What do the studies show that children are learning in daycare?
You might be surprised at how clear the studies are about the effects of daycare on young children. See there are several factors that have been researched over the past few decades in which daycare has been so common.
Aggression is something that comes natural with children. Once they are old enough to develop and exhibit decided preferences then a young child will do all in his means to get his desires. While a child is young a parent will have to work hard at controlling the child’s temper and aggressive behavior. Most parents know that they cannot allow the 6 month old baby to have his way by grabbing a parent’s glasses or a mom’s earring. But put that same child in a group setting even if with only 5 or six other children of the same age and there is no way one individual can monitor all the interaction and still care for the children by feeding and changing.
Add a few years of childcare and you will find that there are some very aggressive children who have learned to bite, hit and kick to get their way. Another group of children will learn to become whiners and complainers due to being mistreated by the more aggressive ones. Then an even sadder portion of children will learn that being hit is the price to pay in order to get along. They can become the adult who tolerates abusive situations just because they are used to it.
“There is a constant dose-response relationship between time in care and problem behavior, especially those involving aggressive behavior,” notes Jay Belsky, a psychologist at Birkbeck College, London, and a lead researcher for the Study of Early Child Care, a research effort tracking 1,300 American children since 1991.
In many communities, churches are leading providers of services to children. But a church-based preschool that graduates a Scripture-quoting bully into kindergarten hasn’t accomplished very much.”
Raising a Wild Child Is daycare preparing toddlers to become bullies?
A Christianity Today Editorial posted 6/12/01
“I believe the desire to kill and be killed is rooted in a child’s failure to forge the most basic human attachments to his parents. And when a child fails to develop loving parental bonds, he also fails to develop a conscience, as well as any feeling of remorse or empathy. The sad truth is that we are rearing a generation of children in this country who are emotionally deprived and neglected. And some have learned to “cry bullets.””
Brenda Hunter, Ph.D. Home By Choice p. 17
2) Insufficient attachment to parents
These are the children who by a certain point in life become so detached from their parents that they don’t ever “miss” them. Crying for the babysitter is more common than crying for momma. If you have ever worked at a daycare you will know that it happens all the time. When a caregiver spends 45 plus hours a week with a child, especially during the most of their waking hours, children become attached to the caregiver more so than they become attached to the parents. I have been in the situation that a child has been reaching and screaming for me when it was time to go home. This was when I was a teen and before I really understood what was going on. At that time I would reassure the parent that their child was just “having so much fun they didn’t want to leave.” If I were in the same situation today I wouldn’t gloss over it like I did then, I know better.
“When we give our very young children to others to rear, what is at issue is not only their attachment to us, but also our power to influence them later on.”
Brenda Hunter, Ph.D. Home By Choice p. 82
“Some have watched their children spend summers in day care, return home during adolescence to empty houses, leave home seldom to return because of weak emotional ties. Was it worth it?”
Brenda Hunter, Ph.D. Home By Choice p. 148
3) Inability to attach to others later in life
The lack of parental attachment gets worse as the child grows. Peers become the child’s “family” and they turn to the opinion of peers when a question arises. Often these children can seem to be very good and well adjusted. They place minimal demands on the parent beyond money and transportation. They are always busy and gone from the home with all their outside activities. This is the child that wonders why everyone at camp is homesick. Writing a letter home or calling is work instead of a pleasure.
This is just my personal opinion that comes from years of observation so take it with a grain of salt. But I think the violent crime increase we have seen over the past few years is due in large part to children who are poorly attached to their parents. Either daycare, changing babysitters, or just from parents who were unavailable for whatever reason have caused the now adult child to be emotionally passive and unattached. They have never learned what is necessary to become a healthy adult. They may seem like perfectly healthy adults and may do well in society but suddenly they “snap” and become violent. What is the most common statements made about such individuals? “I can’t believe they did that!” “He seemed so normal.” “He was just a nice guy, never any trouble.” Often when on trial these same individuals seem so indifferent to what they have done, no empathy, no tears, not even any real remorse about being caught. Just cold indifference.
“If he has had multiple caregivers, he has learned at an early age that to love is to lose. Again and again. This withers the heart.”
Brenda Hunter, Ph.D. Home By Choice p. 163
“For a child, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Instead, absence generates profound feelings of rejection and a yearning for love that can dominate the whole life. Harvard psychiatrist Armand Nicholi says that those individuals who suffer from severe nonorganic emotional illness have one thing in common: All have experienced the “absence of a parent through death, divorce, a time-demanding job or other reasons.”
Brenda Hunter, Ph.D. Home By Choice p. 40
“If daycare produces large numbers of insecure, anxious and angry individuals, we must expect to see these traits reflected in the personality of the culture. We must guard against raising a generation of disturbed, lonely children who cannot relate well to other people, who are without internalized values and controls, …”
Phyllis Schlafly, ed. Who Will Rock The Cradle p. 79
4) Stress and depression
While there are several factors beyond a family’s control that can cause a child to be stressed and depressed such as death of a parent or natural disasters, most depressed children do not fall in those categories. Divorced parents is one of the leading causes of depression in today’s children. Families where both parents work are much more likely to end in divorce. Poor attachment to parents is also a cause of depression. Just look at the number of children being treated today for depression. What has changed? The increase in broken homes and the increase in childcare outside of the home.
“…recent studies show that among two-career marriages – marriages of the sort that require daycare if they have children – the divorce rate runs high. … The higher the percentage of wives working full-time [in the United States], the higher the divorce rates. …Entering the labor market also give a wife another source of gratification, making her less dependent upon her marriage for happiness.”
Phyllis Schlafly, ed. Who Will Rock The Cradle p. 181 – 182
“It’s far easier to love and nurture a boy than to mend a man”
Brenda Hunter, Ph.D. Home By Choice p. 165
Just ponder this thought if you think your children are thriving in a daycare setting. Studies show that only 1 out of every 10 daycares would fall in the good or excellent categories and they are notably the most expensive also.
“… a home must be very bad before it is bettered by a good institution.”
Phyllis Schlafly, ed. Who Will Rock The Cradle p. 102
The Lord does not give up His children but holds them tight.
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel? ESV