In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 28, 2006 / 8 Teves, 5767

Home Alone America is 75 percent right

By Mona Charen

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When Mary Eberstadt describes a scene from a well-financed, comfortable day-care center in her neighborhood, it's hard to forget. Eberstadt's 10-year-old daughter spent the day at the center as part of a class trip and came home dejected. The experience was not what the girl, who adores babies and toddlers, had been expecting. "There was a little boy," she explained to her mother, "who was really sick and cried the whole time. His ear was all red, and he shrieked if they even touched it. The day-care ladies were nice and everything, but he wouldn't stop. It was just so sad.

All he did was keep screaming the same thing over and over: 'Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!' "

Thus begins "Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs and Other Parent Substitutes." Eberstadt is aware that day-care advocates will object that she is attempting to instill guilt, and she doesn't really deny it. Parents who drop babies at day-care centers for 10 or 12 hours a day should feel guilty about it. Eberstadt's argument is not with those single or poor parents who have no choice but to work full time and place their children in stranger care.

Her beef is with those she calls the "separationists," who believe or at least maintain that day care is affirmatively good for children. They argue that if day-care children get more ear infections than home-raised kids (and it is undisputed that they do), well, that just means they get fewer infections in kindergarten and first grade. Maybe so, but Eberstadt counters with this question: What kind of mother wants to expose her children to the "school of hard knocks" before they can walk and talk?

This is a point well worth making because the real debate over day care does not concern poor parents and their decisions but rather middle-class and upper-class parents who usually have a choice. The separationists resent the notion that children have a call upon their mothers' time and can impede their mothers' rise up the corporate greasy pole.

Donate to JWR

Eberstadt argues in this book that American parents (she doesn't let dads off the hook) are neglecting their kids on a widespread basis. Some of her claims are more persuasive than others. The data on teenage sexuality are familiar but no less disturbing for that. Eleven percent of 15- to 24-year-olds are infected with genital herpes, and 33 percent of females in this age group are believed to have human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the risk for various cancers of the reproductive tract. Where are the kids contracting these sexually transmitted diseases? They are contracting them in empty homes between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., when they are often left unsupervised.

I certainly was unaware that so much of the music teenagers consume is shot through with misery about family breakdown. A group called Blink-182 had a top-40 song in 2001 called "Stay Together for the Kids." Another song by Good Charlotte features lyrics in which a teenager reminds his absent father of his sons and little girl and demands, "How can you sleep at night?"

But while the data on parental neglect are certainly out there, the picture is far more complicated than that. As with most historical trends, contradictory things can be going on at the same time. So while some parents are clearly failing their kids in many ways, others are doing more than ever. Most parents of my generation are far more involved, for example, in our kids' education than our parents were in ours. We take many more precautions with our kids than previous generations — sometimes to a fault, but this is the opposite of neglect.

Finally, Eberstadt urges that the use of psychotropic drugs in children amounts to a quick fix by parents unprepared to invest time in their kids and to do the hard work of discipline. She argues that attention deficit disorder and even autism are not real diseases but rather labels that a too busy society puts on kids who simply cry out for more parenting. In this, she is simply wrong. ADD is real, as is autism.

For years, the medical profession did a terrible injustice to women whose children were autistic by blaming them for the condition. The conventional wisdom was that "cold" and emotionally withholding mothers caused the condition in children. We now know that this is nonsense. It's a neurological problem. Eberstadt is doing the same with ADD. Some parents are better able to handle a disabled child than others, but that does not mean the disability is invented.

So Eberstadt is 75 percent right in this book. Three stars out of a possible four.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate