Jewish World Review March 9, 1999 /21 Adar 5759
Day-care study defies common sense
WHEN A PUBLIC POLICY STUDY contradicts common sense, go with practical wisdom.
Elizabeth Harvey, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts and author of a study published in the March issue of Developmental Psychology, says she found no difference in the development of "children whose mothers were employed vs. children whose mothers were not employed'' during the first three years of life.
Flashing her agenda, Harvey admits: "Working mothers have a lot of guilt. I hope this study will alleviate some of that guilt.''
Actually, parents who casually warehouse their kids could use a healthy dose of anxiety.
Though the study doesn't distinguish among various child-care arrangements (including care by relatives), it's being used as an endorsement of institutional day care, favored by the first feminist.
Widespread complacency about day care is wildly incongruous. Yuppies who believe class size is crucial to learning and that they can increase their children's IQ by playing Mozart in the nursery think leaving newborns with strangers for eight to 10 hours a day has no negative impact.
Psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner believes the requirements of healthy emotional development in children include: "a strong, mutual, irrational emotional attachment (to someone) who is committed to the child's well-being and development, preferably for life.''
And this commitment is to come from a hired "caregiver'' who may have difficulty remembering your child's name from one day to the next?
Newborns and infants are responsive to stimuli and in need of sensory input. During the third week of life, babies will smile when they hear their mother's voice.
Mother-child bonding provides the foundation for security and trust in future relationships. To imagine that it can be established in an hour or two of quality time each day transcends wishful thinking.
Child-care centers fail in the best of circumstances. In most, conditions are less than ideal.
In his article on day care in the May-June 1998 issue of American Enterprise, editor Karl Zinsmeister quoted a letter from a mother with a master's degree in social psychology on her visit to what she considered one of the best child-care chains.
"What I saw broke my heart. Babies were lined up, six in a row, crying, waiting for their meals. Toddlers were still in their cribs, some with tear-stained cheeks . . . with looks of having given up any hope of personal attachment a long time ago.''
The answer, say those who want your child raised by the mythical village, is increased government funding so parents of modest means can afford quality day care.
William and Wendy Dreskin operated such a center in San Francisco for five years. Its ratio of children to workers was low. It had ample equipment and an excellent curriculum. Teachers all had degrees plus at least a year of graduate training.
In their book, "The Day Care Decision,'' they wrote, "For two years we watched . . . children respond to the stress of separation from their parents with tears, anger, withdrawal or profound sadness, and we found, to our dismay, that nothing in our own affection and caring for these children would erase this sense of loss and abandonment.''
The Dreskins relate that they were "so distressed by these discoveries'' that eventually they closed their quality center.
Significantly, Harvey's study stopped with 12-year-olds, just before the teen years when emotional problems created by early separation from mothers surface.
One expert on child development told me that even teen rebellion isn't the ultimate indicator, which is too elusive to be quantified. "How do you measure self-worth? How do you measure the amount of trust in other human beings, or the strength of attachment to marital partners and children?''
Dr. Stanley Greenspan, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine, observes that for the first time ever, there's a growing trend for middle-class families "to farm out the care of their babies.''
Greenspan predicts: "People may become more self-centered and less concerned with others . . . Impulsive behavior, helplessness and depression may increase.''
A March 1998 Washington Post survey showed 68 percent of Americans believed it would be better if mothers cared for their children at home. They're right. Trust instincts bolstered by experience over a cause-driven academic
3/04/99: Starship Clinton orbits Kosovo©1999, Creators Syndicate
3/01/99: Public will blot out Broaddrick's accusation
2/25/99: Slick Hillie for Senate would be fun
2/23/99: Fascism in the name of fighting fascism
2/16/99: Was anything learned from the impeachment trial?
2/12/99: Educating the democratic voters of tomorrow
2/10/99: First Amendment doesn't apply to pro-life cause
2/08/99: Dems' triumph over Constitution complete
2/03/99: Blood of victims will drown out breakfast prayers
2/01/99: Without a home the heart knows no rest
1/29/99: Poster boy for term-limits
1/27/99: The 'so-what' defense in the City of Saints
1/25/99: Whose choice?
1/21/99: Censure worse than nothing
1/18/99: Words can`t dignify a dishonored presidency
1/13/99: Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head
1/11/99: If he isn't removed, watch out for Bill!
1/07/99: We can learn a lot from Teddy
1/05/99: Monica and a call to modesty
12/30/98: Will Bubba get away with it again?
12/28/98: Zionist dream alive and well on West Bank
12/18/98: Impeach or abandon the Rule of Law
12/16/98: Clinton moves Middle East closer to war
12/14/98: Why we lost interest in the homeless
12/10/98: No place at table for conservatives
12/07/98: The day America lost its innocence
12/02/98: Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth
11/30/98: Caribbean dogpatch not a good candidate for statehood
11/25/98: Will Vermont force gay marriage on the nation?
11/23/98: The ACLU wants your kids to get a love life
11/18/98: Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime
11/16/98: "Pleasantville" a countercultural morality play
11/13/98: Ads are a tough sell for abortion
11/09/98: Why gutless Republicans lost
11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
10/19/98: Clinton could yet be 'prosperity president'
10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy