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Ask the Children: What America's Children Really Think About Working Parents Hardcover – September 22, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This detailed and well-organized report is based on extensive interviews with children about how their parents navigate the responsibilities of home and work. Galinsky, the president and cofounder of Families and Work Institute and the author of The Six Stages of Parenthood, makes her rigorous scholarship accessible with succinct, vivid writing. The authors conclude that children are no less happy or healthy when both parents work but do suffer from stressful workplaces and unreliable shedules. One example of the original, compassionate, and realistic recommendations is to share with children what is enjoyable about work as much as its difficultis. The conclusions and recommendations are original, compassionate, and realistic. This is an important addition to the intense, ongoing cultural conversation, joining Arlie Hochschild's The Time Bind (LJ 5/1/97) and Toby L. Parcel and Elizabeth G. Menaghan's Parents' Jobs and Children's Lives (Aldine de Gruyter, 1994). Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.APaula Dempsey, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Galinsky is president and cofounder of the Families and Work Institute, and her new sociological field study of work and family life, which takes society's burning work issues to the children, was embargoed due to a first serial agreement with Newsweek until the end of August. It may not be Kinsey, but people are still bound to talk. Bonnie Smothers

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688147526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688147525
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #993,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ellen Galinsky, president and cofounder of the Families and Work Institute, helped establish the field of work and family life at Bank Street College of Education, where she was on the faculty for twenty-five years. At the institute, she continues to conduct seminal research on the changing workforce and changing family. Her more than forty books and reports include Ask the Children: The Breakthrough Study That Reveals How to Succeed at Work and Parenting and the now-classic The Six Stages of Parenthood. She has received numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the 2004 Distinguished Achievement Award from Vassar College. She served as the elected president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources in 2005. She holds a Master of Science degree in child development and education from Bank Street College of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in child study from Vassar College. A popular keynote speaker, she was a presenter at the White House Conference on Child Care in 1997 and on Teenagers in 2000. She is featured regularly in the media, including appearances on Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Karen Diamond on October 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a MUST for working parents. For young, working moms like my daughter and daughter-in-law, this book gives practical suggestions on how to manage their work and family life better. Best of all, the results of Galinsky's survey seem to tell working parents that they don't have to feel guilty about the time they're not with their kids, because the kids don't seem to mind. I like her terms for time with the family: "focus" time and "hang around" time. All parents - working and not - who feel stressed out about not giving enough time and efforts to their children need to read this book. I'm giving it to my married children and all the young parents on my holiday gift list. It's great!
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book! Finally, we have something that deals head-on with parent-child communication from BOTH sides. Galinsky's insight and tips are invaluable. I would recommend this book to anyone who balances going to work and raising children. It's already changed the dynamics between myself and my kids with regard to work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As an undergraduate, I majored in sociology and chose work and familly relations for my honor's capstone research. My major professor and I selected this book (along with some other standard and newer books relating to this subject). This book became my favorite - outshining some of my other favorites on this topic.
This book takes a practical approach to issues regarding parenting, work, and balancing life. Who would have ever thought to ask children what they felt about their parents working and their family lives? I highly recommend this to adults with children and even to those who are considering having children one day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Parent Coach Company on December 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
You've probably heard all sides of the debate and most likely everyone from friend to family has weighed in on the issue: As a parent, do you return to work or not? Ellen Galinsky took the question straight to the children to find out their perspective. While parents may fear what the children will say, they will be enlightened by the results of this study.

This book is a valuable resource for working parents looking to find a sense of balance between work and family challenges. The type of time parents spend with their children turns out to be more important to the children than the amount of time. Ellen provides parents with ways to strengthen their children's perceptions of what they do at work and why parents work. This book, while it can be time consuming to read all of the statistics, is a must read for all parents.
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Format: Hardcover
Ask Children but Don’t Rely on Their Answers
It’s usually beneficial to ask children (I’ll expand on this later), but don’t do what Galinsky does in this book and rely on their answers. That’s because answers to questions—as documented by extensive research—are skewed and made unreliable by all four components of the asking method: respondents, asking instruments, situations or environments in which questions are asked and answers given, and by askers themselves. Galinsky acknowledges (unintentionally, I presume) the unreliability of answers when she describes numerous and significant “discrepancies” in answers of children and parents concerning time spent together in certain activities and in other instances (pp. 58-83). She also admits that parents tend to answer questions in “a socially desirable way” (p. 58) and that means their answers may not be accurate; moreover, parents, most likely more so than children, “exaggerate” (p. 76).
To be sure, not every answer to every question is incorrect; thus, there may be some correct information in this book. But when all you have are answers, you can’t distinguish between accurate answers and answers skewed by a sense of what’s socially desirable; between accurate answers and exaggerated answers; you can’t determine which of the discrepancies reported by children and parents are accurate which are inaccurate. The only way to know if answers are correct or accurate is to check or verify them with information from observation, experiments, or other non-asking sources. Galinsky does not check her answers with information from non-asking sources; all she has is unreliable information.
As mentioned above, it’s usually beneficial to ask children because children (as is true for parents and everyone else) like to express themselves.
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