Helping employers to boost working-parent wellbeing, productivity & work-life balance

Harmful Balance

There is a persistent conflict that exists between our work and home lives – which both workers and employers have a vested interest to resolve.
What we can determine from this constant state of flux, is that gaining work-life balance is an active process which, if skewed one way or the other, can lead to psychological harm with an inevitable, detrimental impact on wellbeing and productivity.

Harmful Balance

Harmful balance is a phrase I came across just this morning as I read through a research paper that explores Occupational Health (yes I do this in my spare time!)

It is a phrase coined to describe the state of an individual who has low resources, but high demands - and it immediately struck me that this is the position many working parents are in.

The high demands

As I’m sure you will agree; there is no question that the demands on parents are immense.

These demands ebb and flow. They are unpredictable and can be incredibly intense and stressful.

For example, a couple I spoke to over the weekend have a 16yr old son who is staying out until all hours of the night. They have little idea of who their son is now associating with, but suspect marijuana is on the menu and are praying that it isn’t anything harder.

The fear these parents are experiencing and the sudden lack of control - is causing them sleepless nights – with a huge impact on the way they show up in the workplace.

So, we know – even without the research and statistics to back it up – that the teen and tween years are notoriously difficult periods in the developmental process, to endure.

Managing and effectively responding to a child’s transitional years towards adulthood involves no end of conflict - whilst these social, emotional, physical, and neurological changes take place.

If we then consider that working parents not only have to contend with this but have to do so within strict time constraints due to the work they are obliged to do – it’s no walk in the park.

Low resources

Cuts to youth, social and health services have meant that there are no longer the structural systems in place to help working parents manage the demands – so we can immediately see that resources are low.

Not only that but as children get older – parent networks are very suddenly shut down.

Networks are powerful resources in any setting – but it gets a brutal cull as children transition into their secondary school years.

I can assure you – the deep feelings of isolation felt, when parents are no longer able to meet with others in the school playground for pick-ups of drop-offs, hits hard.
They are instead met with iron school gates that can be infiltrated by appointment only.

They receive emails from faceless staff members, and they get an annual 5-minute chat to talk to eight teachers about whether their child is going to attain a grade 1-9 in their future GCSE or A Level exams.

And that’s it!

The only help on offer is if a child and/or parent reaches crisis point - and even then - there are waiting lists for these services.

If we consider the relationship between parenting demands and their resources – then the term ‘harmful balance’ can very easily be operationalised! use cookies and other similar technologies on this website to improve your browsing experience and functionality of our site. By clicking "I accept cookies", you consent to the storing on your device of all the technologies described in our Privacy Policy.