Study suggests parents are torn between their jobs and their children’s mental health

‘Our job systems aren’t set up for you to constantly be missing work’

As a parent, juggling a career and being genuinely present can be a tricky balance to strike. A new study finds when parents feel they must choose, family generally comes first. Experts say this is one driver of the Great Resignation and the increase in Quiet Quitting.

As a parent, juggling a career and being genuinely present can be a tricky balance. A new study found that when parents feel they must choose, family generally comes first.

Experts say this is one driver of the Great Resignation and the increase in Quiet Quitting.

Parents are increasingly finding their jobs, making it challenging to address their children’s mental health concerns, and they’re making changes because of it.

Owning a salon and being a mom can be hectic, but when Megan Schmidt noticed signs of anxiety in her daughter, she knew she had a choice to make.

“Some of the things that I did was cut back some hours here so that I can be present,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt is not alone in changing her work life to accommodate her family’s needs. An ongoing study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital looks at the ripple effect of how parents deal with the strains between work and home.

“What we’re seeing is that when you have to decide on supporting my family, and the appointments, or being there for my child, and work, a lot of parents are choosing their family,” said Ariana Hoet.

The study found almost half of working parents report their child’s mental health has disrupted their ability to work on most days in the past year.

A third study says they’ve changed or quit their jobs during the past two years because of their child’s mental health.

“Our job systems aren’t set up to support that,” Hoet said. “For you to constantly be missing work. And so it creates that natural strain between my job and what’s going on at home.”

Researchers are urging parents to share their struggles and employers to find better ways to help when they do.

“It starts with getting the mental health education in the companies and with our leaders,” Schmidt said. “But then on the other side, making sure that the employees that come to you feel supported enough to know how to open up.”

The study found significantly more Black parents reported changing their work arrangements because of concerns about their child’s mental health.

Minority parents also reported more hesitancy to speak up about these concerns in the workplace.

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About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.