Dealing With Workaholic Parents

Table of Content

            Most teenage kids would prefer to be out with their friends than with their parents. However, while there are many teenagers who are trying to get out of the shadows of their parents, there are also some who only see the shadow of their parents and never actually get to have time to spend with them.

            It is frustrating to see other kids neglect their over eager parents while others are longing to spend even just an hour with their own parents. Many parents are so immersed with their jobs that they tend to forget that they have a family wanting to spend time with them. There are parents who are so focused on earning money and providing for the needs of their family that they would prefer to spend late hours at work than go home and eat family dinner with their kids. While the desire to adequately provide for the family is a very noble cause, this is not entirely helpful for children.

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            Kids who rarely see their parents fail to develop neither a strong bond nor a glimpse of connection with them. Most of these kids end up longing for attention, love, and care from other people. As a result, many of these kids find emotional attachment in their friends or in the parents of their friends. Thus, when parents try to bond with their children, they find it very difficult to strike a fruitful conversation or even catch their attention to do a family bonding activity. This may be very difficult for the parents to accept, but it is a consequence that they have to face in the name of workaholism. However, this may just be one side of the coin.

            According to Shellenbarger, kids react differently to workaholic parents. One of the common reactions is the development of a very negative attitude towards their parents’ workaholism. They rebel and reject achievement and the recognition thereof. They are constantly seeking for attention so that even for a while, their parents will look into them and actually spend time with them, even if this means their parents will be scolding them. Gaining their attention is better than not gaining any attention at all. Another common reaction is they try to imitate their parents and even outdo them if they can. They immerse themselves in work in order to keep up with the busy schedule of their parents. They have been so used to seeing their parents very busy that they unconsciously imitate them. They perceive that their parents’ workaholism will do them good as well, or worse, they feel the need to be busy even if they don’t (Shellenbarger).

            Both of the above indicated reactions have positive effects on the child. For the first reaction, the child’s association with friends exposes him or her to many people. Thus, it provides more room for the child to socialize and interact with different personalities. It allows him or her to be flexible with other people. For the second reaction, workaholism may bring the child success in the endeavors that he or she is engaged in. This allows the child to stretch his or her capabilities beyond perceived limitations. It provides a better and wider horizon for excellence (Shellenbarger).

However, while these situations prove to have positive effects, these reactions also lead to several negative effects. Based on study conducted by Professor Robert Blum of the University of Minessota, workaholism of parents may have serious negative effects on the child-parent relationship as well as to the personal life of the child (qtd. in Hinsliff). Particularly, a child with a workaholic parent is at risk for delinquency. The lack of sufficient attention and guidance from parents cause children to resort to drug addiction or even be part of the statistics on teenage pregnancy. Moreover, as their parents are always not around, children are likely to stay outside their homes, and those who are out on the streets are prone to engaging in smoking, drinking alcohol as well as doing illegal or delinquent activities (Hinsliff).

            Another negative effect is the fact that parents no longer have sufficient time to talk with their children and simply bond with them. According to Borba, there is a need for parents to spend time with their children, especially during their pre-teen and teenage years (qtd. in Minsky and Holk). The author indicates that this is a difficult and risky period for the teens. It is a time when they are out exploring what the world has in store for them. They also start to engage in experimentation. With the lack of proper guidance, parents may just be surprised to discover their kids being engaged in activities they never expected them to be involved in (Minsky and Holk)

            Personally, I like the thought that my parents are working hard for me and the needs of the family. I find it noble that they spend most of their time earning dollars in order to provide for their children’s needs. However, while I only have the best praises for the sacrifices of my parents by working doubly hard, I also have negative or sad sentiments about it. There are times when I feel so lonely and long for their embrace. There are also times when I feel so bad that I just want to talk to them, share what I feel, and seek for their advice. I feel that being my parents, they have the sufficient knowledge and experience to teach me what I should and should not do. I value their opinion so much; however, these opinions are rarely sought because either they are out at work or I see them so tired that they just want to rest for the day. Most of the time, I keep my problems to myself and try to solve them on my own, or if I cannot do it alone, I seek the opinion of my peers and siblings.

            With this situation, there are times when I feel depressed, alone, and unloved. I also find it pathetic at times to not see my parents as often as my friends do with their moms and dads. We also do not have much family bonding time, although I would really love that. However, having read several articles and research on this topic, I realized that workaholic parents also have difficulties on their own, particularly in dealing with other people and their family.

            In an articles in the Business Week by Azriella Jaffe, I learned that there are certain workaholics who have been so used with a busy life that they fear that if they stop being busy, their lives will crash. Another difficulty they face is the fact that they are unconsciously thinking about work whenever they are with the people who matter with them. No matter how much they desire to give that individual their full attention, it just would not happen (Jaffe).

            This only shows that workaholism is not only a concern for children alone. Workaholism is also a difficulty that parents are also trying to address and combat with. While children think that they are being neglected by their parents, parents are also struggling in order to counter working too hard and allot time to spend with their family, particularly with their children.

            In order to address this difficulty, there is a need for both parties to collaborate with the other party. Collaboration happens in such a way that both parties present their concerns, and together, they find ways and means to adequately address these concerns (Wright). Through the collaboration process, both parties will be able to air out what one feels over the actions of the other. Knowing expectations will lead one to having a better and fuller grasp of the other individual. It will also expand their understanding of the situation and broaden their horizon on the different options available.

            Workaholism is a great hindrance to any personal relationship. Thus, in addressing this problem, both or all parties should present their views on the difficulty and propose ways and means in order to counter all the problems attached with it and in order for their relationship to be preserved and valued.

Works Cited

Williams, Scott D. “Conflict Management Style and Strategy.” LeaderLetter. 7 Jan. 2003. Wright

State University. 25 June 2009. <>.

Hinsliff, Gaby. “Workaholic Parents Cause Delinquency.” 14 April 2002.

Guardian News and Media. 25 June 2009. <>.

Jaffe, Azriella. “Confessions of a Workaholic.” BusinessWeek. 16 June 1999. 25 June 2009


Minsky, Bonnie C. and Lisa E. Holk. Our Children’s Health. Ridgefield, Connecticut: Vital

            Health Publishing, 2002.

Shellenbarger, Sue. “One Legacy You Dont Want to Pass On—Workaholism.” Workaholics

International Network. n.d. 25 June 2009. ;;.


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