DAYCARE – tears in the rain

According to a report by the NACCRRA, as of 2012 about 12 million children under the age of five were in daycare. The cost depends on the age and local, the quality and the state. Infant care can cost as low as $4600 annually to a high of $20,200, and these number rise annually. In the US, 90% of the cost is born by the parents. Social Services provides an income balanced proportion of the cost at a fixed rate which is generally significantly lower than the public rate.

The advocacy states that more child care facilities and workers are needed to care for children so that the parents can achieve greater economic prosperity and productivity.

Actually, daycare was created to help single mothers get off welfare. Outside of that, daycare has evolved into an institution designed to babysit over 50% of US children, 70% of Canadian children and 92% of Swedish children. I remember when parents raised their children at home. I remember growing up with one car per household.

Stats:

  1. there are approximately 23.4 million children in the US under the age of 6

  2. there are approximately 15 million children under the age of six needing daycare

  3. 67% of new mothers return to work within the first year after giving birth and 44% after the first three months

  4. 8 million children under the age of six live with a single parent

  5. the average childcare worker makes $9.38 and has a high school diploma or GED

Articles abound that support the working mother cause and denounce the idea that daycare has problems.  The advocacy?  If you are working and your child is in daycare you are still completely ‘raising’ your child. So, what is the definition of the word ‘raising’.

What does raising a child entail?

In a nutshell; time and money. Time is the real issue. The reality is that a tremendous portion of women simply don’t want to devote the time. It is too ‘hard’. It detracts from their freedom.  It is inconvenient to their social life.  They feel trapped.  Years ago, a friend of mine who had just one child, a rather rambunctious boy, decided it was just too hard taking care of him any longer. He was three. She put him in daycare, spent $200 a week so she could earn $9 per hour. After taxes, gas, and meals she was slightly in the hole.

She didn’t ‘need’ to put her son in daycare, she ‘wanted’ to because she was bored.

Which brings to question another term that requires defining – ‘need’. How many mothers actually are in ‘need’ of daycare is subject to a qualification. Needing daycare because you want to work. Needing daycare because you want to make more money. Needing daycare because you need to get out of the house. Needing daycare because you want more adult stimulation. There are many qualifications of – need, but most revolve around want – not need.

Friend number two. She and her husband were fresh out of medical school and wanted no part in the idea of staying at home with their child. Making lots of money was the agenda, never mind that the husband was a doctor and fully capable of making a healthy living standard. It was about ‘want’, not ‘need’. She hired a nanny. In their household, a nanny lasted on average 3 months. I believe one actually lasted a year.

The point – it is rotation. Daycares have a huge employee turnover ratio. Daycares, like schools, have their agendas of values and ethics. These people instill their views, values and morays on your child daily during the formative years your child is most open to development. This is not to say that all daycares are bad, it is to say that daycares are in fact raising your children by virtue of time. Because raising is singularly about time and this is not simply a modern day invention. What the pendulum swing has unveiled is the self design of ‘me’. Me has become more important than the child. Me is the emphasis. And the common justification for daycare has morphed into – ‘well I just wanted more than sitting at home with my child’.  And the ever more succinct, ‘I deserve more than being a stay at home mom, I am entitled.’

This is a justification embraced by daycare proponents. Ancient history forward, children were raised by parents, the super wealthy or elite having the nanny or nursemaid. During various eras of poverty, children were sent to work the fields, the mines, the farms in order to stave off famine. However, in the 1600’s, John Locke defined a new attitude toward children in which he saw them as being born a blank slate. Everything that filled that slate would henceforth define that child and ultimately that adult. The greater influence was a product of – time.

Time defines many things; it is presumed that the more time spent on education, the more learned a person becomes. The more time spent at daycare, the more their values, ideas and beliefs are impressed on the blank slate that is your child’s brain. As of age 5, this blank slate is the framework of your child’s heart, emotions, security, bonding ability, behavior, sense of worth, and even weight.

While parents claim that daycare is great for the social development of a child via interacting with other children, more studies are showing a correlation between bullying, negative behavior, aggressive behavior, and conflict problems with children raised in daycare settings.

Sweden can be seen as the best long term example test case. With 92% of 18 month to 5 year olds in state run daycare facilities, there has been growing concern for the decline in education and behavior and a subsequent rise in anxiety and mental health issues over the last decade. Attachment disorder, ill-mannered behavior, entitlement, and slower emotional and intellectual development are common results of this daycare society. It should not be ignored.

It is unfortunate that these issues are not made more public. Partially, the media doesn’t want to make parents feel guilty for putting their children in daycare. They want to fill parents with a false sense of security and positive reinforcement – even if it is distorted. Most of the proponents of daycare will state that the quality is imperative, look for low ratio’s, engaging staff, educated staff, high quality food, etc… But these proponents live in a bubble world. In reality – this picture does not fill the norm for it caters to the wealthy who easily spend upwards of $15,000 per year, the cost of an in-state college!  The median wage in the US is $26,695.

More and more studies are focusing on the long term effects attachment disassociation relate to anger issues, bonding issues, and motivation issues as an adult. Mental health problems have risen disproportionately. This is exemplified by the fact that during the first year of development a babies brain doubles in weight as a result of glucose metabolism that is in direct response to input by the mother. The bonding between a mother and child during the formative years can not be transferred. Take that bonding away, toss in an assembly line of daycare employees that revolve through a child’s stream of development, and there will be consequences.

The bottom line should be that if you have a true need for daycare, single parent, then by all means this is the only viable solution. You need to make a living.  Instead, we have taken it to the extreme and conclude that everyone should focus on prosperity, because this is much more important.  Thus the definition of need is morphed to include anyone who – wants – because their agenda is more important. And of course, who looses? The child.

In the end, I think it is safe to say that no one lies on their deathbed and wishes they had spent less time with their children and more time at work –

If you deny there is a problem, how can you possibly attempt to fix it?

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