Author Mem Fox has created a furor recently by declaring that putting infants in child care is tantamount to child abuse. Of course the comments received critical reaction from working mothers.
Recently I was reviewing a book called Before your Teenager Drives you Crazy, Read this! Author, clinical psychologist and parenting expert from New Zealand, Nigel Latta said ‘who we are at 3 years of age is who we are at 26, and odds on at 56 and 86 as well.’ In other words, a child’s personality is shaped during those early years. Surely that should convince couples to make the decision that is right for their child? Do you really want to leave the bulk of the upbringing and rearing of your children to a child care centre or someone else who may have different attitudes and values to you? For sure, I never did.
Despite the financial hardship of being reduced to only one income, Mick and I decided it was most important for me to be at home caring for our children especially during those early formative years. A married couple needs to be both united about the view for it to work.
Research is starting to show that child care for children under 2-3 can be detrimental and indeed harmful. Some people may need two incomes to live. But for many it is a lifestyle choice. Is it worth risking them just to get ahead financially? I don’t think so. I’d rather struggle financially and have a less fancy house car etc.
As I look at our son and daughter now, I’ glad we made that choice. Even more pleased our son and his wife have made a similar choice. I have no doubt, when our daughter gets to that stage, she will make that choice too. Both of them treasured the childhood and upbringing we had and the time spent with them.
Money and work are not the most important things in our lives. People and relationships are. How can we build effective relationships with our children if they spend the largest part of their time with someone else in a day care centre etc?
Author of many children’s book and the famous Possum Magic, Mem Fox, regularly speaks to parents about the importance of reading to our children and parents appreciate her insights. This time she’s going to cop a lot of flack for her comments about the harm of child care but, as Nigel Latta also says in his book ‘Parents must parent.’ To me that means not abdicating responsibility to someone else.
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