Saturday, March 03, 2018

Daycare is Almost Always Voluntary and is Generally a Bad Choice

One of the most repeated sentiments in parenting conversations these days is parents claiming that they "had no choice" but to put their kid(s) into daycare or that it is a GOOD thing for the kids.

In almost every case, this is a big, stinking pile of dung.

Putting a child in daycare comes at the end of a series of CHOICES that the parent(s) made. By the way, day care is anything before the kid is 5, whatever it is called... nursery school, pre-K, transitional K, pre-school... it's all daycare.

If you aren't "able" to raise your own child, don't have one!

Let's work backward:

Having a child is almost always a choice. We choose whether or not to have intercourse, including the timing of that intercourse and whether or not to use various forms of contraception. We also choose to adopt. Even with rape, the decision to raise the child instead of giving the child up for adoption is a choice.

We CHOOSE our marital partners. You can choose one who wants their child raised by a parent. You can choose one who, in combination with you, will have the kind of finances and lifestyle that makes that possible.

We CHOOSE our jobs. We literally ASK for them. Employment with any given employer is VOLUNTARY. Therefore, we can choose jobs that provide us the means (time, money) to raise our own children. More than any other time in recent history, it is easier to work for yourself, thanks to technology and various programs.

We CHOOSE where to live, both in terms of geography (some places are less expensive to live than others) and whether we live in a bigger or smaller domicile, or one that has certain luxuries or is more modestly furnished. We also choose HOW to live and budget.

We CHOOSE our education and training after high school. There have never been more options in this regard.

Let's work it forward:
Avoid crime.
Avoid substance abuse/vice.
Complete your education (at least high school).
Get a job, any job, and keep it.
Spend less than you make. Take the rest and save, insure, and invest.
Marry someone with whom you are fundamentally compatible and who, in combination with you, can ensure a child is raised by a parent, BEFORE living together and before having children.
Choose to live close to extended family or friends who are suitable for assisting with things like babysitting. (Babysitting is something that maybe happens once a week, usually for just a few hours. It isn't supposed to be another name for daycare.)

If you "can't" live on one income, then when you have a child younger than school age, you and your spouse can work in shifts and different days, you can work from home, etc. The risk with this is that you and your spouse will not have time or energy for each other.

These FACTS do mean that using day care is almost always the result of bad choices.

Maybe you admit that daycare isn't necessary "but"...

You want a higher level of family income. But the needs of our children are more important than our wants.

You enjoy your work and don't want to quit. But the needs of our children are more important than our wants.

Neither of you likes being a hands-on parent. But the needs of our children are more important than our wants.

You don't want to rely on your spouse (who can leave, die, or whatever). This is where prenups, savings, and insurance help. Also, choosing a spouse wisely and treating your spouse kindly.

You think it is good for the kid (to be in daycare or to see you working). It's only better for the child to be raised by hired help if you're a neglectful or otherwise abusive parent. It is of no benefit to your child to see you dumping them with strangers to go work. It is good for the child to be taught to respect work. That's one of many, many reasons it benefits a child to have both parents.

You think your employer needs you. In almost every situation, your employer can replace you. Your child's needs take priority over your employer.

Remember, raising a child is a choice. If was your choice. Your child didn't choose his or her parents or to be born, and is depending on you. You have a moral obligation to parent your child in a way that meets their needs. Daycare means your child competes for attention, toys, etc. with many other children who are being supervised by someone who can't possibly love them the same way you can or give them as much attention as you can. Also, it is better for your child to have that time to bond with you and observe you.

Dr. Laura asks a very good question in this regard. If you were to die and be reincarnated as a baby, would you rather be raised by:
A nanny
A loving mother.

Of course people who aren't severely mentally ill choose the last option. Even many people with mental illness agree.

Some people object to or question the designation of mother and say that it is sexist. For sure, fathers can share or handle the entirety of the stay-with-kids/hands-on parent role. Some do, and some do a damn fine job of doing it. However, it may be shocking to some people, especially the more formal higher education they've had, but... [looks around, leans in, whispers] men and women are different and not interchangeable. Most women marry men who earn more than they do. Some men feel emasculated if they aren't the primary breadwinner. Some women, even against their initial insistence to the contrary, lose respect for and/or attraction to a husband who earns less than they do. Also, a man who has a bad day at work is likely to welcome affection from his wife. A woman who has a bad day at work isn't as likely, perhaps seeing her husband's desire for sharing affection as yet another burden on her time, attention, energy, and emotion; she may see him as insensitive for wanting her. Finally, women are literally better equipped biologically to nurture young children, especially up to age three, which isn't surprising considering the children started out in their bodies. It isn't just their mammary glands. It is carrying children on their hips, how their hearing processes the various cries of a child, and more.

None of this is to say there aren't some really great daycare workers and great overall daycares. But this is like saying an artificial heart is functioning well. The ideal is that the natural heart functions well. Don't overeat bad foods and abuse other substances and then say you had to get a new heart.

Since using daycare is (almost always) voluntary and detrimental in comparison to being raised by a loving parent, the assertion that strangers should pay for it or subsidize it through their taxes or that government should force employers to pay for it or provide it is an immoral, impractical, and destructive one. Employers should be free to offer daycare or daycare funding, but not required.

Your children will be grown before you know it, and Kindergarten comes quickly. Don't be one of those people who dumps their kid in a day orphanage (again, even if they call it "school"), especially if you're going to be one of those parents who sends kids to boarding school and summer camp that lasts all summer every summer.

Don't have kids if you're not going to raise them. Really. You might not want to have a kid at all. And that's OK. Think very carefully about it. Don't have kids because it is what you think you're "supposed" to do or it's what your partner wants or your parents want grandchildren or your siblings and friends are having kids or you're in a religious group that wants you to. Don't do it for anyone else, especially if you're not going to raise your kids.

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