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‘Uncivil Workplace, Uncivil Home’: Study shows rude co-workers may influence moms’ parenting style

Photo: Steve Debenport/iStockphoto

San Francisco — A study of working moms suggests that those who experience incivility at work may, in turn, be more strict or controlling with their children.

For the study, researchers at Carleton University surveyed 146 working mothers and their spouses. The mothers shared their experiences with incivility in the workplace, as well as feelings of effectiveness as a parent. Their spouses reported on the mothers’ parenting behaviors – both authoritarian (strict and controlling) and permissive.

Results showed that the mothers who experienced behavior from co-workers that was rude, disrespectful, impolite or violated workplace norms of respect were more likely to engage in stricter, more authoritarian parenting practices that can have negative effects on children, including implementing an excessive amount of unconditional rules and micromanaging their children’s lives.

Additionally, workplace incivility was linked to the mothers feeling less effective as parents, which the researchers say might explain the increased need to engage in strict, controlling parenting behaviors.

“These findings reveal some previously undocumented ways that women, in particular, suffer as a result of workplace aggression,” Angela Dionisi, researcher and assistant professor of management at Carleton University, said in an Aug. 11 press release from the American Psychological Association. “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.”

The findings, which the researchers hope provide the impetus for organizations to better understand and control workplace incivility, were presented Aug. 11 at APA’s annual convention.

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