A new North Carolina State University study has found that parents, who work at odd hours, have troubled relationships with their children.
Also, children with such turbulent relationship are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors such as vandalism, hurting others badly, theft and skipping school, the study found.
To determine the impact of "nonstandard" work schedules, which are anything outside the conventional "9 to 5" framework, such as night or evening shifts, on child-parent relationships and delinquency, the researchers looked at nationally representative data from 1,986 adolescents aged 10-17.
The data included information about parent work schedules, self-reporting from the children on their relationships with their parents and self-reporting from the children on delinquent behaviors.
The researchers evaluated two-parent households where both parents worked standard, 9 to 5 jobs; households where one parent worked a standard schedule and one worked a nonstandard schedule; and households where both parents worked nonstandard schedules.
Josh Hendrix, a sociology student at NC State and lead author of the paper, said that they found that 'tag-team' parenting, where one parent works a nonstandard schedule, can result in stronger family relationships.
Specifically, in households where the father works 9 to 5 and the mother works a nonstandard schedule, adolescents reported higher levels of closeness to their parents than households where parents both worked standard schedules, Hendrix said.
They also reported lower levels of delinquent behavior and there was no advantage when the father worked a nonstandard schedule and the mother worked 9 to 5, Hendrix added.
However, children in two-parent households where both parents work nonstandard schedules reported weaker bonds with their parents, compared to children in households where both parents work standard schedules.
Also, children of single mothers who work nonstandard schedules did report both higher levels of delinquent behavior and weaker child-parent bonds.
The study is published online in the Journal of Family Issues.