Tag Archives: Daycare

Stay-at-home motherhood falls to record low in the UK

Stay-at-home mothers at a record low in the UK
Stay-at-home mothers at a record low in the UK

Dina sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail, and I want to comment on it.

It says:

The number of stay-at-home mothers has hit a record low as more women choose to get a job, new figures reveal.

In the last two decades, the number of women who do not work to look after their home and raise their family has dropped by a third to just over 2million.

[…]The number of stay at home mothers and grandmothers has fallen steadily since records began in 1993.

New official figures show that there are only 2.024 million women out of work to look after a home or family, a 31 per cent fall on 2.913 million in spring 1993.

[…]The sharp turnaround comes after 20 years of social and economic change, with parents increasingly sharing the burden of raising a family and many women reluctant to give up their career once they have children.

In socialist countries like the UK, the majority of the people are so accustomed to big government and dependency that they cannot conceive of shrinking government and letting the private sector and families and churches solve any problem. Right now, the current problem is that they are spending too much on huge numbers of social welfare programs that reward selfish, destructive behavior like men not working, single motherhood by choice, unskilled immigration, welfare that is not means-tested, welfare that is not time-limited, and so on. It is a nanny state, and during election times, all the candidates do is talk about how they want to spend the people’s money to be “nice”. So, you can get breast enlargements, sex-changes and in vitro fertilization (IVF) as part of the country’s bloated “health care” system. So the question is: how will they pay for all this “generosity”? Well, all the political parties agree on the answer: it’s to put in places taxes and policies that make it impossible for women to stay home with their kids instead of working.

More:

David Cameron has promised to double free childcare for three and four-year-olds from 15 hours per week during term time to 30 hours.

The Tories argue the measure will ‘help parents who want to work’.

But critics warn it is discriminating against people who do not want to go back to work.

Claire Paye, spokesman for Mothers At Home Matter, said: ‘The government has set arbitrary targets to get mothers into work and to make sure that they are using government funds to pay to look after those children instead of mothers doing it for free.

‘There is a real concern that the drop in stay at home others is because mothers are being priced out of the home.

‘The government’s only focus is to get mothers into work and they will not support any other family model than two parents working.

‘We are concerned that these figures represent families who are no longer able to choose to look after their own children even if they want to.’

In a House of Lords debate this week, the Bishop of Durham said stay at home parents were made to feel that they are ‘somehow not doing the best for the nation or the child’.

Rt Rev Paul Butler warned of the ‘implicit and not so implicit message that it is better to put your child in childcare and go out to work than stay at home and look after your own children’.

So, we have a couple of points in there. Stay-at-home mothers are shamed for “wasting” their education on raising children. Daycare, which is proven to affect children negatively, especially in the first two years, is set forward as praiseworthy. Tax increases force women out of the home to work, in order to maintain the same-standard of living they had before the higher taxes and big government. And those big social programs almost never go to help married couples – they are primarily there to enable a permanent lifestyle of disfunction.

I thought of a couple more problems. Easily obtainable divorce and sole custody for the mother is a major deterrent to men marrying in the UK. So, of course the marriage rate is in a free fall as men stop trying to get married and settle for stress-free jobs that allow them to scrape by as singles. Why work hard just to support a wife when the whole culture is telling her to divorce you and get alimony and child support for life? And you’ll never see your kids again, either. Easy divorce and easy premarital sex sounded like such a good idea to feminist ears, but they never thought about how men would respond to it. Most men just take the free sex that the feminist Sexual Revolution provides, and decline the responsibility of marriage and fatherhood.

Another problem is that Christian parents these days have a different view of the Christian life than I have. If you look at the shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, it’s very clear that parents have a responsibility to teach their kids about God. And that requires a plan to marry well so that the parents have time to teach their kids about God themselves (homeschooling), and put them into schools that will not push secularism on them.

Deut 6:4-7:

4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!

5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.

7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Eph 6:4:

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Heb 12:9-11:

9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

As a man, I would of course be delegating a lot of this responsibility to my trusted chief of staff (i.e. – future wife), whose skill in parenting, especially apologetics, would be phenomenal. I would certainly not trust strangers to implement the specification in these Bible verses. If we had to bring in expert Christians – either through Sunday school, lectures, debates and conferences, or through books, DVDs, etc. then we would. But parenting the kids is our responsibility. Secular daycare and secular public schools will not be the main influence on my kids. And I oppose all policies and laws that make the state more influential than us in raising our kids.

Parents have a responsibility to make sure their kids will be Christians into adulthood, and will make a difference for Christ and his Kingdom. But what has happened is that Christianity has become all about me and my feelings. Parents themselves that they don’t have to know whether it’s true, in order to teach it to the children as truth. We think that it just has to make us feel comfortable and peaceful. But that is not the way to raise kids who will make a difference, much less remain Christian in a world like this.

New study: lack of secure attachment during early childhood harms children

This is from the leftist Brookings Institute, a respected think tank I usually disagree with.

They write about a new study:

Attachment theory is founded on the idea that an infant’s early relationship with their caregiver is crucial for social and emotional development. It is an old theory, born during the 1950s. But it can bring fresh light on issues of opportunity and equality today, as a three-decade longitudinal study of low-income children from Alan Sroufe, Byron Egeland, Elizabeth Carlson, and W. A. Collins, all University of Minnesota psychologists, demonstrates.

[…]Small infants are heavily dependent on caregivers, who must respond to their needs. But counter-intuitively, the infants who have a reliable caregiver are also most likely to become self-efficacious later.

Infants (aged 9 to 18 months) with responsive parents learn how their own behavior can impact their environment. This “call and response” process builds the infant’s sense of self-efficacy— one reason parents should pick up the sippy cup, especially for the hundredth time! But this virtuous learning cycle breaks down if the caregiver fails to respond adequately.

Here are the definitions:

  • Secure attachment: When the caregiver (mom, in this study) is present, the infant explores the room and interacts with the experimenter, occasionally returning to the caregiver for support. When the caregiver leaves, the child becomes sad and hesitates to interact with the experimenter, but upon their return, is visibly excited.
  • Anxious/resistant attachment: Regardless of the caregiver’s presence, the infant shows fear of the experimenter and novel situations—these infants cry more and explore the room less. They become upset when the caregiver leaves, and while they approach upon return often resist physical contact, as a form of “punishment”.
  • Anxious/avoidant attachment: No preference is shown between a caregiver and a stranger— infants play normally in the presence of the experimenter and show no sign of distress or interest when their caregiver leaves and returns. The experimenter and the caregiver can comfort the infant equally well.

And here the results:

The Minnesota study found that attachment makes a difference later in life. Without knowing students’ attachment history, preschool teachers judged those who had secure attachments to have higher self-esteem, to be more self-reliant, to be better at managing impulses, and to recover more easily from upsetting events. When teachers were asked which students, among those with serious struggles in class, nonetheless had “a core of inner self-worth, an indication that… maybe they could get better,” they picked students that had secure attachments as infants.

In contrast, children with anxious/resistant attachments:

  • tended to hover near teachers
  • became easily frustrated
  • were more likely to be seen as “dependent” by blinded observers
  • were less competent and patient with puzzles and other cognitive challenges

Children with anxious/avoidant attachments:

  • tended to be apathetic towards other children
  • failed to ask for adult help when stressed
  • were “often self-isolating”

Both groups had higher rates of anxiety and depression as teenagers.

So again, we are seeing that when it comes to parenting, you have to think about what you are doing. That doesn’t mean that you have to be slaves to your kids, or spoil them or hover over them. It means that what you are doing with your kids matters. It means that you need to make a plan to have enough time and money to be able to care for them. I think that the right time to talk about such things is during the courtship.

Also, one more point. If you meet people with some of these short comings, (I had most of the anxious/avoidant ones growing up), then try not to draw lines in the sand where you reject them over these shortcomings. Instead, do what I do. Recognize that these people have value and that if you take responsibility to care for them and supply for their needs, you might be able to guide them to do some pretty amazing things. Don’t be so self-centered that you expect people to be perfect so they don’t need anything from you. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has a story. If you want to be like Jesus, why not start by recognizing the effects of a disrupted childhood through study, and then make a plan to grow people – even difficult ones like me.

New study: separating from mother causes children to have higher anxiety and fear

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new study.

It says:

We learn to be afraid. One of the oldest discoveries in psychology is that rats will quickly learn to avoid a sound or a smell that has been associated with a shock in the past—they not only fear the shock, they become scared of the smell, too.

A paper by Nim Tottenham of the University of California, Los Angeles in “Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences” summarizes recent research on how this learned fear system develops, in animals and in people. Early experiences help shape the fear system. If caregivers protect us from danger early in life, this helps us to develop a more flexible and functional fear system later. Dr. Tottenham argues, in particular, that caring parents keep young animals from prematurely developing the adult system: They let rat pups be pups and children be children.

Of course, it makes sense to quickly learn to avoid events that have led to danger in the past. But it can also be paralyzing. There is a basic paradox about learning fear. Because we avoid the things we fear, we can’t learn anything more about them. We can’t learn that the smell no longer leads to a shock unless we take the risk of exploring the dangerous world.

Many mental illnesses, from general anxiety to phobias to posttraumatic-stress syndrome, seem to have their roots in the way we learn to be afraid. We can learn to be afraid so easily and so rigidly that even things that we know aren’t dangerous—the benign spider, the car backfire that sounds like a gunshot—can leave us terrified. Anxious people end up avoiding all the things that just might be scary, and that leads to an increasingly narrow and restricted life and just makes the fear worse. The best treatment is to let people “unlearn” their fears—gradually exposing them to the scary cause and showing them that it doesn’t actually lead to the dangerous effect.

Neuroscientists have explored the biological basis for this learned fear. It involves the coordination between two brain areas. One is the amygdala, an area buried deep in the brain that helps produce the basic emotion of fear, the trembling and heart-pounding. The other is the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in learning, control and planning.

Regina Sullivan and her colleagues at New York University have looked at how rats develop these fear systems. Young rats don’t learn to be fearful the way that older rats do, and their amygdala and prefrontal systems take a while to develop and coordinate. The baby rats “unlearn” fear more easily than the adults, and they may even approach and explore the smell that led to the shock, rather than avoid it.

If the baby rats are periodically separated from their mothers, however, they develop the adult mode of fear and the brain systems that go with it more quickly. This early maturity comes at a cost. Baby rats who are separated from their mothers have more difficulties later on, difficulties that parallel human mental illness.

Dr. Tottenham and her colleagues found a similar pattern in human children. They looked at children who had grown up in orphanages in their first few years of life but then were adopted by caring parents. When they looked at the children’s brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging, they found that, like the rats, these children seemed to develop adultlike “fear circuits” more quickly. Their parents were also more likely to report that the children were anxious. The longer the children had stayed in the orphanages, the more their fear system developed abnormally, and the more anxious they were.

Whenever I read books about daycare, the word “anxiety” is the one that seems to be the most common.

It’s important for the mother to stay at home, and plans should be made before the marriage to make that financially feasible. The plans should start for each parent when they are deciding what the study, where to work, and so on. A working mother who puts her child in daycare will have to exercise extra care to make sure that the child is OK. And this becomes even harder to do when her stress levels go up from work. You can’t bond with a child if you can’t stop screaming obscenities and/or being violent because of work stress.

Another risk factor for anxiety is demanding a lot from a child (say, academically) but not taking the steps to monitor daily progress and provide daily assistance. Think of it as a scale from report-card-day tantrums all the way to daily monitoring and helping with homework. The closer the parents are to the report card day tantrums side of things, the more anxiety if is going to cause the child. Yes, it’s important for children to do well in school so that they can get jobs later. But tantrums don’t achieve anything except to scare them away from learning. Daily monitoring and listening is a better way to create the connection that reduces the child’s anxiety.

Study: non-family daycare linked to anti-social behavior in children

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Academics at Oxford University discovered that exposure to some forms of early education contributed to bad behaviour and could be linked to emotional problems.

The study, based on an analysis of infants from almost 1,000 families, showed that the strongest influence on children came from within the home itself.

Children raised in poor families with high levels of parental stress or mental health problems were most at risk of developing emotional problems by the time they started school, it emerged.

The research also uncovered trends relating to children who were in formal child care — away from their parents.

The disclosure will revive debate over the best way to raise children amid a surge in the number of under-fives enrolled in nurseries and with childminders in the past 20 years. Figures from the Department for Education show that 441,000 children under five are in day nurseries while another 272,000 are being looked after by childminders.

[…]In the Oxford study, researchers recruited 991 families with children aged three months. Mothers had an average age of 30.

Researchers assessed children at the age of four through questionnaires about their behaviour and emotions completed by teachers and parents. They also observed care provided by mothers and observed non-parental care for at least 90 minutes for those children placed in formal childcare settings.

The report, published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, said that “children who spent more time in group care, mainly nursery care, were more likely to have behavioural problems, particularly hyperactivity”.

The study, led by Prof Alan Stein, of Oxford’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that “spending more time in day care centres, over the total period was a predictor of total problem scores”.

“Children who spent more time in day care centres were more likely to be hyperactive,” it said. “Children receiving more care by childminders were more likely to have peer problems.”

The authors added: “The findings in relation to childminding suggest that it might be out of home care rather than group care that raises the risk of behavioural difficulties.”

The researchers also tracked other forms of early years care and found benefits to different approaches.

They found that children who spent more time in pre-school playgroups – normally for a few hours a day, rather than a full-time nursery – had fewer problems.

More time with a nanny in parents’ own home predicted higher levels of “pro-social behaviour”, showing willingness to help others, it emerged.

The study said: “These findings suggest that interventions to enhance children’s emotional and behavioural development might best focus on supporting families and augmenting the quality of care in the home.”

A study like this will be useful when debating people with open minds, but hardcore feminists and socialists, who want women to work in order to fund bigger government, will not be moved. Because for them, it’s not about evidence. It’s about ideology. That’s why we have to be careful about letting people like that get elected.

Study: non-family daycare linked to anti-social behavior in children

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Academics at Oxford University discovered that exposure to some forms of early education contributed to bad behaviour and could be linked to emotional problems.

The study, based on an analysis of infants from almost 1,000 families, showed that the strongest influence on children came from within the home itself.

Children raised in poor families with high levels of parental stress or mental health problems were most at risk of developing emotional problems by the time they started school, it emerged.

The research also uncovered trends relating to children who were in formal child care — away from their parents.

The disclosure will revive debate over the best way to raise children amid a surge in the number of under-fives enrolled in nurseries and with childminders in the past 20 years. Figures from the Department for Education show that 441,000 children under five are in day nurseries while another 272,000 are being looked after by childminders.

[…]In the Oxford study, researchers recruited 991 families with children aged three months. Mothers had an average age of 30.

Researchers assessed children at the age of four through questionnaires about their behaviour and emotions completed by teachers and parents. They also observed care provided by mothers and observed non-parental care for at least 90 minutes for those children placed in formal childcare settings.

The report, published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, said that “children who spent more time in group care, mainly nursery care, were more likely to have behavioural problems, particularly hyperactivity”.

The study, led by Prof Alan Stein, of Oxford’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that “spending more time in day care centres, over the total period was a predictor of total problem scores”.

“Children who spent more time in day care centres were more likely to be hyperactive,” it said. “Children receiving more care by childminders were more likely to have peer problems.”

The authors added: “The findings in relation to childminding suggest that it might be out of home care rather than group care that raises the risk of behavioural difficulties.”

The researchers also tracked other forms of early years care and found benefits to different approaches.

They found that children who spent more time in pre-school playgroups – normally for a few hours a day, rather than a full-time nursery – had fewer problems.

More time with a nanny in parents’ own home predicted higher levels of “pro-social behaviour”, showing willingness to help others, it emerged.

The study said: “These findings suggest that interventions to enhance children’s emotional and behavioural development might best focus on supporting families and augmenting the quality of care in the home.”

A study like this will be useful when debating people with open minds, but hardcore feminists and socialists, who want women to work in order to fund bigger government, will not be moved. Because for them, it’s not about evidence. It’s about ideology. That’s why we have to be careful about letting people like that get elected.