CultureWatch

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A review of Day Care Deception. By Brian Robertson.

Jun 15, 2004

Encounter Books, 2003.

We are currently witnessing a grand social experiment, the results of which are not fully in as yet. But the data that is coming in is not good. We are allowing an entire generation of babies and young children to be raised by strangers. While adults might benefit from such arrangements, the well-being of children is being put at risk.

That is the sobering conclusion of a new volume by a research fellow at the Washington-based Family Research Council. With extensive documentation Robertson demonstrates how extended periods of day care are harming our children.

Robertson shows how feminist ideology, coupled with a sympathetic media and a cowardly academy, have managed to convince many that parenting is too important to be left to mere parents, that bureaucrats know better than mum and dad, and that day care centers are in fact good for children.

All three of these emphases are incorrect. But the growth of the day care industry is hard to counter. In the US, federal subsidies to the child care market rocketed from $2 billion in 1965 to $15 billion in 2000. And as more and more mothers enter the paid work force (most because of economic necessity, not personal preference) the day care juggernaut races onwards.

These social trends have resulted in a devaluing of motherhood, a weakening of the family unit, and most importantly, negative outcomes for our children. The harmful effects of extended periods of day care include higher rates of illness, greater chance of sexual abuse, higher rates of aggression, and greater risk of antisocial personality disorders.

The emotional, psychological and physical harm to children who spend lengthy amounts of time in day care has been well documented for some decades now. Yet the social science evidence is often attacked, covered up or ignored. Those who try to present the evidence are personally abused and vilified. It is just not politically correct to tell the truth on this issue.

The story of researcher Jay Belsky is a case in point. As an early proponent of day care, he was the darling of feminists and academia. But his research caused him to have a change of heart, and when he started to publish data showing negative consequences, he was furiously opposed.

Although he sought to be as cautious and restrained as possible, the child care establishment and its supporters distorted his findings and blackballed his research. He quickly became persona non grata in the eyes of many. Robertson carefully chronicles this and similar episodes in the day care wars.

Robertson reviews the studies which show how early day care harms the mother-infant bond which is so important in a child’s development. Of course defenders of day care put a different spin on the findings. Children in day care are not more aggressive, simply more “independent”. And they even try to say that if such aggression exists, it is a virtue, not a vice.

Moreover, they argue that children do better socially and educationally when in day care. But the solid research on these matters points in the other direction. Robertson cites many studies showing how children are disadvantaged on the academic and social levels, when kept in day care.

He also notes that when a study does come out which suggests that children do well, even better, in day care, it is always front page news. But when the more numerous and reliable studies come along, warning of the negative consequences, they are buried in the back pages of the press, if they appear at all.

Robertson competently takes on a number of myths about day care. For example, he challenges the myth that the poor need, and want, day care. He documents how in the US, the families most likely to use center-based day care are those earning $75,000 a year. Surveys show that the vast majority of low-income mums prefer to have their children stay at home in their early years. He even demonstrates that mums who want to put their children into day care are “atypical”.

The fact that so many parents do resort to day care is evidence of economic policies that make it very hard on single-income families. Instead of putting more money into day care, we should be restructuring our economic policies so that those families who choose to let their infants stay at home in the early years can do so.

But much of the modern corporate world is in league with feminist ideology here. Both identify women’s interests with “independence from husbands and family, and a corresponding greater dependence on corporation and government”. Earlier feminists recognised the importance of the home and of motherhood. Modern feminists do not, and much of the free market is happy to side with the new version of things.

Thus Robertson calls for an overhaul of both government and corporate practices, to reflect the desire of most mothers to be at home with their babies. His concluding chapter offers suggestions on how parents can reclaim parenting. Social and taxation policies must be reworked to allow for genuine parental choice. Those parents who wish to look after their own children should be given the financial incentives to do so.

This book provides the data and rationale for why we need to rethink our priorities and revamp of policies. Bureaucrats and others will not like it, but most parents will welcome it. Let the debate continue.

[900 words]

12 Responses to A review of Day Care Deception. By Brian Robertson.

  • I am most glad that this site provides a forum for reading and discussing such things. As the review mentions, the public media doesn’t want to know of any “cons” to childcare – even if these reports and studies are more frequent and reliable!

    The negative effects of childcare are not rocket science, however, they fly in the face of self obsessed and selfish feminism. The effects of such thinking are only too evident in our community with the growing breakdown of the entire family concept.

    I do not, however, concur with the conclusions that this battle must be fought with government incentives for stay at home mothers. It is not about money! That is the point itself!

    Parents do the right thing because it IS the right thing and should not need to be told by some government how they should live. If we need to rely on a government before we do the right thing for our children then we have lost the battle already.

    It is about the child, about the children, about the family.

    Jeremy Peet, Melbourne 

  • I agree with the comments above but only as they relate to FULL TIME day care. I have three children under six, all of them were raised only by my husband and I for the first year of their lives and then we utilised day care one or two days a week according to our needs at the time. This IS great for their socialisation and development. We are still the greatest influence in their lives but we also have the benefit of some respite.

    It used to be that families would remain close and assist each other in the raising of children. This is no longer the case. Child raising is an enormous job and to expect one couple to have the energy and resources to cope is robbing the children. My kids love their day at day care and I am able to clean, shop etc and be a less stressed mum

    I am a stay at home mum surviving on only my husband’s income and the child care benefit is a God send. Motherhood is a very difficult job, please don’t make it more so by attacking child care.

    Sharny Annison, Leongatha

  • Thanks Sharny

    Of course neither Robertson nor I are attacking child care per se, but the tendency to see it as harmless, and maybe even superior to mother care. As my various articles in this section demonstrate, the best we can give young children is parental care, and the studies make it clear that the more day care at more earlier ages, the more harm to the child.

    Of course some parents have no choice but to use child care. Governments should help out so that the many mums who use child care reluctantly do not have to. Real choice should be available, and mums should not be led to believe that their only option is formal day care.

    Robertson and I are greatly concerned about the fact that for the first time in human history, we are allowing an entire generation of children (or a good part of it) to be raised by strangers. That is a real concern, and perhaps you would find that concerning as well.

    Thanks again for your comments

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • The “Daycares Don’t Care” website doesn’t pull any punches reporting the cons of daycare that Jeremy alluded to:
    anti-daycare

    Judy Satin

  • Dear Jeremy, I am opposed to media-feminism, but it is not a product of personal selfishness, as it is a concept forced on us women such that now we are forced, by so-called liberation, to work. I have been without gas and heating in winter, with no food for myself in order to feed my kids, and all sorts of poverty whilst working. I abhor daycare.

    Dear Sharny, you have a very nice life, but poor mums are forced to work day in and out and daycare is not choice but force for them, much as they’d love to be stay-at-home mums. Beware, however, you may find that in the future, this cherished idea of ‘socialisation’ backfires on you when your child listens more to his peers than his wise parents.

    Dear BIll, thank you!

    Madhavi Lee

  • One aspect of the call to federally fund day care and all that is it can be described not in terms of any “civil right” or essential govt service (if there is any), but rather as a subsidy for a lifestyle decision derived through general taxation. In other words, the beneficiary, really the woman (definitely not the child, who by any reasonable standard is clearly compromised), demands a subsidy to provide for a lifestyle choice based on a political or social theory . That is not in my mind what our tax monies should be used for.

    It isn’t “sustainable”.

    I have described this to many “” power” women who I greatly respect in positions of some influence and there is simply outright refusal to even consider the logic. It’s simple to them, we have a “right” to have children(no more so than one has a right to a good long and fulfilling life) and have others subsidize their upbringing through organs of state and private industry in order to satisfy a social and political theory not shared by any significant number of people, necessarily.

    As you point out, most women are forced into this arrangement after believing the bogus economic arguments in favor of it relating to “getting ahead”.

    Of course, that subsidy would be grossly unfair to families opting out of this dubious arrangement where children are handed over to the arms of the state in favor of both man and woman being absorbed into the emerging fascist ecconomy with high technology enforcing order. The term Pollyanna describes much of what passes for this sort of feminist zeal for big brother govt “nurturing” the human family. Too many briliant and capable women have been suckered into going to law school and the results are catastrophic.

    Neal Perrochet

  • I am an American housewife who chooses to stay at home with my child in order to insure she has the best care possible. The popular belief in my country these days is that moms such as myself are depriving their children of a better lifestyle by not pursuing a career. We are looked down upon for not “contributing to society” as though our obligation to the state were more important than our own children. I am also married and expecting my second child.
    My husband is the father of both my children, which makes our family a rarity in America. Most women my age (24) are brainwashed by society into a sense of entitlement; that is, they have no traditional obligations to their family such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for children but expect their husbands/boyfriends/government to give them money and indulge their every whim. Most young American women think monogamy is outdated. No wonder most American men do not want to marry them and have children. The problem is a breakdown of morals. Children are implicitly taught in schools that the purpose of life is the pursuit of wealth at any cost. The media recapitulates this idea on every front. Consequently, I have concluded that home school is the best option for my children and possibly their only hope. When I tell people that I do not own a television, they almost burst into tears. Day care is only a small part of the problem in America, and I suspect this trend towards non-traditional families is part of a larger global agenda.
    Bottom line: do not trust anyone else when it comes to your children. Jobs come and go, but your children are yours forever.
    Georgia Akin, USA

  • I must admit that i did not read the book. But one very important thing that i believe should be pointed out is the fact that separation of the children from their parents, especially at very early age is in line with New World Order plans. Very young and very vulnerable children are much easier to “mold”. Hence the disinterest of powers that be to listen to the logic. Fraudulent Feminazi agenda is used as driving force behind lowering wages and therefore more women are being forced to work, therefore having to abandon their children into the care of the nanny state.
    Len Miskulin

  • I heard a former director of a preschool say, “Children learn nothing of value from each other.”

    Here is a site on daycare:

    daycaresdontcare.org/

    Donna Young

  • I’m a Canadian house wife who shares the exact feelings as Georgia Akin who posted earlier. I also homeschool and struggle daily with the way in which society views our family. I have experienced outright persecution for refusing to return to the work force after becoming a mother. Homeschooling has been challenging (not the schooling part). I’v been accused of depriving my children of proper education even though they are at least a grade ahead of their peers in the public shcool system. I want what is best for my children, an enviroment without violence, guns, drugs, rape, and the brainwashing dished out by daycare and school system. Thank You Georgia for your post. I haven’t read Robertson’s book but would like to get my hands on it. I wonder if he is aware that taking both parents out of the home and placing children in child care and other youth related activites was the mandate in pre Nazi Germany and a major factor in Hilters ability to control the minds of the German people. I’m a Christian Jew, and I see the writing on the wall.
    Katherine Mathieson

  • DayCare? Orphanage? what is the difference? I had forgot to mention in the previous post that children raised in third world orphanages have sickingly similiar behavioural and emotional issues as children raised in day care. I’m not knocking occassional child care that gives a parent a breather whether it is Grandma or a public day care. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a child from China. We have researched and read everything there is to read pertaining to child abandonment and children raised in the orphanage setting. RAD or reactive attachment disorder is commom in adopted children from either western foster care systems or third world orphanges. The quaility of the orphanage care does not improve the situation for these children. The number one key factor which hinders a child’s ability to bond to its (adoptive) parent, whether it is in a daycare setting, an orphanage or foster care is the mulitple care takers involved with the child.
    The emotional trauma of abandoment (which children who are dumped off at daycare experience) cuts so deep into the heart of a child, into their very being! is far too painful and overwhelming for any child to process. We wonder why we have teenaged suicide and young people litterly filled with rage. I hope I’m not being too bold in comparing parents who abandon their children in China to parents who abandom their children in daycares accross the country. If it offends perhaps it is because the truth hurts. Thank you Brian Robertson for having the courage to write this book. Though I haven’t actually read it yet, it would be an invaluable tool for shutting the mouths of the daycare Nazi’s in my neighbourhood.
    Katherine Mathieson, Canada

  • Thank you so much Georgia & Katherine. I am a homeschool mum in Australia and thankfully people don’t often make negative remarks. But I agree with what you have said the children need to be with their parents but also their siblings, they don’t need day care… Sharny I agree it is hard in this day and age to get help when parents may live far away or are elderly, but I believe there are other ways to get respite if we are creative and trust God He will provide ways to meet those needs, sometimes just having quiet time to read a book or a nice movie or go out on a date with my husband or for a coffee with friends is enough to refresh me. Your family is the greatest gift that God has given lets invest into their lives and enjoy them before they grow up and leave home!
    Liz Gee

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