Posted by: Zsuzsanna | September 6, 2008

The sin of daycare

This title is borrowed from a sermon my husband preached.

Lo and behold, other people seem to think the same. The following article goes so far as to call child care “abuse”:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Childcare for babies is ‘abuse’, says author Mem Fox

By staff writers and wires

August 31, 2008 02:35pm

Article from: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

  • Author says babies shouldn’t be in childcare
  • Babies need time, not posh clothes, she says
  • CareerMums slams comments as “irresponsible”

PUTTING babies into childcare is a form of abuse, leading children’s author Mem Fox claims.

Ms Fox, a children’s literacy advocate and author of the best-selling Possum Magic, said she believed society would look back on the trend of allowing babies only a few weeks old to be put into childcare and wonder, “How could we have allowed that child abuse to happen?”.

“I just tremble,” she said. “I don’t know why some people have children at all if they know that they can only take a few weeks off work.

“I know you want a child, and you have every right to want a child, but does the child want you if you are going to put it in childcare at six weeks?

“I don’t think the child wants you, to tell the honest truth. I know that’s incredibly controversial.”

She said a Queensland childcare worker had told her earlier this year: “We’re going to look back on this time from the late ’90s onwards – with putting children in childcare so early in their first year of life for such long hours – and wonder how we have allowed that child abuse to happen”.

“It’s just awful. It’s awful for the mothers as well. It’s completely heartbreaking,” Ms Fox said. “You actually have to say to yourself, ‘If I have to work this hard and if I’m never going to see my kid and if they are going to have a tremendous stress in childcare, should I be doing it?’

“Babies have much higher levels of stress in childcare.”

Fox, 62, who has a daughter Chloe, 38, said parents were sometimes distracted by “the trappings” of having a baby, such as designer clothing and decorated nursery.

“When they have the good house, the good car, the good job – we’re talking about very advantaged people – they have everything and they think, ‘Now we need a baby which we can dress up and make look perfect’,” she said.

“But do they realise that child needs love more than anything else in the world? It needs love, time and attention.”

Reactions

The Australian Family Association (AFA) said it was “largely supportive” of her comments.

“She’s right, large amounts of research are coming in showing that – particularly for children under two but also under three – childcare is generally likely to be harmful to them,” AFA spokeswoman Angela Conway said, pointing to research from the US and UK.

The founder and director of CareerMums, Kate Sykes, slammed Ms Fox’s comments as “irresponsible”, saying many couples have no choice but to place their infant children into childcare.

“There’s so many pressures these days on just being a good parent that having negative coverage on childcare like that is very frustrating for a lot of parents,” she told AAP.

CareerMums is an online careers centre for working parents and also advises workplaces on retaining working parents.

Ms Sykes said there were some “really good childcare centres” that were “doing a huge amount” for children.

“Things are different these days,” she said in response to the Ms Fox’s comments.

Economic pressures

“Over 65 per cent of families have both parents working and … for a lot of people it’s not about choice, it’s because they have to.

“They both have to be earning money to pay off the mortgage.”

Ms Sykes, who has a two-year-old and a four-year-old, said they had been in part-time child care since about eight months of age and “I think it does amazing wonders for their social skills”.

“I don’t see anything that’s gone terribly wrong putting them into child care,” she said.

The AFA said the association was “largely supportive” of Ms Fox’s comments but the language used was “perhaps a little bit unfair”.

“Childcare is not a good place for babies and we support her in that but we know that many families have elected to put very young children and infants into childcare because of serious economic pressures and … we need to face up to that.”

Ms Conway also said the childcare sector employed “strong marketing strategies” to convince parents children were better off in care “and large numbers of parents have been convinced that their children should be in childcare at least one day a week”.

She said a solution to the problem was for the Government to redirect the money it provided to childcare providers to families so parents could afford to choose whether to remain at home or not, free of financial pressures. [What a joke! How about if the government, instead of “redirecting” funds, stopped taking away the money that it now gives to childcare providers from the families? Maybe if people weren’t taxed like that, they could more easily afford to live on one income? What sense does it make to pay the government, so that they can give money to childcare programs, that you then end up paying for while you are at work because your taxes are so high?!? And why does this article capitalize the word “government? Have they really taken the place of God?]

A Federal Government census of childcare services released this year found 757 children were attending long daycare services for at least 60 hours a week in 2006. [Can you believe that? Most children ages 3 and under sleep 12 hours in every 24 hour period. That means that of the 84 hours/week spent awake, more than 60 are spent in the care of a complete stranger.]

A further 9426 children were in care for between 50 and 59 hours a week.

An Australian study that measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol in more than 100 children in childcare found children in centres with lower standards became more stressed throughout the day.

– With the Sunday Mail (QLD) and AAP

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is another article discussing this same subject. As this lady so rightly points out, it seems there are a lot more women who chose to put their kids in daycare for the sake of pursuing a career, or because they find their job easier and more enjoyable than raising kids, and not because they are financially obligated to.

But even in the case of those women who “must” put their kids in daycare, the damage to the child and its relationship with its parent(s) is just as real and permanent. Maybe if girls thought about these things when they are young, they would be less likely to get pregnant out of wedlock and end up as single moms. They may have no other choice but to leave their baby in daycare, because jobs from home are rare and do not pay much.

Maybe young, single girls would think twice about dating or marrying a deadbeat who works 2 days a week and spends the rest of his time playing soccer with his buddies. No doubt, that same lazy jerk will expect them to put on a pair of pants, drop the baby off at daycare, and march off to work all day every day in order to support a lavish lifestyle in spite of his slothfulness. After all, that kind of guy needs toys such as big trucks, big TVs, every electronic gadget, fancy clothes, and let’s not forget the booze and party life. When material things are the only impressive thing about yourself, I guess you have to get a lot of them.

No doubt, kids can be really annoying, and are certainly more work between the hours of 9 AM – 5 PM than just about any job I can think of. So if you don’t like hard work, just don’t get married and never have kids. But if you do, you will just have to stop being selfish and take responsibility for your actions. Children are a priceless treasure, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge price to pay and countless sacrifices to be made to have them.

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Responses

  1. I completely agree with you.
    It is so sad to think about these babies who don’t have their mothers with them through the day and are just fed and then laid down. Never even hugged or kissed by the ones who “love” them. Parents need to cut back on their lavish things and survive on one income. But no most people need the new home,car and whatever things that they desire. Never mind what they put their children through.

  2. I agree. Nothing new in this article to me. I do have sympathy for women whose husbands have walked out on them and they have to be the provider now, but even then children need to be left with family members if possible NOT in a daycare. I worked in a public school daycare briefly and one of the worst behaved kids was the son a lawyer. Not just one but two. That’s right. His mother was a lawyer too. WHY!?!! Does a lawyer not make enough? Why in the world would this mother be working when her husband clearly made enough money to support their family? I’ll tell you why.

    1. Their lavish lifestyle.
    2. Mother probably wanted the “career”.

    We live with my in-laws, but we will stay here another 5 years before I will walk out that door to go to work and put Matthew in daycare or pay someone to watch him. Daycare is expensive. Also take into consideration gas, clothes for the job, taxes, and a few other things and women working outside the home dosen’t pay. Plus it’s stress. I’ll have to miss work whenever he is sick etc. Not to mention even women who work outside the home still have to do most of the housework so you have two jobs.

  3. Just on the capitalising of the word Government. Here in Australia the Federal Government is always referred to using capitals. I think it’s an English usage rather than an American English thing.
    I read this article in another paper in Australia and am not sure what to think of it. I use childcare myself one day a week for my week and in no way think that the centre I use, the time I use it for is abuse. Now, having said that, I do think that whacking your child into care fulltime is not an agreeable situation. I actually had a job offer this year but that would have involved me weaning second child and putting both my children in care. I simply could not do that for a few more dollars.
    An aside: Mem Fox has a daughter, Mem Fox for many years was a drama teacher and then a University Lecturer (I was taught by her). Who was looking after her child while she was pursuing her career? Certainly not her husband who also worked at the same University. Perhaps she had family to look after her child. Not all women are that lucky

  4. You are right on target. Most of the women I know who say they “have to” put their children in day care, when pressed, admit that they can’t stand to be at home all day because the kids drive them crazy. In other words, they work to get away from their own children. Isn’t that sad?

  5. I understand and actually agree that infants should not be left in daycare. I certainly do not condemn them because they have to do leave them for financial reasons it actually makes me sad that any parent has to leave a 6 week old in the care of others. That being said, You said you do not condone birth control, so what about the people that have children and work at menial jobs and need BOTH incomes to make it work? From where I stand it is difficult to have it both ways, especially in this economy. Yes a family could take advantage of the government assistance there is out there but it seems to me you have not been a big proponent of that either. I am fortunate that we never had to leave the kids because my husband own his own business and he is home during the day while I work and vice versa. I also did not go back to work for a year after they were born. I was just wondering how you feel about not leaving them at daycare but with the opposite parent while the other works. I do not agree with much you have to say but I am not being argumentative, I truly am just curious about your view on this.

  6. I also agree. My children were never in daycare, first off, I don’t think there was one where we lived at the time, if there was, I did not know about it. I took care of my own children until they started school. Of course back in the 80’s when my kids were being born and growing up, I did not know about homeschooling, it wasn’t as popular then as it is today. I did eventually homeschool them foe 3 years when we moved back to KC and they were in public school for a year then we pulled them out and homeschooled until we couldn’t afford to do so anymore. Back then, I was still learning about homeschooling, and didn’t realize that you could do it virtually for free. Things sure have changed over the years, and in a way for the better for homeschoolers these days. I do wish women would realize that God has blessed them with these children and that they are responsible for raising them, not someone else!

  7. Your ignorance shines through once again. I wont bother to share my story with you, because you are unable to see beyond yourself and your situation, but in my case and in so many other, honest, hardworking, loving families, one income is not enough to pay everyday bills while pinching every penny, let alone a lavish lifestyle. Get out in the real world before you judge. You are so evil. Oh, and of course you have never posted my comments before (coward that you are) so I wont hold my breath here.

  8. I just posted on the same article. WHile, I am a sahm. I am saddened for the children that in daycare because their mother choose to go to work so she can get the Gucci shoes instead of staying home for the hugs and kisses. I rather have a kiss and watch my child’s first steps then a pair of shoes any day.
    However, with that said, some times wives HAVE to work, their husbands tell them too or they have left. Or if they are a single mom. I am going to have to read your blog more often!

  9. There is a part of me that agrees with hbowman, and a part of me disagrees.

    First, I do not think that Zsuzsanna is evil. Far from it. While I may disagree with some things on her blog, I know that she loves our Lord, and wants whats best for her beautiful children and her family. It is also clear to me that she is far from ignorant, just staunch in her beliefs.

    Some of the content of this blog comes across, to me, as judgmental-i.e. this current post on the “sins of daycare” and others. I generaly skim those posts. BUT- her posts that are updates on her kids, homeschooling, etc/ I find delightful. I am jealous that I was not able to do similar things when my children were young.

  10. hbowman,

    It is news to me that I am under any obligation to post everyone’s comments. Why don’t you say something I find interesting enough to post?!?

    As far as all these married couples that can’t make it on one income: nor can we. That’s why my husband works 70-80 hours per week at his job, rather than working 40 hours and expecting me and the kids to pick up the slack. No, he does not get paid time and a half for overtime. If his current job would not allow him to work more than 40 hours, it would be him getting a second job, not me at the expense of the kids languishing in daycare.

    Also, the Bible promises that God will take care of us (including financially) are to believers, which you may or may not be. Not only that, but the promise is to believers who obey God by getting married and not getting divorced (divorce puts you behind financially about 10 years), and believers who have kids by faith and not spaced artificially.

    Let me give you some money saving tips based on info gleaned from your blog:

    – Stop taking your healthy child to the doctor obsessively. Drop the health insurance, stay home with him, and you won’t need to see the doctor but once every few years.

    – Sell your dogs. They cost at least as much as one child (based on our black Lab). Alternatively, breed them and recover your costs by selling puppies (not my cup of tea). Or cook them for dinner. Just kidding.

    But really, even if you are pinching every penny, going to work rarely makes sense once you factor in all the extra expenses such as a second vehicle, business wardrobe, childcare, money wasted by not being able to shop sales or cook from scratch, added sickness picked up at work/school/daycare, etc. etc. Our family never took a vacation for the first seven years of your marriage, and we drove a tiny car until shortly before the birth of our 4th child. I can count on one hand how many times I have shopped at a mall or department store in the same amount of time, because I buy everything at the thrift store or used in some other way, which saves a fortune. Yet none of us, especially the kids, feel like we are missing out on anything. God has blessed us tremendously and we now enjoy many luxuries that we didn’t use to, but we were just as happy when it was just me at home with the kids in a small apartment with hardly any furniture.

  11. Ginger,

    Sadly, it is true that there are husbands who leave their family or who make their wife work outside the home. The fault is clearly with the man in this case, but the damage to the child(ren) is just as real. Which is why I pointed out in my post that girls should think twice before they marry a lazy, unsuccessful guy.

  12. Zsuzsanna, I agree with much of what you have written in this blog entry. There are other things that you have written that I vehemently disagree with, but we won’t go there today 😀
    I think it’s great that your husband is fully committed to his family and works such long hours to support you all. However, is providing money enough? What about the time he is missing out on each day? It certainly goes a long way in explaining why he looks so exhausted in many of the pics that you have posted. How do your children cope with a daddy who is so tired?
    I honestly don’t think that there is a blanket statement or argument that applies in this case. You may think that I am selfish because I send my daughter off to care one day a week. But, that allows me some one:one time with my son. It does allow me to go to work one day a week if I choose. My father was injured badly in a car accident and had to stop working and it left my family in a terrible state. I need to keep my teaching qualifications up to date (and that includes a certain amount of teaching days in a 5 year period) just in case my husband is ever unable to work.
    I do heartily agree with you on finding a man who will work to support his family: I never dated a guy who was not in serious paid employment ie a good paying job. I wish more couples would spend more time planning their marriage ie who will look after the kids etc than their wedding eg what flowers will we have. Maybe more marriages might survive

  13. Okay, I have a question. I just listened to part of your husband’s sermon and it seems to me that his biggest problem with daycare is that they only take care of the physical needs of the child not the spiritual. Would his opinion of daycare change if there were church based ones, ones where there were daily prayer etc etc. Just curious, something that seemed to stand out to me

  14. Alice,

    I would say that our kids and I get more time with Dad than most families in spite of his job. For one, we often are able to go on work trips with him, which turn into frequent mini vacations. Secondly, he often takes the kids to the office with him for hours at a time when he is not out of town, something they enjoy very much (he is the only person working there). Thirdly, we don’t have a TV, so my husband never spends a single minute glued to one, let alone the 1-2 hours per day that are the minimum for most guys. Fourth, spending time with us is pretty much his only pastime – he never “goes out with the guys”, out to a bar, play sports, etc.

    While his job is physically taxing and strenuous, I wouldn’t say he looks tired. He is very tall and slender (something that runs in his family) which might make him look tired when he isn’t. “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet”, and he does sleep like a baby.

    I believe the sermon goes into why Christian day cares are no better just a few minutes after the point that you were asking me about. But to answer your question: no, I don’t think they are a better option.

  15. I’m curious, you say girls should not consider marrying someone who won’t provide for their family. How could you know this about your husband before you married him? From a previous post it seems you knew him what, five minutes before you jumped down the aisle?

    And I agree with Alice, your husband looks exhausted in many of the photos you post.

  16. Ladies, ir you all would stop and think about it, the money you are suppossedly making to halp out the family is more than likely going to the daycare you have to put your kids so that you can go to work. WHAT’S THE POINT!!

  17. Tori,

    I guess I must just be a genius at judging people’s character at first sight… My husband and I knew each other for almost a year when we got married, but we had only dated for a short period of time. He told me before we got married that I would never go to work and he would provide for us all – I don’t think lazy guys are going around telling girls that lie in order to get them to marry them. Rather, that type of guy finds a dumb little girl that will fornicate with him because the last thing they want to do is get married.

    My husband does not look tired to me, but even if he were, I don’t know how daycare would help with that – so the kids can have a tired mom as well as a tired dad? Most women who work still have to do all the housework, too. Besides, by the time the child comes home from 10-12 hours at daycare, there’s no time for anything but a quick dinner and bedtime. Then the wellrested parents can crash in front of the TV without the kids – WOW!

  18. I would not go so far as to call daycare a sin. It is an unfortunate necessity for some people. I am a grandmother now, but when my children were young, my husband also worked 2 jobs so I could stay at home with the children. When I did go to work, I was lucky enough to have grandmothers and aunts to leave them with. When my grandson was born 2 years ago, my son and daughter-in-law made the decision to leave him in daycare when he was 7 weeks old. It broke my heart to think of that sweet baby staying with strangers every day; however, now, 2 years later, he is fine. I also will defend my daughter-in-law by saying that she is the best young mother I know. She works long hours, spends lots of time with her son, and she did breastfeed him for the first year of his life (yes, she used a pump while she was at work). I still believe that a mother staying home with her young children is best, but I would never condemn or put a guilt trip on someone who makes another choice, usually out of necessity.

  19. But, why have children if you are just going to let a stranger raise them. It makes no sense. I worked when I had my second child and I still feel guilty about leaving her. I plan to never work again. Besides neglecting your child there is all the housework plus a full time job. That two years that I worked was very hard. There is a way to live off of one income. Others need to evaluate their lives and decide what is important.

  20. I just couldn’t resist commenting on this one post. I too worked with my first one and had him in daycare very early. Now that he is 7 I still live with that guilt. My husband never “made me” work but I did it as my own choice to contribute to the family.

    BUT and this is a big but… after we reviewed the expense of working versus me staying at home it just didn’t make much sense. I just started penny pinching and saving any way that I could so not to burden my hard working husband.

    This is another reason why we are moving to Arizona. On the east coast our house is nearly a half a million and the same house out there is $175K our taxes here are $5K and in Arizona is less then $2K! Big savings for us in the long run and with college and retirement only 20+ years away we have to make decisions which will allow us to live with less expenses each month.

    It’s a difficult path I know and for many they may not have a choice OR do not have a supportive husband that will go above and beyond in supporting his wife staying home with the children. It’s a shame because I know people in that situation. I know the guilt those mothers are feeling each and every day they leave their child.

    Now when it comes to finding a responsible man it’s important to look at his family. Alot can be seen just by watching his parents and the rest of the family. My husband was introduced to me through a dear friend and she knew his family very well. We only dated a very short while and got married 10 years ago. It’s not easy but they are out there!

    Good luck!

  21. I think that if a single mom has to work, it would be better to leave their kids in the care of a family member. The child will be safer and feel loved when the person taking care of the baby has actual blood ties to that child.

    I worked most of the time when my second child was little. My husband was on disability and workers compensation due to a back injury. I could have given some things up and stayed home, but at least my youngest child at the time was with his own father (my oldest was at school most of the day). When my husband had classes to attend or doctor’s appointments, I left the kids with my mom or his mom. I always felt safer leaving them with their grandparents then in some daycare. My son did go to a preschool/daycare when he was three and four which I regret, but I can’t imagine leaving a baby to cry most of the day in an institution like setting. How can anyone know how their child is being treated when they aren’t old enough to talk?

  22. Alice: I’m Steve Anderson’s sister, and I can assure you that he spends a lot of quality time with his kids. Also, I see him fairly often and he doesn’t look tired to me. I’m sure he does get exhausted at times while out of town on business trips, but that goes back to the curse on Adam in the garden of Eden. Men are supposed to work hard. When he is at home, he’s a very interactive dad. How many dads do you know that never watch TV?

  23. Raani,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. Personally, if anything he is TOO interactive with the kids. The level of noise and wildness when he plays with them can get really irritating for me. But hey, they all love it.

  24. Zsuzsanna,

    I wanted to comment on this. I don’t agree with you completely that daycare is a sin. I will share my opinion with you in a respectful way. I am not sure if all daycares are bad. But I can tell you about some bad news I heard in my local newspaper over the past few years that show how bad daycares are. One child got her/his foot burned very badly on a hot playground because she/he was not adequately supervised. It was a terrible burn. This was the same daycare my sister went to for a while when she was a baby. I heard of a Methodist Church daycare in my town having some cases of children doing sexual things to each other. That was sick. I also heard about a daycare about 30 minutes away from where I live that was investigated because one worker left one boy in a van by himself for hours.

    I would not call it a sin, but I think it is best for kids to not go to daycare if possible. Not everyone can be trusted. It seems like sometimes there are inadequate staff members to watch all kids. Sometimes, kids will learn terrible habits from daycare. Some kids may even cuss.

    I am glad that your kids don’t have to go to a daycare. They are blessed to have their mother at home. If you ever have to work in the near future, you can always get a job working from home. You mentioned that you translated some medical documents on a freelance basis.

    I think kids would be better off staying with a relative or a close friend if the mom must work. Or mom could get a job working from home.

  25. I was a Daycare provider for 23 years. I took care of many infants during that period. I am a Christian. Remember the Hebrew women took care of the Gentiles children. I cannot speak for all daycares but in my daycare all children were hugged and kissed and held and made to feel loved. Mother’s have so much guilt over leaving their children that with prayer and love they soon “want” to quit working and stay home with their own kids. I took care of many children fro the great North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, CA including Pastor Trieber’s sweet children. Daycare’s are a necessity and unfortunatey not all give quality care. Working Mom’s don’t need more guilt dumped upon them they need the convicting of the Holy Spirit to show them a more excellent way. “Holier than thou” attitudes will not do the job of some love and prayer.

  26. Just wondering how you would provide for your children if your husband died if you didn’t have a job and somewhere to leave all those kids. Just curious.

  27. AmandaL,

    good question. In my case, I would have my husband’s life insurance to fall back on. Also, I work from home as a translator (English, German, Hungarian, specializing in medical publications), which I could greatly expand, maybe even start my own agency and sub much of the work out to other employees. I probably would also move closer to family to be able to have help in an emergency.

    Everybody’s situation is different.


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