Night Shift Hurts Family Relations

Tag-team parenting - where parents' flexible or opposite work schedules mean kids' schedules are covered, but mom and dad rarely overlap - may not be good for kids. Workplace flexibility is often touted as family friendly, but work schedules that go too far outside of standard daytime hours may actually be detrimental to family life, according to a recent study.

In a recent issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, researchers reported that "unsociable work times" (hours during evenings, weekends or nights) are associated with poorer mental health in parents and more social and emotional difficulties in children. Compared with families in which both parents work standard daytime hours, families where fathers or mothers work nonstandard hours show worse family functioning and more hostile and ineffective parenting, according to the study.

"Work in the evenings, nights and weekends can make it harder to maintain family rituals, routines and social activities that are important for closeness," the researchers note.

The Journal of Marriage and Family is published by the National Council on Family Relations (

- Sarah Bennett-Astesano

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