Dina sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail.
Fewer than one in ten women stay at home to look after their children
- Latest census figures show 300,000 fewer staying home than thought
- Concerns for well-being of mothers and impact on toddlers in day care
- Stay-at-home figures dropped from 17 per cent of women 20 years ago
The stay-at-home mother is fast becoming consigned to history, according to the latest census figures.
Returns showed there are 300,000 fewer than officials had previously estimated, with those who devote their lives to bringing up families now reduced to a tiny minority.
Fewer than one in ten women of working age are stay-at-home mothers.
The collapse follows a decade in which governments urged mothers to take jobs on the grounds that working is the route to fulfilment for women and that families with two incomes are much less likely to fall into poverty.
Critics, however, are concerned for the well-being of mothers who might prefer to be with their families, and the impact on increasing numbers of toddlers who spend long hours in day care.
The 2011 census results found there are 1,598,000 women who do not work because they are looking after their home and family – 298,000 fewer than estimates from the Office for National Statistics.
Note that this is applauded by feminist groups, like the UK Labour Party:
The decline in numbers of stay-at-home mothers will be welcomed by ministers as the Labour drive to push mothers into work has continued under the Coalition.
Childcare minister Elizabeth Truss has made a priority of providing cheaper day care to help mothers into jobs.
In an article earlier this year she said it was ‘vital’ for mothers to work, adding: ‘To power ahead Britain needs to look at best practice from overseas to discover how to increase women’s participation, especially for those who are parents.’
But critics say the sky-high level of house prices and the lack of help for two-parent families in the tax and benefit systems means most mothers have to work, whether they like it or not.
Earlier this week I blogged studies that showed the importance of fathers to children. But it’s important to remember that mothers are also important to children, especially in the first few years of the child’s life. And we have studies to back that up as well.
This was discussed before in another article from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Dina)
Both of these images are brain scans of a two three-year-old children, but the brain on the left is considerably larger, has fewer spots and less dark areas, compared to the one on the right.
According to neurologists this sizeable difference has one primary cause – the way each child was treated by their mothers.
The child with the larger and more fully developed brain was looked after by its mother – she was constantly responsive to her baby, reported The Sunday Telegraph.
But the child with the shrunken brain was the victim of severe neglect and abuse.
According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left.
The consequences of these deficits are pronounced – the child on the left with the larger brain will be more intelligent and more likely to develop the social ability to empathise with others.
But in contrast, the child with the shrunken brain will be more likely to become addicted to drugs and involved in violent crimes, much more likely to be unemployed and to be dependent on state benefits.
The child is also more likely to develop mental and other serious health problems.
Professor Allan Schore, of UCLA, told The Sunday Telegraph that if a baby is not treated properly in the first two years of life, it can have a fundamental impact on development.
He pointed out that the genes for several aspects of brain function, including intelligence, cannot function.
[…]The study correlates with research released earlier this year that found that children who are given love and affection from their mothers early in life are smarter with a better ability to learn.
The study by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found school-aged children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress.
The research was the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing, Neurosciencenews.com reports.
The research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.
Lead author Joan L. Luby, MD, professor of child psychiatry, said the study reinforces how important nurturing parents are to a child’s development.
If we are really interested in providing for the needs of young children, then we have to voluntarily limit the freedom of adults. Traditional marriage is the way that societies have provided for the needs of young children. Marriage puts boundaries on sexual activity (premarital chastity, post-marital fidelity) that are beneficial to children. Children need to have access to their parents over the course of their development.
We should be promoting behaviors and policies that strengthen marriage, like chastity and low tax rates. We should be opposing behaviors and policies that weaken marriages, like hooking-up and no-fault divorce. That’s what we would do if we really had the best interests of children at heart instead of the best interests of adults.