A new Australian study has shown that boys whose fathers work longer hours are more aggressive and suffer from other behavioural issues.
Study researcher Jianghong Li from the WZB Research Centre in Germany worked with four Australian researchers. They recruited thousands of Western Australian families and concluded that parents need to play a more equal role in their children's lives.
"Fathers should be given incentives not to work long hours, but to have a greater share of parenting responsibilities," she says.
Girls aren't as affected by their father's work hours as boys and it's thought this is because children are most affected by the same-gender parent.
The reason sons are so affected by the hours their dads work include:
* Dads who work longer hours don't give mums the support and assistance they need in the home;
* Dads who work longer hours may feel stressed and overburdened;
* Dads who work longer hours have limited time to spend with their children which particularly affect their sons.
Li says she hopes the study highlights the negative affect of long working hours in the new economy. She says mums and dads need to share parenting and work responsibilities to allow children to develop to their full potential.
The study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. We should point out though that the study measured the impact of a father's work hours on a child in a traditional family model of mum, dad and kids all living in one home. It did not draw any conclusions about the children of single parents. Phew.
If the perfect parenting responsibility split is 50/50, what percentage do you reckon you currently fulfil?