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Rude to your colleague? Think of the children

When people are rude to their colleagues or treat them badly, they probably don't realize that the unintended victims in this could be the employees' children. Women who experience unwillingness at work are more likely to engage in stricter, more authoritarian parenting practices that can negatively affect their children, new research shows.

Workplace malpractice is any conduct that is rude, disrespectful, impolite or otherwise contrary to workplace standards of respect. This behavior shows a lack of concern for others, according to the researcher. Some examples of unkindness in the workplace are ignoring or making negative comments about someone, not appreciating the work of others, blaming others for your own mistakes, avoiding someone, or cutting people off from a network or team.

To better understand the effects rudeness at work has on the home environment, the researchers conducted an online survey of 146 working mothers and their husbands. Mothers were asked about their experience of workplace unkindness and feelings of effectiveness as a parent. Their husbands were asked to report on the negative parenting behavior of the mothers, both authoritarian (strict and controlling) and tolerant. They found a significant association between perceived abusive behavior at work and authoritarian parenting by working mothers at home. No association was found with permissive parenting.

Survey results also showed that workplace unwillingness was associated with mothers feeling less effective as parents, which could help explain why there is an increasing need for strict, controlling parenting behavior, the researcher said.

Authoritarian parents have high expectations for their children, with rules they expect their children to follow unconditionally. At the same time, however, they offer little feedback and nurturing and any mistakes are severely punished, the researcher said. They tend to have a lot of rules and control over almost every aspect of their children's lives, and value discipline over fun.