I’ll explain why I am posting this below, but for now, let’s take a look at the study, which is discussed at Family Studies. (H/T Brad Wilcox tweet)
To expand what we know about adopted students, for this Institute for Family Studies research brief, I carried out a fresh analysis of data from a large longitudinal study of 19,000 kindergarten students that was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics beginning in 1998.
[…]Kindergarten and first-grade teachers were asked to rate the classroom behavior of children in the ECLS-K sample—how well they got along with other children in a group situation. In both the fall of kindergarten and the spring of first grade, adopted children were more likely than biological ones to be reported to get angry easily and often argue or fight with other students.
Here’s the first chart:
And more results:
Children in the ECLS-K were also rated by their teachers on how well they paid attention in class, whether they seemed eager to learn new things, and whether they persisted at challenging learning tasks. Scores on these measures have proven to be predictive of later academic performance and career success beyond elementary school.5 Adopted children were rated less highly with respect to such positive approaches to learning than were children being raised by both birth parents.
Here’s the second chart:
And even more results:
As the participating children began kindergarten, the ECLS-K assessed their pre-reading skills, such as recognizing letters by name, associating sounds with letters, identifying simple words by sight.
Here’s the third chart:
And now math results:
In the fall of their kindergarten year, the ECLS-K assessed children’s pre-arithmetic skills like counting by rote, recognizing written numerals, and understanding greater, lesser, and equal relationships.
Here’s the fourth chart:
The article concludes:
Attachment theory holds that a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with at least one adult, usually the mother, is essential for the mental health of infants and young children. Children who do not develop a stable and secure bond during early childhood, or have the bond disrupted, are subject to both short-term distress reactions and longer-term abnormalities in their feelings and behavior toward other people. Not having a stable maternal bond is apt to produce long-lasting deficits in the child’s social development, deficiencies that are not easily remedied by a new home environment, no matter how favorable.
Some adopted children experienced neglect, abuse, or other stressful events prior to their adoption. According to traumatic stress theory, the likelihood of long-term emotional scars depends on the intensity and duration of the stress. Severe or prolonged early stress can have long-lasting effects on a child’s development, effects that a supportive adoptive family may only partly ameliorate.
So what do I want to say about this? I want to warn young women, especially young Christian women, that children work best when grown-ups plan their lives in such a way that they can provide for what the children need, at the time they need it. And if you miss the window of opportunity to have your own kids and raise them yourself, then you can’t just fix it at the last minute with ad hoc alternatives.
But for some reason, I get a lot of kickback from young women when I tell them what studies say about things like marriage, premarital sex, cohabitation, infertility, day care, and on and on and on. The Christian women in particular dismiss all the facts with stuff like:
God is leading me to choose fun and thrills now. That’s what my feelings say (and all my friends and family tell me that my feelings are God speaking to me). Tingles and peer-approval rationalize my choice to delay marriage and child-bearing. Who cares about stuff evidence? I don’t like to hear about constraints and deadlines. So I’ll just keep up this plan to run up debts, go on missionary trips, and have fun traveling till I’m 90 years old. God always calls people to do what feels good. I’m going on an adventure! And it will be easy to find a good husband and raise happy and effective kids later – whenever I feel like it. Er, I mean when God leads me to feel like it. Yeah.
So even though all of these studies show the need for timings, pre-conditions, best practices, and so on, that can all be dismissed because the feelings are God speaking to her, and God can somehow magically make all the data not apply to her. One of my married friends once wrote to a young, single fun-seeking feminist telling her about the risks of delaying marriage and child-bearing for too long, and the fun-seeker came back to me dismissing the whole letter because “I don’t like the feeling that I am being constrained”. So, the advice of old Christian women (Titus 2:4) can be dismissed because the young adventurous feminist didn’t like the feeling of being confronted by reality by someone who had more wisdom and experience than she did.
What young children need is their mom, and a Dad who can provide for her to stay home during the crucial first 5 years of their lives. That is more important than pursuing fun and thrills, then grabbing for children as if they were handbags at the last second after natural child-bearing becomes impossible. The right thing to do is to use your 20s preparing financially and otherwise to have kids when you are young, and to be financially set up to stay home with them during the critical years. Choosing a man who can provide, and who understands the best practices for having and raising children is vital, if you want your children to be effective and influential for Christ and his kingdom.
I do think that if a couple is intentionally adopting because they want the challenge and want to help a child who really needs it, then it’s praiseworthy to do that. I just don’t want someone who isn’t ready for the challenge thinking that adoption is the same, so they can delay marriage and children.I know that I am lazy, and I always want to do things the easy way. E.g. – I buy new cars, not used cars. I will buy hand-fed birds, not rescue birds. I would buy a new house, not a fixer-upper. I’m just not cut out for doing things that are hard. I have no ability to struggle through when there is resistance. When I face rejection or resistance to trying to grow or lead someone, I just give up. I think what I was saying to young women was – don’t delay marriage and child-bearing, you’ll get better results with less work.
- New study: negative effects of day care on children not caused by quality of day care
- New study: government run child-care increases negative outcomes for kids
- New study: lack of secure attachment during early childhood harms children
- New study: separating from mother causes children to have higher anxiety and fear
- Study: non-family daycare linked to anti-social behavior in children
- Obama proposes new tax on stay-at-home moms in SOTU speech
- Obama on stay-at-home moms: “that’s not a choice we want them to make”
- Are young, unmarried women sincere about wanting to be married “some day”?
- New study: women seeking to have a child should start before age 32
- Top fertility specialist advises women: don’t wait till 30 to try to have children
- New study: marrying in your mid-to-late 20s confers benefits
- Fertility and pregnancy: how long can a woman wait before having a baby?
- Jennifer Roback Morse lectures on sex and sexuality at Harvard University
- Study: recessions result in lower birth rates