Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Lushington D. Brady: We’re All Paying for the Childcare Kids

Who really benefits from early childcare?

Are we reaping the whirlwind of the Childcare Generations? Watching the collective tantrum-throwing, foot-stamping, tears and outrage whenever someone dares have a different opinion to ignorant youngsters, one has to wonder where we went wrong.

Sure, the Boomers were no less sheep-like in their opinions, in their youth, but they could (at least occasionally) tolerate other viewpoints. When John Wayne rode into Harvard on a tank, to lecture the students on conservative viewpoints, there was certainly disagreement, but also a great deal of good-natured tolerance.

If a conservative star dared repeat such a stunt today, they’d be lynched. Antifa and BLM mobs would riot, upending the vehicle, torching nearby buildings and looting shops. The putative conservative star would be summarily cancelled: all existing roles and contracts suspended, all advertising sponsorships ended.

So, where did we go wrong? Surely a great deal has to be sheeted home to a cradle-to-grave system of leftist indoctrination. An even more damning finger of accusation must be pointed at generations of children abandoned to the care of strangers almost from birth.

I’m not convinced of the benefits of centre-based childcare, particularly for very young children.

I get it; a lot of parents have no choice but to place their kids in childcare centres for financial reasons. It’s only by going down this path that the generous taxpayer-funded subsidies are available. Notwithstanding the restricted hours these centres operate, they do provide potentially more reliable care than (expensive) nannies or relatives during the core working hours.

Even with taxpayer subsidies, though, childcare is expensive. So much so that many women complain that they’re working just to pay for childcare. In which case, it has to be asked: why? The common argument is that it’s impossible to live on a single wage any more. Yet, that doesn’t logically square with “working to pay for childcare”. If childcare is so costly as to erase the benefit of the second parent working, why not just cut it out entirely?

Certainly children will be happier. So will the stay-at-home parent.

It has got to the point where parents are brainwashed into believing that it is their civic duty to plonk their very young child in a childcare centre as soon as possible after birth and return to the workforce in order to boost the economy and pay taxes.

So, that’s all we are? Worker drones for the economy?

This relentless advocacy has all the hallmarks of the old Soviet model of child-rearing. Women were forced to leave their very young children (cared for by women workers) in order to undertake full-time jobs to support the communist state. The idea that mothers would be given any choice was of course anathema to the autocratic rulers – they must be made to work for the state.

The early model of the kibbutz in Israel also involved communal child-rearing in which some women would be assigned the role of looking after all the children while the other women undertook the various other tasks at hand. In some instances, parents wouldn’t see their children all week. Unsurprisingly, this feature of the kibbutz ultimately didn’t survive as parents expressed their desire to be fully involved in bringing up their own children.

Neither of our children went to daycare (except, for the youngest, a single afternoon of family-based care, once a week, in the six months leading up to kinder). Financially, sure, it involved a lot of sacrifice. But those childhood years fly by too fast to be sacrificed on the altar of having a bigger house, a newer car, or a boat. Those first five years of a child’s life are a precious gift that no amount of money can ever outweigh.

Even in the 1990s, studies were suggesting that cradle-to-grave childcare was not the unalloyed good the nanny-state was selling us. One study, which found that while intellectually the children didn’t suffer, a notable intangible was that childcare children were “more bratty”. More recent studies suggest that, in fact, the children suffer far more than that.

A more recent study and quoted by Rod Liddle in this magazine relates to childcare in Quebec. The provincial government decided many years ago to provide close-to-free childcare; the rest of Canada did not follow suit. According to Liddle, ‘studies showed a significant development decrease in Quebec children relative to those in the rest of Canada’. He quotes some alarming figure in relation to ‘social competence, external problems and adult-child conflict.’

Perhaps the most worrying finding is that the negative effects of childcare appear to be long-lived. ‘By age 15, extensive hours before age four-and-a-half [in childcare] predicted problem behaviours… even after controlling for daycare quality, socioeconomic background and parenting quality.’

As school results steadily decline, we are generally inclined to blame a dumbed-down curriculum and teachers more concerned with indoctrination than education. But does the root of the problem start even earlier?

And, as another gaggle of squalling, tantrum-throwing children screech in outrage at hearing a different opinion, are we seeing the “brattiness” of the childcare generations coming home to roost?

Lushington describes himself as Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. This article was first published HERE


Robrt Arthur said...

Although not so applicable to care centres, Sue Bradford's anti discipline law has much to do with the tantrums. Children are so rattled by endless complex verbal beratements they develop disorders. And wives must work to maintain their employee skills for the day when they quit their husbands/partners in the modern manner. Half and more of his accumulated assets alone is seldom enough for the life to which they have become accustomed.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

I always regarded early childhood 'education' as a sick joke and a waste of money but not as a really serious negative in terms of effects on individuals and society until reading this piece. Thank you Lushington (from one grumpy old bastard to another!)

Anonymous said...

There are some ugly comments here. I am a mother. I have never needed to hit a child. Nor do I kick the cat. And my husband and I have been married for quite a number of years now. I worked in a high demand professional career (as did my husband )
and in due course when my husband retired while we still had a school age child, I was able to continue supporting the family and add to our savings so we did not become social bludgers. We found childcare gave wonderfull experience to our children- social, learning, self confidence etc.

Erica said...

The child rearing practices prevalent today in homes and childcare centers also are responsible for producing intolerant brats. The Rousseau child centered philosophies taught to teachers are destructive to children at all levels of our education system. There needs to be a revival of traditional values like patience,self control,responsibility, accountability, perseverance etc , instead of children being corrected, they are now allowed to determine for themselves everything they do, say, eat wear and watch. Disciplining has become a bad word but research has shown children who are given boundaries, direction and correction achieve better, have higher self esteem and are more secure. Absolutely parent's separation from preschoolers is bad but so are the ghastly philosophies.

Laquejx said...

I live in Quebec and I have seen up close how successful this model has been - and I was against it and my children were never cared for by anyone else.

This article totally misrepresented what happened in Quebec, overall it has been positive for Quebec and children.   He said:  ‘studies showed a significant development decrease in Quebec children relative to those in the rest of Canada’. He quotes some alarming figure in relation to ‘social competence, external problems and adult-child conflict.’ 

Were there problems yes - as you will find in health care, education, law in every government department in any country around the world.  To damn  the whole  experience based on one opinion is just wrong and inaccurate. Other studies show The network of CPEs, the higher-quality not-for-profit child care services, has had important positive effects on children’s development. The not-for-profit CPEs were and are the jewel in the crown – typically good quality, well-managed child care centres that are so popular with Quebec families. You can cherry pick what you want from studies and it is misrepresentation.