What happens at work doesn’t stay at work.
Women who experienced incivility at work — defined as behavior that is rude, disrespectful, impolite, or otherwise violates workplace norms of respect — are more likely to engage in stricter parenting practices that can have negative effects on their children, according to a new study published in the American Psychological Association.
“We predicted that when the confidence working mothers have in their parenting ability is depleted as a result of incivility, they may be more inclined to engage in strict, controlling parenting behaviors,” study researcher Angela Dionisi, a business and management professor at Carleton University, told Moneyish. “And this is precisely what we found.”
The 146 working mothers and their spouses in the survey were asked about their experiences with rude coworkers or bosses at their workplaces, then about their styles and effectiveness as a parent. Mothers who experienced rude behavior at work — like someone taking credit for their work, or failing to respond to their emails — were more likely to be restrictive and punishment-heavy and to nag or yell at their children rather than offering encouragement.
And children can suffer from this negative parenting approach. “This style of parenting has been associated with a variety of negative child outcomes, including associating obedience and success with love, aggressive behavior outside the home, being fearful or overly shy around others, lower levels of self-esteem, suffering from depression and anxiety and struggling with self-control,” Dionisi said.
Mistreatment at work can have negative effects on female self-esteem and the confidence women have in their abilities as mothers, which could explain why these women choose to parent this way.
“Being on the receiving end of workplace incivility has been linked to lower levels of effort and performance on the job, higher levels of stress and impaired attention, information processing and decision-making,” Dionisi said.
This isn’t the first study to find a link between workplace behavior and relationships at home. A recent study from the University of Illinois found that employees who received rude or condescending emails at work transmitted that stress to their significant others, causing both partners to withdraw from work the following week.
Overall, it’s important for employers to realize the extent of the damage that ensues from acts of incivility at work, Dionisi said.
For example, employers should stage interventions to mitigate the occurrence of workplace incivility, as well as efforts to educate employees about the nature and effects of this form of mistreatment. “There should be greater resources for family members of those who experience this prevalent workplace behavior,” she added.
“We hope that these findings will encourage working mothers who are experiencing this mistreatment at work to seek support,” Dionisi said.
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