CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Yes, Children Need Their Mother and Father

Oct 30, 2017

Back in 1991 I wrote these words: “No matter how caring and loving, a surrogate care-giver can never replace a mother – or father – in providing security, love and a sense of self-worth to young children. Yet in a society which is becoming increasingly characterised by alienation, harshness and purposelessness, the love and wellbeing which only a mother and father can give is coming under increasing pressure.”

Even back then there was a wealth of social science research to back up such claims. And things have not changed over time. Indeed, the data continues to show what most of us know by commonsense: children do best when raised by their own mother and father.

While children need both parents, at early ages the vital need to be looked after by mum is a key finding of the research. Extended periods in daycare for young children is harmful. That I was also documenting decades ago. And that case can still be made – and is being made, even today.

Consider two new articles which both speak to these truths. The first has to do with mother-absence as found in the UK. It is worth quoting at length from. It opens:

Sometimes in life you just have to smash the glass and pull the emergency brake, even if it means incurring the wrath of some of your fellow passengers. That is precisely what Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline, did the other day when she wrote an article outlining in stark terms the psychological repercussions on children of having both parents who work.
‘Time is the greatest gift we can give our own children, yet in Britain today it is the scarcest resource we have, especially for working parents,’ she said. ‘These days most parents work, often long hours,’ she continued. ‘I remember speaking to a teenage boy who was suffering very serious problems. I suggested to him his mother would want to know.
‘He replied: “When she gets home from work she’s so tired she can’t talk to me.” I asked if the weekends might give them the chance to talk. “She works in a shop,” he told me. “She never has a day off.”’ I don’t imagine Rantzen’s comments will have won her many fans among hardline feminists. But her concerns bear serious consideration. After all, her experience in the field of troubled children is unique.
Childline is 30 years old, the first initiative of its kind — a dedicated service for children where, free from adult influence, they can talk openly and honestly about their problems. It is perfectly placed to have an unbiased view of what troubles them and of the cause of those troubles.
Barely a week seems to go by without another report claiming rising levels of anxiety and depression among young people. And unlike when Childline began, these feelings are not so much triggered by abuse or neglect (although that still happens far too often) but rather a generalised sense of unease and worry.
So what’s causing this? According to the experts at Childline, there are a number of factors at play, not least the impact of the internet and social media on the developing mind.
But there is something else, too, a far less headline-grabbing but in many ways more complex problem: parental absence and, in particular, the absence of a mother figure. A loving, nurturing, caring person in their lives, someone to set boundaries, lend structure, provide support and encouragement — and create a calm, safe environment in which they can flourish.

This lengthy and important article is well worth reading, but let me offer its closing paragraphs:

In 2015, a study by Harvard Business School found that in two-parent families with reasonable incomes, children of working mothers were at a distinct disadvantage. It said: ‘Employment was associated with negative child outcomes when families were not at risk financially (i.e., when families were middle or upper-middle class).’ Young children need to play and explore in an environment where they feel safe, special and loved. For infants, this means with care-givers to whom they feel they belong. Quite simply, their mothers.
No one wants to return to the days when married women weren’t allowed to work. But between that and feminism’s utopian dream must lie a place where mothers can be mothers and children can be children without either losing out. Perhaps that starts with recognising the value of working for something more than the money and the glory: a happy, stable home where the next generation can grow and flourish. A novel concept indeed.

My second article had to do with a new book which also covers these themes and comes to the same conclusions. The article, “The Politicization of Motherhood,” begins this way:

Motherhood used to be as American as apple pie. Nowadays it can be as antagonistic as American politics. Ask Erica Komisar. Ms. Komisar, 53, is a Jewish psychoanalyst who lives and practices on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If that biographical thumbnail leads you to stereotype her as a political liberal, you’re right. But she tells me she has become “a bit of a pariah” on the left because of the book she published this year, “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.”
Christian radio stations “interviewed me and loved me,” she says. She went on “Fox & Friends,” and “the host was like, your book is the best thing since the invention of the refrigerator.” But “I couldn’t get on NPR,” and “I was rejected wholesale—particularly in New York—by the liberal press.” She did appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” but seconds before the camera went live, she says, the interviewer told her: “I don’t believe in the premise of your book at all. I don’t like your book.”
The premise of Ms. Komisar’s book—backed by research in psychology, neuroscience and epigenetics—is that “mothers are biologically necessary for babies,” and not only for the obvious reasons of pregnancy and birth. “Babies are much more neurologically fragile than we’ve ever understood,” Ms. Komisar says. She cites the view of one neuroscientist, Nim Tottenham of Columbia University, “that babies are born without a central nervous system” and “mothers are the central nervous system to babies,” especially for the first nine months after birth.
What does that mean? “Every time a mother comforts a baby in distress, she’s actually regulating that baby’s emotions from the outside in. After three years, the baby internalizes that ability to regulate their emotions, but not until then.” For that reason, mothers “need to be there as much as possible, both physically and emotionally, for children in the first 1,000 days.”

The piece continues:

Ms. Komisar’s interest in early childhood development grew out of her three decades’ experience treating families, first as a clinical social worker and later as an analyst. “What I was seeing was an increase in children being diagnosed with ADHD and an increase in aggression in children, particularly in little boys, and an increase in depression in little girls.” More youngsters were also being diagnosed with “social disorders” whose symptoms resembled those of autism—“having difficulty relating to other children, having difficulty with empathy.”
As Ms. Komisar “started to put the pieces together,” she found that “the absence of mothers in children’s lives on a daily basis was what I saw to be one of the triggers for these mental disorders.” She began to devour the scientific literature and found that it reinforced her intuition. Her interest became a preoccupation: “My husband would say I was a one-note Charlie,” she recalls. “I would come home and I would rant and I would say, ‘Oh my God, I’m seeing these things. I’ve got to write a book about it.’”
That was 12 years ago. She followed her own advice and held off working on the book because her own young children, two sons and a daughter, still needed her to be “emotionally and physically present.” She uses that experience as a rejoinder to critics who accuse her of trying to limit women’s choices. “You can do everything in life,” she says, “but you can’t do it all at the same time.”

While not all of her proposals will appeal to many profamily folks (more paid maternity leave, etc.), she is at least raising issues that the Left refuses to discuss. And if they do discuss it, it is only to demonise those who dare to stand up for motherhood and child-rearing.

My 1991 article (which was a review of an important book by Brenda Hunter), concluded this way, and will suffice for this article’s conclusion as well:

“Never before in American [or Australian] history have so many children been raised by strangers”. It is this trend against the family, and the harmful effects produced by it, which Hunter targets in this book. To win the battle for the family, we need to recognise that we have been sold a bill of goods – a false vision of what family life is and can be. Women can have it all, says Hunter, “but not all at once”. Women who defer careers to give young children the nurture and support they need will live to rejoice over their decision – and with their children and grandchildren as well.

billmuehlenberg.com/1991/03/10/a-review-of-home-by-choice-facing-the-effects-of-mothers-absence-by-brenda-hunter/
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5014665/The-demise-stay-home-mother-harming-children.html
www.wsj.com/articles/the-politicization-of-motherhood-1509144044

[1545 words]

9 Responses to Yes, Children Need Their Mother and Father

  • I never had a mother and father to raise me and I was screwed up big time.

  • Hi Bill,

    1991 Was the year I professed faith in Jesus and became a member of his church. Our mum was the single best, single mum anyone could have had, our beloved mum was always with us and raised three independent adults who are going well with families of our own now, pretty much except in the church family of course, two of us have spouses but not really anyone outside the family to help, just like mum! Mum spent a long time in front of the mirror applying makeup but always took care of our needs before her own especially when us kids were sick, even though we may have had to wait in the car alone while she picked up our medicines when we were sick. While one of us was injured in a serious car crash mum even left the others with family to sit beside the hospital bed for what seemed like months, our beloved mum always put us first except maybe when an aunt came to babysit some week nights while mum played badminton or squash socially plus occasionally attended a ball or function! Thanks for a good upbringing mum, for quitting nursing to nurse your three and keeping up your caring profession always, even with your 94 year old mum in the nursing home right up to the end as far as possible! God bless dads and mums, you too ‘uncle’ Bill! Thank you

  • We are beginning to see what an awesome, sacred responsibility it is to be mothers and fathers. Our earthly parents may sometimes be far from perfect, but, even then, there is hope:

    Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the LORD will receive me.
    – [Psalm 27:10]

  • The lone voice of 11 year old Grace Evans was drowned out a long time ago.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRhGDmdG4dk

    ….drowned out by the slavering brute beast such as the grotesque Rev Sharron Ferguson
    www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00bqcs2

    Meanwhile Bobby Towie, a single, hissy queer, is allowed to have a baby.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXpahYkD77A

    And yet Mr and Mrs Owen Johns a Christian couple have raised their own family and fostered over 50 children are deemed unfit to be parents.
    www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-12603650
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctrua5c-AYU

    The BBC takes every opportunity to pump out LGBT propaganda
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0cxdxuyg9E
    www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20671176

    (Dr) Elly Barnes, lesbian music teacher who was elevated by Queen Elizabeth II to the order of Member of British Empire (MBE) is the supreme agent provocateur for destroying the family:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhRzB9sfaGA
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKWD8FQiHwM

    Here she jauntily boasts of smashing heteronormativity:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw6ziQjadic (slide to 2mins 40 seconds)
    www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/pride-in-london-meet-the-activist-changing-attitudes-to-lgbt-people-one-school-at-a-time-a3580281.html (slide to 35 seconds)

    And here she encourages children to rebel against parents.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt2bSF2xOVg (slide to 50 seconds)

    Homosexuality is a disorder at every level which has been used to create disorder within the minds of children. There will come a day or reckoning for all those, including the Queen, who have been party to this and many more such crimes against marriage, the family, children and the unborn child.

    David Skinner UK

  • Life is truly better when a child grows in the presence of loving parents. This is the secret of good, law abiding citizens.

  • Honestly, I think grappling with motherhood, family and best interests of children is something that modern feminism hasn’t done well to its detriment. Modern society in general doesn’t deal with it well, portraying human beings as merely monetary (real or potential) utilitarian cogs.

    The value of family will not disappear, however broken and diluted it may look.

  • May I respond to Courtney Lockett who says, “Life is truly better when a child grows in the presence of loving parents. This is the secret of good, law abiding citizens”?

    “Loving parents” and “good, law abiding citizens” both need unpacking.
    As we well know, the LGBTs wave the “love” or “lurve” card as justification for same sex marriage, echoing the Beatles’ song, “All you need is love, love love.” Was it love for the Father of Jesus Christ to send Him to Earth in order that He might be crucified? Steve Chalke argues that this was cosmic child abuse.

    Is it love for a father to severely discipline a son, when he discovers his son is driving under the influence of alcohol and if he continues doing so, will kill himself, his passengers and those he collides with?
    Is it love when LGBTs speak of children as having all the goodies: being parents, having a dog and now children to complete the full set?

    Real love is sacrifice, being prepared to give up one’s own rights, for the good of another. Of the two women brought before King Solomon, the real mother was the one prepared to give up her right to the child as a possession, in order to save the child’s life. Whereas the fake mother was the one demanding possession of the child even though it meant its death.
    Same sex love is not agape; it is self loving, narcissism, an all consuming appetite for what others have, including children stolen from other families. They do not mind whom they destroy as long as they get what they want, when they want.

    Is it love to lead a child into a life style that is known to lead to all manner sexually transmitted diseases , mental and emotional problems, a life of addictions, instability, insecurity and an early grave? No one mentions the higher than normal incidence of domestic violence withing lesbian households.

    Satan was trying to come across as kind, sympathetic and more human when he whispered in the ears of Eve and Jesus Christ . A paedophile whispers into the ear of a child, saying “We should be kind to one another.” Where in all the world will you find more highly esteemed and respectable parents, teaching their children the proper values and morality necessary for building a strong nation, fit for the 20th and 21st century than here? yalebooksblog.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2014/09/5.2-Goebbels-family-10621383-1024×859.jpg You can’t beat it as the perfect family photograph.

    Which leads me to the second point: “This is the secret of good, law abiding citizens.” The unlovely Rev. Sharon Ferguson uses the same deceptive language . But children brought up in gay households have had all the stuffing knocked out of them, especially by having two, overbearing lesbian parents, who would be more suited as holocaust camp prison guards. It is difficult enough for an adult to confront someone like the beast Sharon:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1nD6N6DY3Q

    Can anyone imagine what it would be like for a little child to question being raised by parents with such totalitarian and fascist values? What about the little boy who was murdered by his lesbian mother because he would not call her “daddy”?
    www.news24.com/World/News/Child-killers-behind-bars-20061127

    Pardon me Courtney but the only the values appropriate for raising children are where the truth, justice, righteousness , purity, grace, mercy and longsuffering of Jesus Christ are demonstrated.

    David Skinner UK

  • Thank you Bill. I, as with many, find it odd that we financially encourage parents to outsource their parental responsibilities onto strangers.

  • What a beautiful photo to illustrate this article. Wish I could hang it on the wall. God bless Bill.

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