. Child Ind Res 10, 649–672 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-016-9388-9

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Keywords

  • Work-family conflicts
  • Working parents
  • Chilean children’s perspective
  • Gender differences