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Maternal work status is a key family factor that is linked with young children’s education. Does having a mother stay at home benefit the early development of her children? Does having an employed mother pose a risk for early child development or confer benefits? These questions have dogged the field of developmental psychology because they trigger concerns about the effects of maternal deprivation on children and raise issues about socialization processes that are essential to children’s cognitive and social development. At the same time, however, maternal employment provides opportunities for increased economic resources and enhanced adult well-being. Implicitly, questions about maternal employment when children are young tap into values and attitudes about the roles of women in society and beliefs about best child-rearing practices.

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