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.
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