Google+
Close

The Home Front

Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

Will America Ever Be Ready for the Truth about Daycare?



Text  



Besides abortion, no subject in America is more divisive than daycare — that’s why it’s rarely discussed in the media. That, and the fact that most of the women in the media rely on substitute care for their babies and toddlers in order to do what they do every day; thus, they’re hardly in a position to address the matter in an unbiased manner. Even FOX won’t touch the subject. When and if the media do offer the rare segment on daycare, the only people they call on are daycare advocates – or people who talk about daycare but have little or no experience with what goes on inside these centers. When was the last time you saw a daycare employee interviewed on television?

That’s what I thought.

“Academics, pediatricians, and other experts have learned to keep a prudent silence about the risks of day care, and so it is the daycare advocates — and only the advocateswe hear from on our television screens and in our parenting magazines,” writes Diane Fisher, P.D. Which means one would have to do serious research to learn the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when it comes to daycare. And most people just aren’t going to do that.

The media aren’t the only guilty party — the publishing industry is just as bad. That’s why authors such as May Saubier won’t get her excellent tome, Doing Time: What It Really Means to Grow Up in Daycare, published in the traditional manner. Heck, she won’t even get it past an agent. Not just because she has no “platform”– a fancy term for a ready-made audience — but because Ms. Saubier, who has a master’s degree in Special Education and has worked in daycare since she was 16, shares information we’re not supposed to talk about. One of the agents to whom she submitted her work had this to say in response: “Though there are some promising elements to the proposal, we are not convinced the major publishers would support it. Try addressing some alternatives to daycare in order to give your book a more constructive outlook.”

Alternative to daycare? Um, that’s kinda obvious: It’s called staying home with your kids. Provide a constructive outlook? Um, well, that would mean lying. Lying to get a book sold. Thankfully, some authors write for the right reasons — May Saubier is one of them.

The truth is that daycare is one of the greatest tragedies of modern America. We’ve become immune to its reality because we have to. When something becomes a bona fide trend, sanctioned by the masses, what else can we do but succumb to it. So rather than face the truth, politicians and pundits talk about ways to improve it — as if it could be. “America suffers a growing national epidemic of parental absence and disconnection. ‘Quality’ in day care cannot solve the problem. It doesn’t even address it,” writes Dr. Fisher.

Even one of America’s premier child psychologists, Dr. Stanley Greenspan, says America has struggled to improve daycare for 20 years — to no avail. The only way it can be improved, he says, is for parents to provide most of the care for their children. That way, there would be fewer people using daycare and perhaps then the system could have a fighting chance. The smaller a business is, the more effective it will be. And make no mistake: Daycare is a business.

And it’s far from harmless or beneficial to children. If you think it is, if you’ve bought in to the new American lexicon that says children in daycare are better socialized or, like President Obama suggests, better prepared for kindergarten, you’re burying your head in the sand in defense of someone you love. You know it. I know it. Why don’t we just say it? If Ms. Saubier has the chutzpah to write the truth, the least we can do is admit it.

Some highlights of her new book, which can be ordered on Amazon as an e-book, include:

A baby who spends five years at one center will lose one-third to almost half of her caregivers every twelve months or so. At any given moment, a parent’s baby could be in the arms of someone they don’t know well, or someone they have never met at all. Children in daycare are frequently cared for by strangers.

I am asking parents to think about the amount of attention they pay their infants and toddlers when they are home with them on the weekends — then divide this attention by the number of children in your child’s daycare. At best, this is the amount of attention your little one can expect to receive.

A day spent in daycare begins with abandonment. Staff members are prepared for this and employ many strategies to lessen the daily blow.

When parents are told their children are miserable all day, every day, this does not speak well of the daycare center. That is why parents often hear a rose-colored version of how their child’s day is actually progressing.

 “Socializing” in daycare fosters aggressive behavior because children are forced to go into survival mode. As a daycare child, if you want to play with a toy for any period of time, you must fight for it.

If you are a daycare child, many if not all of the following statements will apply to your life: You will not be fed a meal on demand when you are hungry. You will wait for your food while you sit in your seat. The meal will be plopped onto your tray or table. Someone will come around occasionally to help you, but you must wait. When you are finished, you will continue to wait. Eventually a wet rag will pass over your mouth and hands before you are taken out of your seat. Hopefully, at this point your bottle is ready. You will then be propped up on your pillow that has the spit up of several others on it. Then your hands will be maneuvered into position so that you may hold the bottle yourself. If you happen to drop it, you will wait again until someone notices. 

I don’t know about you, but this sounds an awful lot like jail. Ms. Saubier’s title, Doing Time, is inspired. Lord, I love a courageous writer.

— Suzanne Venker is co-author of the book The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say. Her website is www.suzannevenker.com.



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review