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It is a Parenting Issue--Not Daycare

I certainly hope we are not spending too much money on this study. Its conclusions sure rank high on the “Well, duh!!!” meter.

Children who got quality child care before entering kindergarten had better vocabulary scores in the fifth grade than did youngsters who received lower quality care. Also, the more time that children spent in child care, the more likely their sixth grade teachers were to report problem behavior…One possible reason why relations between center care and problem behavior may endure is that primary school teachers lack the training as well as the time to address behavior problems, given their primary focus on academics.

Do you really think it should be up to primary school teachers to address the behavior problems? The ultimate responsibility of these behavior problems rests on the shoulders of the parents. Teachers should cooperate with parents in finding a solution to problems but parents should assume the leadership role.

It is study reports like this one that ignite “mommy wars”. The big problem here is not child care. The problem is parenting. Do the parents assert their roles as parents when they pick up their children from daycare or do they focus on themselves in the after work hours?

When my oldest two children were ages two and six months respectively, I entered the Air Force as a physician to fulfill my commitment to the military since they had paid for my medical school training. The boys went to the base daycare. I worked full time. My husband was stationed at a base located five hours away. In spite of my limited time with the boys, I did not abdicate my role as a parent. When I picked them up from daycare I ceased being a doctor and became a full-time mother. In spite of fatigue and frustrations I had to provide nurturing, discipline, character development, and faith development. We read together. We played together. We prayed together. To say that this was a difficult, stressful time is a bit of an understatement.

Not too long after my arrival at this base I am sitting in the morning physician meeting. I am the only female physician out of about a dozen doctors present. The chief of staff, a pediatrician, takes this opportunity to expound on the grave harm women do to their children when they put them in daycare. His remarks were pointedly directed at me. It took every ounce of my self-control to keep from collapsing into a blubbering heap or exploding in an indignant fit of rage. He had no clue how much effort I was expending to make sure my children were not part of the daycare children negative statistics. One of the greatest compliments anyone ever paid me was when another mother commented that my children did not act like “daycare children”.

As I reunited with my husband, had more children, got out of the Air Force, and had more control of my life, my husband and I made the decision to gradually reduce my time at work. Eventually, I found the available job opportunities did not justify the sacrifices required at home for me to work outside the home. I became a stay-at-home mom. I do not expect every mother to reach this same conclusion. Parents must weigh their own unique situations at any given point in time and figure out what options best suit their own families. As long as the career is fit within the vocations of marriage and parenting and not the other way around, these decisions must be supported and respected.


Ebeth said…
Kudos to you! I feel strongly that mommies need to be home. It is surely not the easy way, but truly the best way. Loved your story of coming home. Our next generation is depending on us.

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