I wasn’t planning on writing about the stupidity that is the recent study conducted on children in daycare. Actually, the study wasn’t all that stupid, but more the hype and articles written about it were stupid. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed how this was being covered by the mainstream media.
Initially, I assumed that as nonsensical as the articles were that it would just blow over without much ballyhoo. Then I started reading some articles like at Career and Kids, where the frustration of yet another study on the subject shows. And I guess I can understand that since the way these articles tend to slant things, it always seems to be targeting the working mother. However there was something in the study she was missing, so I reviewed the source, and again it was missing some important pieces of the big picture. (which I will get to in a moment… just stick with me here.)
Worse, I saw this piece discount the frustration, because of what this study “proved” as “facts.” And now I had had enough.
All of these writings are based either on the Wall Street Journal version (you’ll need to be a subscriber to view the whole article) , or the New York Times version. But while the Newsweek version certainly offers up a similar shock value headline, and highlights the “problem” it also (briefly) includes some of the important aspects that I alluded to earlier that both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times didn’t bother with, like the study wasn’t designed to answer the question of “Why?” and the writers took it upon themselves to fill in the blanks, to help fuel the fire of the Stay at Home Mom vs Working Mom.
In the interview with Newsweek, one of the authors of the study admits as much, and goes on to say,
We did not look at why in this study, but other people have looked at this question and have some ideas. [One suggested reason is that] thereâ€™s been a move to make child-care programs more academic. Kids are supposed to start school knowing numbers and letters before kindergarten, and this process gives them less free time and forces them to do a lot more large-group activities and worksheets. Itâ€™s really hard for a 3- or 4-year old to sit and listen to the teacher talk for extended lengths of time.
So, perhaps then it is not the being away from the parent (as some would have you believe), but the fact that these “advanced” daycares, which are more and more being treated like “Pre-Schools” are not giving enough time for kids to just be kids? Perhaps there is too much pressure to make kids “excel” too early. But since the study was not designed for a “Why” we can not actually answer whether or not that is true.
It was also interesting to discover the following,
We saw no relationship between the amount of child care–whether by a nanny, a family member, or a babysitter–to how the child behaved in kindergarten through 6th grade. Interestingly, we also found that staying home with mom was statistically neither an asset nor a detriment in terms of academic outcomes and behaviors.
So it is NOT a question of having a “stay at home Mom.” A Nanny or another family member or babysitter was equal to Mom. Interestingly, both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times appeared to miss that “fact” hence I cannot blame Inside Fatherhood when he draws conclusions like,
But like one commenter on my previous post had said, â€œI donâ€™t know that day-care in itself causes these problems, but it does remove the consistent, parental influence thatâ€™s needed to reinforce good behavior.â€
This brings up a good point and I think Jared nailed it. So what is it they are NOT doing? I raise 5 kids on my own and I know there are certain laws that prohibit more than 5 kids per Day Care Staff member. So what is it they are not doing that I personally do with my own kids? For one I know I kiss and hug my kids. This is something that staff members can not do and get away with without lawsuits. And who wants some stranger hugging and kissing your kids? We have lost a lot of trust these days from all the pedophiles out there.
Although, I could fault him for not reading further (as I did), and it seems that he was already predisposed to agreeing to the article to begin with. However, he did not have the benefit of seeing the fact that a Nanny, or other individual caregiver, who may not (or would not) provide the “kissing and hugging” that he suggests is the reason why children would be be better behaved.
This study while beneficial, is nothing more than a stepping stone suggesting further study be done. It is not a conclusion. It can’t be without a “Why.” It is simply proof that additional research is warranted. But you wouldn’t know that by the way some are reporting this.