How Parents Have Been Misled
Parents cop a lot of flak, but is it really justified? ‘Parent bashing’ is the latest sport. Psychologists, teachers and other responsible-minded citizens are rebelling against the muzzle of ‘political correctness’ and speaking up against parents
abrogating their responsibilities. When we consider the basis for these criticisms, they may seem justified since parents, whether they realise or accept it or not, are responsible for the behaviour of their kids. However, it is not all the fault of parents – they have been misled.
What parents are blamed for
When kids are out all night getting drunk, when 500 drunken teenagers gate crash parties and trash vehicles parked in the street, when drunken teenagers engage in violent assaults, when students attack their bus drivers, when kids engage in vandalism and arson - the common complaint from responsible minded citizens is, “Where are the parents”? Out-of-control behaviour is blamed on the parents for not setting boundaries and teaching responsibility and consequences for behaviour. When four to six-year-olds are being expelled from primary school because of violent behaviour and being unteachable, perhaps it is appropriate to question what parenting they are receiving.Teachers complain that increasingly, they are taking on the burden of parenting responsibilities. They complain that parents expect them to teach manners and discipline and much of teaching time is taken up trying to control kids with defiant or disruptive bad behaviour. They complain they have to contend with aggressive parents who abuse them for disciplining their kids. They complain they even have to feed kids who have been dropped off at school without having breakfast.
A plan has been announced to include ‘behaviour management’ as part of teacher training. Yet, it is the social engineers that have stripped teachers of their authority over kids and sold kids the idea that ‘they have rights’ to do as they please
and not be subjected to authority by teachers or parents. Which is, of course, the root of the behavioural problems in schools. How are teachers supposed to ‘manage behaviour’ when they have no authority to do so – and have to put up with abuse from aggressive parents when they do attempt to exercise authority? Plead? Beg? Cajole? Negotiate and bribe? Surely it the parents’ responsibility to teach their kids how to behave? By the time kids start school, they should already be 'house trained' and know how to behave. If they are not capable of exercising some sort of self regulation over their own behaviour in a classroom, then clearly they have not been taught appropriate behaviour, at home - they are not 'house trained'. Perhaps parents teaching their kids self regulation and manners aught to be pre-requisite for kindergarten and school.
Parents are criticised for ‘wrapping their kids in cotton wool’. Instead of letting them get exercise and learn physical coordination of their bodies – and learn consequences and responsibility for their behaviour – parents are using school yard injuries as an opportunity to sue schools for compensation - and teaching their kids ‘non-responsibility, blame and exploitation’. The only recourse available to schools is to ban kids engaging in physical activities such as running, chasing, jumping, handstands and cartwheels and removing traditinal playground equipment. As for criticism of the ‘cotton wool’ approach to parenting – the ‘nanny state cum police state’ has gone crazy and parents whose kids repeatedly experience injuries (even minor ones) will be classified as at ‘high risk of neglect’. If kids are accident-prone because they are clumsy or adventurous, this is not a permissible excuse, the view being that ‘these kids need more supervision’.
Parents are criticised for allowing their kids to be preyed on by paedophiles by allowing them unsupervised access to internet sites and having Facebook accounts where they welcome strangers and potential paedophiles as 'friends'. In spite of parents’ concern about paedophiles, ‘someone’ is buying sexualised infant and toddler clothing such as ‘stripper tassels’, 'string bikinis' and 'crotchless pants'. T-shirts are emblazoned with inappropriate messages such as, “Priest Magnet” and “You’ve taken the candy, now get in the van” that trivialise sexual assault of kids. What are parents thinking when they put this clothing on their babies? Mothers are complicit in the overt sexualisation of girls by purchasing sexy clothing and dressing their young daughters as ‘tarts’. What are these mothers thinking? Don’t blame the retailers – they have no ethics, no integrity, no code of honour, no social conscience – they just stock what sells. If mothers stepped up to the plate and set standards - instead of slavishly copying ‘celebrities’ who endorse or design inappropriate children’s clothing - and
stopped buying this rubbish, retailers will stop stocking it.
When female school students ‘sext’ sexual images of themselves to boys or openly advertise their prostitution services on social media, it is time to ask what values they are being taught. It is a sad reflection on society when promiscuity is an acceptable form of validation substitution - not actually effective in providing validation, but nevertheless, a socially acceptable
substitute. It is a sad reflection on these girls that they are so lacking in values, lacking in self respect and self worth, lacking in dignity and lacking in talent and ability that they seek validation by offering their mouths as receptacles for boys’ penises. Perhaps it is time to bring back values abolished by the libertarians. Perhaps it is time to bring back the concept of ‘valuing
self’ such as self worth, self esteem, self respect, dignity and integrity. Boys are not going to value what is offered to them freely. Boys are not going to have respect for girls who do not have respect for themselves.
When having a sexy and charismatic personality is valued over character, when image and media-created celebrity are more important than ability and achievement, when the packaging is more important than the contents, when spin
is valued over substance, when cyber friends replace real friends, when political leaders are rated for their sex appeal rather than their leadership qualities, when role models are drunken idiots engaging in sex with random drunk women yet treated like heroes, when gratuitous graphic violence is glorified in entertainment – then surely it is time to reassess the values being taught to kids and what guidance they are being given (or not).
When junior football matches turn into on-field brawls, then it is time to look at what they are learning from their role models in adult football – and when parents join in the melee, clearly it is time to look at what values they are teaching their kids. When Australia has the embarrassing reputation for drunken parties and drunken antisocial behaviour, having the highest rate of drug use, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections – in Western societies, world wide – then it is time to question what values kids are being taught. When private schools consider the need to resort to alcohol testing of students arriving as school social functions in an attempt to curb drunken violence, then it is time to question what kind of behaviour kids are being taught is acceptable.
When university studentsuse fund raising as an excuse to go on pub crawls – and this is rubber stamped by the university as a legitimate fundraising exercise - perhaps it is time to examine what values our future professionals and leaders in society are being taught in the higher bastions of learning. When a university sanctions binge drinking, it highlights the abrogation of responsibilities that accompanies socially progressive policies of ‘permissiveness’ for the kiddies and ‘non-responsibility’ for the adults. The grownups are supposed to provide guidance for the kiddies: “Binge drinking and pub crawls are not a good idea – in fact, this is a ridiculous idea that reflects badly on the university - if your motive is a genuine desire to raise money, then do something you can achieve satisfaction in doing, such as washing cars and mowing lawns”.
When drunken behaviour is justified, excused and condoned on the basis of the mantra ‘Australia has a drinking culture’, we should cringe with embarrassment and shame rather than wear it as a badge of honour. We should be asking “How did that happen – why do we have a culture so dependent on alcohol”? When parents load up their kids’ cars with
plentiful supplies of alcohol to take to their ‘schoolies week’, then perhaps it is time to question parenting practices.
When kids engage in vicious, cowardly attacks on harmless, defenceless animals, by bashing, mutilating and torturing them - clearly, it is time to ask what values these kids are being taught.
When a high school student unashamedly posts comments on the internet calling Barack Obama, the President of the USA, a ‘monkey’, and can’t see anything wrong in doing that, then surely it is time to question what values kids are being taught. Kids - who are gutless and vicious or completely without any moral guidance from parents - have engaged in exercises such as setting up fake Facebook sites pretending to be teachers and creating a profile of that teacher as being a paedophile. Apparently, they are not doing anything illegal so, legally, nothing can be done to stop them.
There are some brave school principals who are daring to go against civil libertarians and permissive values by taking action to deal with kids who have not been ‘house trained’ by their parents. One high school principal of a private school took
the brave step of having kids attending a high school dance breathylised and banned entry to those who had been drinking, to avoid past experiences of drunken antisocial behaviour and violence. Other principals are considering following this example. Another brave principal suspended several kids who posted abusive and derogatory comments about teachers on a school website. In a display of societal support for bad vehaviour and typical apathy regarding the moral decay in society, the ‘community was divided’ on the principal’s action. It isn’t hard to see where these obnoxious brats learn their values when parents protest at punishment, defending their offspring on the grounds that they were posting these comments ‘in their own time, outside school hours’. Instead of hanging their heads in shame, these parents claim that their blameless child is just ‘exercising rights of free speech’. Clearly these parents do not understand that there is a difference between exercising ‘rights’ and abusing them. Clearly, these parents do not understand about integrity, decency, responsibility, self respect, self control, self regulation, self discipline – so clearly, they are unable to teach their kids these values. Or they just don’t care about their kids. Or they think it is acceptable to engage in socially obnoxious behaviour such as cyber bullying. Sadly, there is justification in focusing attention on how parents are fulfilling their responsibilities.
How are parents getting it wrong?
How is it that parents are getting it so wrong? The simple answer is that they have been misled by people in authority whom they have trusted and allowed their parental authority to be legislated away. Their trust has been misplaced. Getting it
wrong isn’t really the fault of parents. Most parents care about their kids and generally act with the best of intentions. There are parents who don’t care, don’t act responsibly, but neglect or abuse their kids. Mostly, parents want what is best for their kids, but parents have been misled! Society has been misled by the major liberation movements (ie, civil libertarian, women’s, sexual and gay liberations) of the second half of the 20th century, but it is parents in particular who have been misled. Ideologies may be imposed on a populous in a police state or dictatorship or they may be embraced in a democracy – but even then, their acceptance may be due to deception by wannabe dictators with an agenda of imposing a police state by
The point I am making is that just because an ideology is promoted by leaders or factions with loud voices, it does not mean it is going to be good for society. Let’s face it – policy making is driven by vested interests – either by ideology (to gain power) or by those who stand to benefit financially.
Terms used to describe post-liberation society include: ‘moral pollution’, ‘moral decay’, ‘moral erosion’, ‘moral abyss’,
‘moral vacuum’ and kids lacking a ‘moral compass’. Unconcerned citizens distance themselves, shrug their shoulders apathetically and feebly protest that there is nothing that can be done, that deterioration in behaviour is just a sign
of the times. Others dismiss concerns by claiming that this is how it has always been, supporting this claim by quoting Aristotle’s lament regarding bad behaviour of the youth of ancient Greece.
Oops! Sorry folks, but we did get it wrong! Sorry for the mess!
Hindsight provides 20-20 vision. Even some of the radical feminists that led the movement have recanted their views, now that they can see the consequences for society. Even Dr Benjamin Spock, the child raising guru of the 1960s, later apologised
to the parents he had misled.
To those who lived through the social revolution of the major ‘liberation movements’ of the latter half of the 20th century and deplored the erosion of moral values which were facilitated by socially progressive(?) governments, the answer is obvious. In a nutshell, society has been misled and, “The chickens have come home to roost”. Those who hold this view can also turn to Aristotle’s lament. However, instead of quoting Aristotle in an apathetic attempt to excuse bad behaviour by children and adolescents and lack of action against it, we should focus on the demise of that mighty Greek civilisation for a ‘reality check’. We could also do a ‘reality check’ on the Roman Empire. How did it ‘fall’? It crumbled - weakened and destroyed by the moral corrosion within. With the benefit of hindsight, we need to heed Aristotle’s concerns as a
prophetic warning of the outcome of society when apathy allows bad behaviour to reign, unchecked.
Society prior to the Liberation Movements:
Society may not have been perfect but societal values and a code of conduct were based on moral values such as 'responsibility for personal behaviour and its consequences', 'duty and obligations to society', 'consideration for how what you do impacts on rights of others' and 'delayed gratification'. Society did not need CCTV cameras intruding into personal
privacy. People exercised self regulation of their behaviour according to an internalised ‘moral compass’. Qualities of character were valued, such as integrity and respect (for self, others and property). Also valued were manners, courtesy and consideration for others.
Civil Liberties and Sexual Liberation: Misleading stuff
Then, with the social changes implemented by the liberation movements, moral values were overturned and replaced by social values. The core values of the libertarian, sexual and gay liberation were ‘freedom’, ‘rights’ and ‘non-responsibility for consequences of personal behaviour’, ‘non-responsibility towards society’ and 'no consideration for how exercising rights/freedoms impacts on rights of others'. Implementation of libertarian ideology was a bastardised version of the Libertarian philosophy of John Stuart Mill. The safeguard of ‘personal responsibility’ was removed from the ideology by adolescent-minded 20th century libertarians. Another core value was ‘instant gratification’ which, in practice, translated into promotion of drug use and casual, promiscuous sex, increased alcohol availability and gambling. Virtual abolition of censorship allowed unlimited access to pornography, graphic violence in movies and electronic games. Child and adolescent behaviour has been influenced by these values which are summed up in a word - ‘permissiveness’. In
Australia, libertarian values were embraced and also cemented in place in social policy by socially progressive(?) governments, so there was no ‘balance’ in moral and social values. For example, the principle of 'non-responsibility' has extended to the justice system where the wrongdoer is treated as the victim, with their ‘rights’ being considered more important than the rights of the actual victim of the crime.
However, the most misleading influences on kids’ behaviour have been civil libertarian social engineers involved in policy making. They have argued that kids had the same ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’ to do as they please, as they gave to adults. Parents and schools were stripped of their authority over kids – authority to expect obedience, provide moral guidance, set boundaries, teach responsibility for consequences of behaviour, and impose discipline. The consequence is out of control behaviour and kids thumbing their noses at any form of authority- parents, teaches, police and the justice system. Kids are told to report their parents if they are disciplined – a caring parent can end up with a criminal record for giving a well-deserved smack on the bum of a foul-mouthed brat. Fourteen year olds can go to a GP and get a prescription for oral contraceptives and the mother does not need to know – is not permitted to know. Kids rebelling against parental rules are supported by the government to leave home and live ‘independently’ on taxpayer-funded social welfare while their worried parents have ‘no right’ to contact them or even know where they are. Parents afraid of being dragged into court for disciplining their kids are taking a ‘hands off’ approach to parenting. Promotion of ‘non-responsibility’ has contributed to parents 'abrogating their responsibilities' by not ‘setting boundaries’ and by 'outsourcing parenting’. We now have the 'nanny state' taking on parental responsibility for child care
When social engineers gave kids 'rights and freedoms' to do as they please and took away authority of parents and teachers, they violated the innate rights of kids to have 'protection and guidance'. I repeat – society has been misled.
Role models for libertarian values and non-ethics: Misleading stuf
Kids are being misled by role models in society. Parents are not the only role models kids are exposed to. Parents may be unaware of the influences on their kids’ values, attitudes and behaviour by exposure to role models whom they may dismiss
as being irrelevant and of no account. These individuals may be ‘irrelevant and of no account’ but that does not mean that they do not have significant influence on young, impressionable minds. Maggie Hamilton (2008) points out how impressionable girls are being influenced by targeted marketing and magazines.
Children and adolescents model their behaviour on what they observe in everyday life, on what is significant in terms of frequency/constancy of contact (eg, parents, teachers, sporting coaches, other authority figures, and whoever gets media focus) and what behaviour gets rewarded (financially and/or media focus and public adulation). Positive role models who live by a moral code of behaviour will influence children in a positive way. Parents who set an example of illicit drug use or relying on alcohol as a means of relaxing, the focus of socializing and coping with problems may not be aware of the influence they have on their offsprings’ reliance on drugs and alcohol. Single mothers in ‘serial monogamous’ relationships with boyfriends and de factos are role models for instability and dysfunctional relationships for their daughters. Fathers who cheat on their wives are role models for disrespect and using, abusing and discarding women as disposable playthings.
Social values of non-responsibility mean that in general, adults do not accept or realise they have a responsibility to be positive role models for kids. Some well-paid ‘bad behaving’ sporting individuals who get a lot of media focus actually deny that they are role models. The reality is that being a role model is not an occupation by choice. The reality is that everyone whose activities bring them into contact with or into view of children and adolescents, is a role model. The more significant the role model (eg, parents) or the more highly idolised or publicised, the greater will be the potential influence. For better or worse, every adult in society is potentially a role model for youth.
Typical role models who come to public attention, regardless of how 'irrelevant' they really are, include business CEOs, politicians, ‘reality’ TV, media-created
‘personalities’and ‘celebrities’ and sports ‘stars’
* Business CEOs: The example that CEOs of big business set for impressionable youth is that ‘greed is good’, ethics are irrelevant and that the goal of business is profit by any means and at any individual human cost and any cost to society.
* Politicians: Most politicians probably begin with noble ideals, with the intention to make a positive difference for the people they represent. However, too often, politicians demonstrate lack of integrity and low standards of behaviour that make them embarrassing as role models for our youth, making ‘The Honourable’, as a title for politicians an absurd or cynical oxymoron.
Common examples include: lies to deceive voters, unashamedly breaking election promises, spin doctors to distort truth, treachery and stabbing a party leader in the back is regarded a good political strategy, being a power broker is more important than representing constituents, sense of entitlement with their ‘snout in the tough’ and rorting. As if to highlight their disdain for moral values, our state government actually passed a law stating that it is ‘no longer illegal for politicians to lie to parliament’. The term ‘non-core promise’ - a promise made without any intention of being kept - was coined for political usage to justify broken election promises.
No wonder there is a high incidence of students who apparently are not aware of the moral distinction between using the internet as a research tool and using it to plagiarise assignments which they pass off as their own original material. If they are aware of this distinction, then their intention to cheat is a deliberate and considered one. And I wonder where they get the idea that this kind of behaviour is perfectly acceptable?
* Media personalities and celebrities: Sexualised music videos have been criticised for influencing young girls who seek to emulate the inappropriate clothing and behaviour. There are entertainers who receive greater media attention for their out of control behaviour associated with alcohol, drugs and sex than for their talent. Media-created celebrities who may or may not have any talent or achievement as a basis of that celebrity status, set an example of attention-seeking behaviour, entitlement and reward without the requirement for talent, values, effort or achievement. A sure-fire short cut to instant celebrity for the talent-challenged is the release of ‘leaked’nude photos or a sex tape. These are ideal role models for youth who are talent-challenged or lack any desire to make any effort for worthwhile achievement.
* TV reality shows: The value of ‘winning at all costs’ is exhibited on competitive ‘reality’ TV shows, so how are impressionable youth supposed to learn that there is a distinction between ethical and unethical behaviour? Bitchiness, plotting, back-stabbing treachery and behaviour that is demeaning towards competitors is portrayed as socially acceptable, normal every-day strategies to function in modern society. How do impressionable viewers learn about empathy and cooperation when any display of vulnerability is demonstrated as a weakness for the ‘strong’ to legitimately exploit?
* Sporting ‘stars’: There are sporting identities who are positive role models and who do good work in the community - but they do not achieve prominence via the media attention that the ‘boofheads’ get for bad behaviour. Those who do get media attention are sporting ‘stars’, elevated to ‘hero’ status, idolised like gods who seem to think they are above the law and can do no wrong since they are protected by sporting administrators. Their ‘bad boy’ behaviour of thuggery, drunkenness and treating women badly is tolerated and forgiven. Given that they are well rewarded financially, worshipped by fans, and women with little self respect throwing themselves at them for sex, what impressionable youth see is that not only is bad behaviour rewarded, but also represents what it is to be a champion, therefore to be emulated. Although these ‘boofheads’ deny that they are role models, their bad behaviour is being emulated in the on-field thuggery by adolescent footballers. If these sporting 'celebrities' do not believe they are role models with any influence on youth behaviour, then what is their justification for accepting large sums of money for product endorsements from sponsors? As for elite-level athletes who win medals, money and adulation by cheating with ‘performance-enhancing’drugs – what does that teach kids about ‘honour’, 'sportsmanship' and ‘doing your best’ - or ‘winning by any means is all that counts’?
Women’s Liberation Movement and Motherhood: Misleading stuff
Women, as mothers, have been most misled by the radical feminists who hijacked the Women’s Liberation Movement. For the most part, they were misandrists who were not interested in marriage and kids, so devalued motherhood, devalued fatherhood and devalued the family unit. However, since they had the loudest voices and were the most politically active, they were influential in achieving policy changes. They regarded motherhood as some sort of patriarchal conspiracy to keep women
subjugated. Not only did they regard men as unnecessary for parenting, they also claimed that there was nothing special about ‘mothering’ – ‘anyone’ could take care of an infant. The feminist views on parenting were based purely on their ideology, not on child developmental psychology, not on child emotional developmental needs.
Their view was that there were no real differences between men and women – any differences were due to ‘socialisation of gender’ - a construction by a patriarchal society. Hence, their ‘gender equality’ agenda translated less into equality but more into women trying to be the same as men. (Perhaps there is some basis to Freud's 'penis envy' account of female neuroses). A key component of their agenda was liberation from traditional female roles such as the drudgery of childcare and from financial dependence on husbands.
Liberation from childcare and being the same as men meant going to work in a paid job - and leaving childcare to someone else. Hence the phenomenon of ‘outsourcing parenting’ and the establishment of the childcare industry.
The childcare industry became established to meet the needs of mothers – not kids. The radical feminist
agenda has always been exclusively about women’s rights and liberation - the psychological or emotional needs of kids were never part of the feminist agenda. They were ignored by radical feminists, either deliberately because they were in contradiction to their ideology or through sheer ignorance. Yet, they cannot claim ignorance. It was during this same era that information was made available on the research by John Bowlby into the 'Attachment' needs of kids. Information was available on the cognitive, emotional and behavioural consequences of these needs being unmet or impaired. To the radical feminists, the needs of women took priority over the needs of kids, so if they were aware of Bowlby’s work, they probably dismissed it as
simply part of the patriarchal conspiracy and as such, manufactured to discredit feminism and keep women ‘chained to the kitchen sink’.
I recall back in the late eighties-early nineties (last century) - the harmful effects of cigarettes and alcohol on the developing foetus, and the horror of withdrawal babies of drug addicts went through after birth, were common knowledge. Yet, the social rights of women to continue drinking, smoking and taking drugs during pregnancy was upheld as taking precedence over the innate rights of infants to have a healthy developmental environment in their mothers' womb. Women were advised of the health risks to their infant but were not considered to be under an obligation or duty of care to protect the health of their developing baby.The moral principle of obligation was removed in social values and replaced with non-responsibility. The feminist mantra of ‘my body, my right to do what I want with it’ was supported by the law, on the absurd basis that since the unborn infant did not exist as a separate entity, it had no legal rights. Never mind its moral rights - moral values were abolished since they violated social rights of freedom, non-responsibility and instant gratification. Never mind what happens in the future when some litigious law firm sets up a class action against these mothers for criminal negligence against their unborn infants.
Radical feminists regarded raising kids and taking care of family as not real work. They urged that women should be engaged in paid work and have financial independence. Hence, policies have been about liberating women from demeaning unpaid work - liberating them from subjugation to engage in activities that are more enjoyable and rewarding than taking care of their kids. The motivation of governments in subsidising childcare has not been the wellbeing of kids, either. Their motivation in urging/coercing mothers back to work ASAP is simply to boost the economy – mothers having an income so they can pay tax and have disposable income to be ‘consumers’.
The role of mothers in raising kids who will grow into mentally and emotionally well adjusted adults is ignored or dismissed. It is unappreciated and since it does not contribute directly to the economy in $$$$$, is valued as worthless. Regardless of feminist propaganda, the role of mother in raising mentally and emotionally well adjusted individuals cannot be measured in $$$$. This role cannot be substituted by anyone else, regardless of their professional qualifications and regardless of social policy that says they can.
Women have been misled, unaware that in throwing off their so-called subjugation by men, it is now kids’ innate rights that have become subjugated to the social rights of women. Women regard having a baby as a right – but babies also have rights – to have a mother who regards them as worthy of spending her time taking care of them.
Feminist myths on motherhood: Misleading stuff
** ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is used to justify 'outsourcing parenting' to professional childcare and abrogating parental responsibilities to teachers. The true meaning of this is that the parents are the primary attachment figures, the primary carers and have primary responsibility to meet ALIAS needs of their kids. The role of the village (ie, all adults in society) is to support
and complement the efforts and teachings of the parents - not to replace parents.
** Working mothers tell themselves that having a paid job makes them a ‘better mother’ and the time they spend with their kids is ‘quality time’. We delude ourselves with the things we tell ourselves to justify our decisions. Just like the feminist mantra, the things we tell ourselves turn out to be myths. The mantra of ‘having it all’ translates into a societal expectation that women ‘must do it all – simultaneously’ and the reality of the struggle of the juggling act doesn’t leave much time for mothering, let alone ‘quality’ time. As for being a ‘better mother’ – mothers working in paid jobs may feel better about themselves, but that does not translate into the child experiencing better mothering.
** “Good-enough mothering”. What exactly does this phrase mean? Is it a mother whose child’s emotional security and wellbeing is important to her and she meets the CAARP-ALIAS needs most of the time, is accessible and available to respond
to her infant/toddler's needs most of the time, may be guilty of an occasional minor violation of a child’s need, but overall, gets is right about 70% of the time? Or, is it intended as feminist propaganda to mothers whose young children spend long hours in child care, separated from their mothers, experiencing ‘daily deprivation’ each day, their need to feel important being ignored and their attachment needs being violated on a daily basis?
** Survive or thrive? There is a vast difference in meeting the needs of a child (ie, food, warmth and shelter) for it to ‘survive’ and its needs to ‘thrive’. It has long been known that if an infant does not receive ‘touch’ it will fail to thrive - physically.
However, to ‘thrive’ emotionally long term, has a much greater requirement meeting basic emotional needs (ie, ALIAS), otherwise, ‘thriving’ isn’t much advance on ‘surviving’. Mental health and emotional wellbeing are more than just the absence of psychopathology.
** Julia Gillard got it right! When she was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, she was criticised as not having any understanding of women’s issues because she ‘was not a mother’. However, I think she showed much greater understanding of the demands of motherhood than do many working mothers because she realised that being a politician and being a mother are both fulltime, demanding jobs and she acknowledged that she could not do justice to both, so made a choice. Was she supported in her choice and respected for making it? No, again, she was condemned for choosing to not be a mother. At least she was honest in her choice. Her career was her priority and she did not want to sacrifice it for kids. Women’s liberation was supposed to be about women having the right to make choices – yet women who choose to be fulltime Mums are condemned as ‘bludgers’ and women who choose to not have kids are condemned as ‘selfish’. Why are so many women who were influenced by the feminist mantra to become ‘working Mums’, so critical of women who were not taken in? Are they envious? Aren’t they happy with the choice they made? Has feminism not delivered on its promises of happiness and fulfilment by ‘having it all’? The reality is that for women juggling work, parenting, taxiing kids, household chores, etc, ‘having it all’ translates into ‘doing it all’ with no help if they are single and little help if they have a husband or partner. Surveys repeatedly reveal that even when women are working just as long hours as their partner, they still do most of the housework. (Men never did really buy into gender equality. They have been more than happy with the casual sex that women freely give them. They have been happy that women are financially independent. They have been happy that women pay for dinner and shout a round of drinks. They have been happy that a wife/partner contributes to the rent or mortgage).
Women’s Liberation Movement and Fatherhood: Misleading stuff
The family is the core unit of a stable society and most would agree that children need a stable family environment with both a mother and a father, but the unfortunate consequence of women’s liberation has been breakdown of family and undermining of family values. Women complained they had been subjugated by men in the patriarchal society but with the advent of feminism, women’s rights were paramount and it became children’s rights that were subjugated. Legislative changes that embraced the feminist agenda contributed to devaluation and breakdown of the family.
Radical feminists regarded fathers as non-essential in raising kids and fought for the ‘right’ of single women to have kids and to be financially supported by social welfare. Financially, there is no longer the need for a man to be a ‘bread winner’ for a family. Pensions are provided for single mothers and independent career women do not need financial assistance from their child‘s father. Biologically, a man is no longer required even in the process of conception. Sperm can be obtained from a donor who may be known to the prospective mother. Alternatively, the donor may be anonymous - even obtained via the internet. Gee, how did we ever manage to live in the years BIE (Before Internet Era)? However, I do think buying sperm on the internet might be pretty risky – how do you really know what you are getting - probably have a better idea of knowing what you are getting by soliciting a sample from a drunk in a bar. Cloning would remove any biological role even, making men redundant.
Perhaps that might seem absurd, but then, science fiction has always seemed absurd to the populous of the time – until science actually catches up and it becomes commonplace.
But of course, most single mothers probably don’t start out with the intention of being single mothers. They are in marriages or relationships that they think are committed, so it is their intention to provide a stable family for their kids. Then life intervenes, marriages and relationships go pear-shaped and when they break up, families break down. Women are generally the custodial parent and often the kids have little contact with their father and the mother often has little financial help from him either. (However, on the other side of the coin, women can make it difficult for fathers to see their kids and make life difficult for ex-partners by exploiting them financially). Then there are the women and teenage girls who do not plan to fall pregnant, but do so as a consequence of unprotected sex in a casual sexual encounter or someone they have known only briefly. Among their options is to keep the baby and become ‘single Mums’. Some embark on a social welfare ‘career’ by having babies to various fathers. They may engage in serial monogamous de facto relationships which are generally dysfunctional and provide an unstable emotional environment for the kids they acquire (like a souvenir) with each partner. Then, there are the women who make a conscious decision to become single mothers, perhaps due to time running out, their biological clock is ticking and they are still single. Perhaps they see marriage and relationships breaking up all around them, perhaps they lived through the divorce of their own parents. So, they decide to bypass that emotional mess for themselves and protect their kids from that trauma by obtaining donor sperm and cutting a man out of the parenting process from the beginning.
Making the choice to become a single Mum has been regarded as a social ‘right’ for women – but it denies kids their innate rights of the emotional security of Attachment to a father and a mother – it violates their emotional needs. In the future, just as there has been an outcry and demands for apologies for policy decisions that resulted in the 'stolen generation' of indigenous children and the forced adoptions of babies of 'unwed' mothers - there will be complaints from a 'paternally deprived' generation whose mothers chose to deny them a father.
As a consequence of radical feminist policies, single mothers, kids being raised without fathers and ‘outsourcing parenting’ became the ‘norm’ – and now, the resultant social problems and increased mental health issues have become the ‘norm’. I repeat – women have been misled.
Complementary roles of mother and father: Fact
Single mothers may regard themselves as being ‘both mother and father’ to their kids, but the reality is they cannot be a father or compensate for his absence from their kids’ lives. Neurobiologically, male and female brains are different – regardless of feminist ideology that claims there are no differences between men and women, but that gender differences are merely ‘social constructs’. These neurobiological differences are reflected in the different attitudes, perspectives and problem solving approaches used by men and women. Hence, the mother and father each have something different to contribute to a child’s cognitive and emotional development – this parenting input is complementary.
In contradiction to feminism and government policies, the evidence is strong that fathers cannot be dispensed
with. Steve Biddulph (1984, 1994, 1994, 1998), an authority on parenting, has written informative books which ‘give the lie’ to the ill-informed view that fathers are redundant in the parenting process. Current research is demonstrating that there is an essential role for fathers, from infancy. Research also demonstrates the consequences for kids and adolescents when the fathering input they do receive is less than ideal. Among my clients, women have reported being sexually promiscuous as adolescents (resulting in unplanned pregnancies and abortions or becoming teen mothers) because they did not have good relationships with their father. They felt they lacked his affection and approval so were vulnerable to a male making them feel special for five minutes while he got the sex he wanted. Girls who felt they were emotionally deprived are also at risk of becoming teen Mums, but for a different reason. They choose to fall pregnant (consciously or unconsciously) because they ‘want someone to love’. Actually, they want someone to love them (ie, a baby) to compensate for the love which they felt they did not get from their parents, so the love they give to the baby is not the unconditional love of a mother but conditional on the baby loving them in return.
Dr Richard Fletcher has reported from studies which reveal that if infants do not bond with their father during the first few months of life, they are more likely to experience behavioural problems later. Results recently released from an Oxford University study following 192 families revealed that ‘fathers who fail to bond with their sons in the first three months could cause them lifelong behavioural problems’. Although it was important for all children, it was regarded as vital for boys as they benefitted from a strong paternal influence from a very early age. Children whose fathers were more engaged in their interactions had better outcomes, with fewer subsequent behavioural problems. At a child development conference I attended
circa 1990, a research paper presented revealed that infants who had interactive parenting input from both the father and mother were better off on all measures of progress than infants who were taken care of mainly by one parent (even when
living with both parents).
Khaleque and Rohner (2012) conducted a meta-analysis, reviewing thirty-six studies from around the world, consisting of 10,000 cases of sons and daughters. The findings concluded that, across countries, cultures and gender, a father’s love was just as important as that of a mother, and those rejected in childhood felt more anxious and insecure. Children who feel unloved by their fathers tend to become anxious, insecure and needy. Anger and resentment were also common, with long term consequences. A father’s input is particularly important for behaviour and can influence if a child later drinks to excess, takes drugs or suffers mental health problems. Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust (UK), commented on the findings: “This study underlines the importance of intact and stable families where both the father and the mother are committed to bringing up their children together. Successive governments have failed to recognise the fact that men and women are different and that they parent differently”. He criticised government ministers for ‘pretending that one parent is as good as two, or that two parents of the same sex are as good as two natural parents of opposite sex’.
There is nothing new in any of these research findings. Among mental health and child development professionals, and social workers at the coalface, it has long been known that the role of a father is just as essential to secure emotional development of the child (and emotional wellbeing as an adult) as is that of the mother. It has also been long known that separation or divorce results in long term emotional problems - even when kids ‘put on a brave front’ and give the impression that they have ‘adapted’. Professionals in the field are now braving ‘political correctness’ and sheeting home the blame for child and adolescent behavioural problems (and hence, societal problems or crime and anti-social behaviour) to not having a
father or a positive father figure in their lives. Perhaps it is time social engineers and policy developers put aside political ideology and took notice and consulted with the appropriate professionals. Children need the stability of an intact family and developmentally, they need input from both a same-sex parent and an opposite-sex parent - there is research evidence that the roles of a mother and father are complementary. Society has been misled - parents have been misled.
Parents as role models: Fact
Both parents are role models for values and a code of conduct (or lack of); healthy lifestyle habits (healthy eating and exercise or unhealthy eating, couch potato existence, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol abuse); interpersonal communications
(respectful or rude and abusive); conflict resolution (constructive or constant arguing, verbal abuse, aggression and violence); coping style (persevering, resilient and constructive or stressed, anxious, dramatic, dysfunctional, reliant on alcohol or medication).
For daughters, mothers are role models for being a woman, a wife and a mother. For sons, fathers are role models for being a man, a husband and a father. Sons also need a father figure to teach them how to embrace their masculinity and express it in a positive way, with integrity, and to engage in challenging activities to channel the need for adventure in positive ways. Both parents together provide role models for a committed relationship, joint parenting and the complementary roles of both. In addition, both parents play an important role for their opposite-sex child in valuing their gender and what
kind of relationships they deserve as adults.
What daughters learn from their fathers is how to value being a girl and a woman. If Dad wanted a son and is disappointed at having a baby girl, and maintains that attitude, his daughter will soon pick up on the message that she
is not accepted for who she is - a girl. Since her father does not accept or value her as a girl, she will reject her own femininity or feel she is an unworthy individual as a woman. She is likely to become a ‘tomboy’ in order to gain her father’s conditional acceptance.
Another important role for the father of a daughter is she learns from him what kind of relationship she deserves
with a man when she becomes an adult. If she feels valued and respected by her father, she will subconsciously be attracted to men who will value her and treat her with respect - and she will not be prepared to compromise those standards.
Alternatively, because she has a subconscious assumption that ‘men will treat her well’, she may be vulnerable to exploitative relationships that are not initially recognised as disrespectful and hence experience disappointments until she learns that not all men treat women well and she has to be ‘discerning’.
By contrast, if she feels rejected and does not feel valued by her father, if he is abusive or distant and emotionally unavailable to her, dismissive or belittling, then she is likely to be subconsciously attracted to men who will not treat her well. Unless she is able to acquire insight into the true nature of her problem, and address it, she is likely to be doomed to repeat this pattern throughout her life. Girls without a father or having a poor relationship with him are more vulnerable to engaging in promiscuous sex in search of the affection or approval they lacked from their father. They are therefore more at risk of unplanned pregnancies and abortions or becoming teen mothers.
There have been consequences in devaluing fatherhood and dispensing with fathers. Many boys have no father or father figure in their life, many have a father emasculated by women’s liberation which demanded that men be more like women. Many others have a father who expresses his masculine energy in violence, disrespect and domination of women instead of using his masculinity to protect them. Many have only public role models, the most prominent in the media focus being role models for expressing their masculine energy negatively, in drunken anti-social behaviour and sexual exploitation or abuse of women. These role models are made all the more appealing by the rewards they enjoy in generous pay, idolisation
and the attention of women. (The kind of women who throw themselves at these men for sex have low Self Worth so they are prepared to settle for crumbs of male attention, however demeaning, abusive or exploitative that may be).
Increased behavioural problems among children, antisocial behaviour and juvenile crime by male adolescents have been blamed on lack of a father as a role model in single-mother families. Without fatherly involvement in guiding their sense of adventure into constructive challenges, their need for adventure may lead them into mischief, criminal activities and mindless, idiotic risk taking behaviour. Quite simply, without a father figure as a role model for being a man, in relationships and how to be a father - boys are at a loss when faced with stepping into these roles as adults. This can be ameliorated to some extent if there is a grandfather or uncle they are close to. However, with disintegration of families and people moving to live long distances away from their ‘family of origin’, family contact is infrequent or non-existent. The situation is worsened with the trend for men to not choose a career as a teacher, so for many boys, there is no male role model in their lives at all. The mothers may provide a procession of boyfriends or de factos of dubious character, but these do not fulfil the role of father figure – they merely serve to exacerbate the sense of family instability.
In relationships, single mothers are not generally looking for a father figure for their children. Their own emotional needs are their priority. Often, they have low sense of Self Worth so are not very discerning in their relationship choices. Many of these single mothers have a series of relationships resulting in a number of children by different men, perhaps hoping
the emotional tie of a shared baby will keep a man in the relationship. For many, indiscriminately having babies to various men provides ongoing social welfare. There is little emotional stability for her children and often the younger ones are placed in danger. The tragedy is that all too frequently, we hear of the boyfriend or de facto of a single mother being responsible for
sexual abuse of her children or the violent death of her infant or young child from a previous relationship. Often, these boyfriends are younger than the single mum, who having low Self Esteem and being emotionally needy, is flattered
by his attention. However, far from wanting an equal adult relationship and to be a father figure to her young children, he subconsciously seeks a mother figure. Hence, he may see her children as sibling rivals for her attention - with tragic consequences. Unwittingly, these mothers are providing a role model for their daughters who may be at risk of continuing the pattern of dysfunctional relationships and babies to different fathers.
Fathers as the primary carer: Jury still out
Given findings that infants need parenting input from their father, is it appropriate that fathers be the primary carer for their
infants? Gender equality (ie, feminist ideology) would support this as it liberates the mother from the unrewarding task of childcare. After all, feminist ideology promotes women’s needs as paramount - not children’s. There is a trend for fathers to be the primary carers based purely on the fact that the mother has the greater earning capacity or is more career-driven. Though financially advantageous, it is questionable that this trend is in the infant’s best interests. While acknowledging the importance of Attachment between father and infant, Bowlby makes the point that during the first two years of child brain development, it
is a stage when ‘right brain’ development (such as emotional regulation) is taking place. This development is facilitated by interaction between mother and infant. Hence the focus has been on maternal attachment for infants. Mothers engage in a lot of seemingly nonsensical interaction with their infants, but as nonsensical as it may appear, it is in fact stimulating essential fundamental brain development. Hence the focus has been on maternal attachment for infants.
I do urge caution in wholeheartedly embracing the trend of fathers being the primary carer during that first two year period - unless the mother's work hours permit her to spend substantial time interacting with the infant. Otherwise, anecdotal evidence suggests there is the possibility that development of the child's relationship with the mother may be characterised as an anxious attachment, which will have long term consequences. A close 'attachment' with the father does not translate into a strong, healthy 'attachment' with the mother. No matter how nurturing a father is, he still has a male brain which is reflected in his interactive style with his infant. It is as though in the hardwiring of the infant brain, there is an innate need for maternal input as priority during the first two years. Later, paternal input becomes more important.
Surely, relevant evidence has to be that if nature intended fathers to be the primary carers of babies, they would come equipped with fully functioning mammary glands. Evolutionary biology does not mutate to accommodate each social and political change.
Non-maternal child care
One of the biggest dilemmas a new Mum can experience is the matter of, “Who is going to take care of my baby”? That will probably be decided by the messages you are receiving, balanced against your priorities.
Messages targeting mothers: Misleading stuff
A strong message may be coming from your mothering instincts, “My baby needs my loving care – I want to be with him all the time – I need to take care of him – I can’t leave him with anyone else”. Then, there are all the opposing messages. Messages from feminists:“You can have it all” and “Babies don’t really need their mothers – anybody can take care of a baby”. Message from your partner: “We can’t live on one income”. Messages from the government: “Get back to work ASAP – you must have an income - we need your tax dollars and business needs your consumer dollars - we will bribe you with subsidies to believe the lie that ‘quality’ child care is better care – we don’t really care about the mental and emotional wellbeing of your child – just get back to work ASAP and contribute to the economy”. Message from the child care industry: “We can take care of your infant/toddler as well as you can – even better, because we can prepare him for school – never mind that we can’t give your infant the love and emotional development he needs – but instead, we can provide ‘quality’ care”. (Give me a break – this is a baby – leave the preparation for school until kindergarten or pre-school – first things first – the baby needs input
from Mum to develop its brain before it can start academic ‘education’).
No wonder inexperienced mothers lack confidence in their ability to be mothers – they are told the professionals can do it better. (Actually, all first-time Mums lack confidence in how they are going to cope and what kind of mother they will be - this is normal). Then, there is the disapproving message from your infant’s grandmothers, “You can’t leave your baby with strangers – they can’t love your baby like you do – your baby needs its mother”. Hey, what would they know? Why would you listen to old women with old-fashioned, outdated views on parenting when you can listen to professional advice? Never mind that the so-called professional advice is from the child care industry which has vested interests and social engineers pushing an economic-socio-political agenda. What message is there from your infant? There is no voice from your infant and when child development professionals attempt to speak on behalf of them they are howled down by the child care industry because they contradict child care policy. If your infant could speak up, it would say, “Hey, how about what I need - I need to know you are there for me – I need to feel important to you - I need to know you value me enough to want to commit to taking care of me and spending time with me. When you leave me in someone else’s care, I feel like I have been dumped - I feel like you don’t care – I feel like I am not important to you – your job is more important than I am - I feel like you don’t think I am worth your time bothering with”.
Child Care from the child’s perspective: Fact
My clinical experience demonstrates that when young kids are placed substantially in non-maternal care prior to pre-school age, it impacts directly on the specific ALIAS needs to feel ATTACHED and to feel IMPORTANT. (Suggest: Read "Self Esteem Parenting" and "Attachment" under "More Info").
When the needs to feel Attached and Important are unmet, kids experience low Self Worth. When left in non-maternal care (whether it be professional child care, a nanny or a family member) they receive an implicit message of rejection from their mother, “You are not important to me, you are not worth my time, attention, effort and commitment to take care of you and provide you with emotional security” which the child internalises as, “I am not important to Mum, I am undeserving of anyone’s time and attention, I am unworthy”. For kids under two years of age, there is the additional experience of their Attachment needs being violated and this results in anger, which has to be repressed and is displaced on to targets that are unlikely to hit back. (Suggest: Read "Anger" under "Self Esteem Parenting" and “Repressed Anger” under "More Info"). This displaced anger can account for ‘acting out’ and other emotional and behavioural problems.
Review of Research into impact of institutionalised child care: Fact
In Western society, there are societal and economic pressures on women to get back to work ASAP after the birth of a baby. This is supported by a perception promoted by the child care industry that trained child carers can rear children as well as
or even better than can the mothers. There is also promoted a perception that these children have an academic advantage over children cared for at home by their mothers. (However, any initial advantage has been found to not last). Consequently, during the critical two-three-year period in developing Attachment, very young infants are being separated from their primary carer for the entire day, at least five days a week. These daily separations are argued to represent the kind of unavailability of mother that infants experience as 'maternal rejection'. For infants under one year, separation from mother for over 20 hours a week may disrupt development of Attachment and put some children at risk for social and emotional problems. During most of these children’s waking hours they will have no contact at all with the person or persons with whom they must develop a strong and stable emotional bond. This cannot help but interfere with the attachment process and the earlier the disruption of the attachment process occurs, the more serious and long-lasting the damage is likely to be. The child is at risk of becoming ‘detached or emotionally ungrounded’, incapable of establishing and maintaining intimate relationships based on trust such as close friendships or marriage and are more at risk of later psychopathology. Most child development experts strongly recommend against putting infants under one-year old into full-time day care at all and most would not support putting a child between age one and two into fulltime care. Bowlby (1973) concluded that there was evidence that children attending nursery school before their third birthday was an ‘undesirable stressful experience’.
Because Attachment is not firmly established before age two, it takes less to disrupt it. Even after age two, prolonged separation from the primary carer can have negative long-term effects on the child’s emotional wellbeing and ability to establish trust in personal relationships. An unexpected consequence of leaving infants under two years of age in day care has been ‘maternal detachment’. New mothers experiencing emotional distress caused by separation may unconsciously withdraw
from engagement with their infant. The more hours per week spent in child care, the more the mothers become less sensitised and responsive to their child’s emotional needs. Whenever child development professionals protest at trends for early child care and young children spending up to twenty hours per week in childcare, they are attacked by the child care industry and guilt-ridden working mothers.
Dr Peter Cook (2011), a child psychiatrist, examines how different cultures throughout history have harmed women and children. Specifically, he examines the harm inflicted by equality feminism, by denying that ‘mothering’ is different from ‘fathering’, even eliminating the word ‘mothering’ and substituting it with politically correct, gender-neutral labels - ‘parenting’ and ‘care giver’ which anyone can carry out. He describes terms such as ‘child care’ and ‘day care’ as euphemisms for ‘institutionalised child care’. Dr Cook (1999) argues that for children up to 2 ½ to 3 years of age, and particularly during infancy, the agenda of subsidised, universally available, high quality professional childcare is misconceived, and a rethink is needed. Polling child development professionals reveals a common view that the development and wellbeing of children under three would be best served by care that is diametrically opposed to that promised by politicians and policy makers. Most child development professionals believe that it is very important for infants to have their mother available to them through most of each 24 hours for more than one year and to be cared for principally by the mother until at least two years old. In support,
research increasingly highlights the long-term significance of optimal early maternal nurture for healthy cognitive, emotional and physical development. Dr Cook reports on a meta-analysis of 101 childcare outcome studies from many countries published in peer-reviewed journals between 1957 and 1995 found robust evidence of adverse outcomes associated with non-maternal care in the areas of infant-mother Attachment security, societal development (including increased anger, anxiety and hostility in boys and over-dependency, anxiety and depression in girls) and in behaviour (including hyperactivity, aggression and non-compliance). They found no support for the belief that high quality day care is an acceptable substitute for parental care.
A perusal of information available in an internet search reveals the most quoted research is two longitudinal studies that aim to determine long-term effects of non-parent childcare on children. One is the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in the USA, which follows 1,360 children from infancy to age fifteen. The other is an Australian National University (ANU) study, using data from 5,000 children in the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children (LSAC).
The studies make comparisons between high and low quality care and on the basis of hours per week spent in care.
While there appears to be some initial academic benefit for children attending high quality child care, this advantage over home-care has been found not to last. While it appears that any concerns that time away from the mother may be detrimental to intellectual development can be allayed, studies on emotional development provide grounds for concern. After all, it is the first two years of life in which interaction with the mother is critical in ‘right brain’ (emotional) development of the child. Negative outcomes tend to be related to early entry into childcare and greater number of hours per week in childcare.
Children who had secure Attachments with their mothers experienced negative effects from day-care, which could be interpreted as illustrating the harm of disrupting the development of Attachment. Conversely, insecurely attached infants or those with less-than-adequate parenting or from disadvantaged homes appeared to benefit from childcare. (To justify child care on the basis that it was better than poor parenting is hardly a glowing endorsement for childcare).
Some studies indicate that day care children who appear more assertive, less responsive to adults, and more avoidant in reunion with parents, are more likely to have begun day care before their first birthday. More time in childcare has predicted problem behaviour among two-year olds, less sensitive maternal behaviour by mothers, less-harmonious mother-child interactions and higher rates of insecure attachment to the mother - although this was blamed on the quality of parenting. (Does this 'quality of parenting' mean lack of parenting, abrogating parenting to childcare centres?) Researchers have also concluded that attention from parents is far more important to how a child turns out than day care or schooling.
This acknowledgement of the importance of attention from parents is in complete contradiction to any
arguments proposing benefits to infants and young children spending time in childcare where they are deprived of parent attention.
Some researchers report greater independence, self-confidence and social adeptness or social competence - but as
if in contradiction, they also report greater aggression and non-compliance to adult requests. What is odd is the interpretation placed on contradictory child behaviour by proponents of child care. Perhaps ‘social adeptness’ and ‘social competence’ require clarification in definition since amount of time spent in day care before age four-and-a-half tended to correspond with the
child’s tendency to be less mature, less socialised, less likely to get along with others, fight more frequently, to be disobedient, defiant, non-compliant, argumentative and aggressive in kindergarten. (The supposed greater independence and ability for socialisation appears to be more like ‘street smarts’ survival strategy of a feral child abandoned to survive as best it can on the street). An odd pro-childcare spin suggests that these behaviours reflect ‘assertiveness’ and being ‘taught
independent thinking’ in child care. (How does one teach ‘independent thinking’ to toddlers)? Apparently, this ‘assertiveness’ and ‘independent thinking’ then become a ‘problem for teachers in school’, whereas ‘children who spend more time at home may be more attuned to what adults want’. Avoidance of mother, generally regarded as a clinical indicator of emotional
insecurity, has been reinterpreted to mean ‘precocious independence’. Another odd explanation for bad behaviour is that aggression, impulsivity and egocentrism (selfishness) have been described as ‘characteristics of cultural ideals that reflect American values which are promoted or approved by teachers and day care providers’. (True – this kind of behaviour does reflect social values but to suggest that bad behaviour by children attending day care or kindergarten is actually taught by the carers and teachers is surely a condemnation of these professionals)! In their defence, assurance is given that these behaviour problems are ‘not clinically disordered’. (Does that mean that bad behaviour is acceptable if it does not qualify as ‘clinically disordered’? What a relief)!
Increased cortisol levels, particularly where children have more clingy or more conflicted relationships with the carers, reveal that child care can be stressful for some children. Girls with high levels were more anxious and vigilant and boys were angry and aggressive. Interestingly, human and animal studies show that secure relationships with parents protect children from rises in cortisol in stressful situations. These high levels of cortisol are reason for concern since they can have a long term impact on body ‘settings’ and how these individuals will respond to stress.
Follow up at sixth grade revealed that the more time spent in childcare before kindergarten, regardless of quality of care, the more likely teachers were to report problem behaviour such as getting into fights, being disobedient and argumentative. An odd explanation is suggested to account for relations between centre care and problem behaviour enduring is that primary-school teachers lack the training as well as the time to address behaviour problems, given their primary focus is on academics. Bowman, Chief Executive of the Early Child Education at Chicago Public Schools suggests that more research is needed to understand why behaviour problems continue so many years after the actual child care. Follow up at fifteen (NICHD) revealed that more hours in child care during their first four-and-a-half years were found to correspond to a greater tendency towards 'impulsiveness' and 'risk taking' than for peers who spend less time in childcare. James Griffin, the deputy Chief of the NICHD Child Development & Behaviour Branch attempts to explain this by: “More time spent in day care may provide a different socialisation experience, resulting in slightly more impulsive and risk-taking behaviour in adolescence. These findings underscore the importance of studying the linkages between early care and later development”. J Jacob, a researcher on the NICHD study, has also made the point that there is a total lack of theory-driven hypothesis proposed to explain the association between non-maternal care and social-emotional development.
Oddly, the LSAC study is conducted by economists (Prof Andrew Leigh and Dr Chikato Yamauchi) so it comes as
no surprise that the agenda is an economic one that focuses on the benefits of childcare as keeping women in the workforce rather than concern for child emotional wellbeing. For instance, findings that ‘kids in day care are slightly worse off on behavioural outcomes’ is dismissed as a ‘few more temper tantrums but nothing that looks to us to be massive’ – ‘children now five years old are only a “smidgen worse off” when not cared for at home’. Delayed development of kids in childcare is dismissed as ‘small bikkies’ when compared with the benefits of keeping women employed. Day care is argued to not be
harmful to children, the worse behavioural outcomes being defended as ‘possibly reflecting differences in the kinds of families who choose to use non-parental care’. (Is that a critiicism of parents who choose to 'outsource parenting')? As far as ‘quality’ childcare goes, there does not appear to be any effect of accreditation or staff qualifications on impact of day care on children.
Here is a newspaper report on ‘Australian research’ that sounds suspiciously like the LSAC study. ‘New mums who go back to work before their baby is six months old become “warmer parents”. If they feel guilty, they try to compensate through affection and attention. By contrast, mothers who stay at home with their babies become more “distant” parents’.
What a load of deceptive, mischievous codswallop. The aim of this report would appear to be to hoodwink mothers into believing that it is actually in their baby’s best interests to ignore both the infant’s emotional and developmental needs and their maternal instincts, since putting their infant into childcare will actually make them better mothers. There is an implied message that the ‘guilt and distress’ are beneficial since it is these feelings that are responsible for making them ‘warmer’ mothers. As if to reinforce the message, the inference is made that mothers who follow their maternal instincts and stay at home to care for their baby, in fact become neglectful mothers. (No mention is made of the emotional deprivation
these infants feel when they are separated from their mothers for long periods of time).
While it is true that there are 'stay at home' Mums who fail to connect with their infants and may frequently leave the baby with a grandmother or use the TV as a baby sitter, putting the baby into childcare will not improve the capacity for ‘warmth’ of these mothers. As for the working mothers who are ‘compensating out of guilt’, what they are teaching their infants is how to manipulate them. These are the mothers who will be afraid to impose boundaries and say ‘no’ out of a need for approval of their child and fear of ‘not being liked’. Kids learn early how to manipulate guilt-ridden parents. Guilt-ridden ‘time poor’ parents are already responsible for the ‘gimme generation’.
Caution should be taken in accepting the interpretation of results of childcare studies. Questions the reader should ask are: Who has vested interests? Who is funding the research? What is their agenda? Who are they trying to manipulate? Who are they trying to mislead?
My Answers for Bowman, Griffin and Jacob:
The CAARP-ALIAS model (as discussed in "Self Esteem Parenting"), does indeed explain the linkages between early child care, later development, problem behaviour in child care and why it persists years after actual child care.
The odd interpretation of institutionalised childcare as a ‘different socialisation experience’ and odd interpretations
of negative behaviour reflect bias of vested interests providing research funding rather than an examination of what is best for young children, both in the short and long term. There appears to be a view that in the interest of getting mothers back to work ASAP, the collateral damage of long term emotional damage to children is an acceptable cost. And yet, women are assured that child care is best for their kids. I repeat – mothers are being misled.
Pathologising behaviour: Misleading stuff
Here is an example of the consequences of parents being misled by social policy that is based on political ideology and economics whilst ignoring the psychological needs of the sector directly impacted – young kids.
Periodically, there are reports condemning the over-medicating of kids. This is just one example of the ‘harm minimisation’ approach by social engineers to addressing social problems that are the consequence of social policies which impact on parenting. Rather than address the social values and social policies that contribute to behavioural problems, they employ add hoc strategies such as ‘symptom management’. Behaviour problems have been identified as being linked to child care - young age of placement in childcare and hours per week spent there. However, it is not being placed in childcare per se that is responsible for behavioural problems – it is the absence of Mum or lack of interaction with Mum that is responsible.
'Attachment' needs are not being met or are actually being violated and emotional needs are unmet due to 'daily deprivation’. Consequently, these young kids feel unloved, unimportant and angry (repressed, of course - long term.
However, attention is diverted away from this link between outsourcing parenting and behavioural problems (such being emotionally withdrawn, depression, lack of emotional regulation or impulse control, or intermittent explosive disorder and defiant conduct disorder). The diversionary tactic is pathologising or medicalising this problem behaviour by the medical professions. This absolves parents from any responsibility. It would be politically incorrect to be honest with parents. It
would be in contradiction to social values and social policy to suggest that much of the behavioural problems of young kids could be prevented if they were taken care of by their mother for at least the first two years: if their 'Attachment' needs were met; if emotional developmental needs were met (eg, emotional regulation, impulse control, delayed gratification); if boundaries were set in place and maintained. The conclusion is that these ‘conditions’ are biological so there is 'no cure’ and the only solution is management of symptoms with medication. This is good for the pharmaceutical companies. (I have never heard of a drug company going bust).
Parents are criticised for bad parenting – my claim is that most parents are well-intentioned, but they have
been misled by those in authority.
Sacrificing babies to the gods: Fact
We, in our so-called civilised Western society, regard with horror, the ancient cultures that engaged in sacrifice of their infants to their heathen gods. We regard them as being primitive, uncivilised and barbaric, but we can excuse them on the grounds that we know they were ignorant. Yet, are we really any more civilised or enlightened when it comes to how young children are cared for? We cannot claim ignorance since we have the knowledge of how important Attachment between mother and infant is for mental and emotional development and long term emotional security – and we know that the development of a healthy, secure Attachment takes a minimum of two years with Mum being physically accessible and emotionally available 'virtually' 24/7. Yet that knowledge has been dismissed by radical feminists (the 'high priests' of socially progressive(?) society). These 'high priests' have deemed that innate ‘rights’ of infants should be sacrificed on the altar of feminism - sacrificed to women’s social ‘rights’. In the interests of the economy, government urges/coerces women back to work ASAP after giving birth and even forces single women on welfare to abandon their infants/ toddlers and return to work. So, the government sacrifices the mental and emotional security of young kids to its god – ‘The Economy’. Babies may not be murdered in blood sacrifices to heathen gods, yet nevertheless, the wellbeing of young children (and ultimately, the long term mental health of society) are being sacrificed to the twin gods of modern civilisation – 'Feminism' and ‘The Economy’.
When carers are elevated to surrogate-primary attachment status:
John Bowlby has indicated that a permanent substitute attachment figure is acceptable if the child has exclusive access to this carer. However, unless the substitute carer is a nanny or family member, kids are unlikely to have permanent or exclusive access. Because of adaptive behaviour, Bowlby may have been unaware of any deficits in emotional needs being met and the implications of having a strong attachment with a substitute carer. Clinical and anecdotal data suggest that the benefits of this attachment do not transfer to the mother. Instead, the carer may be elevated from tertiary attachment figure to what I refer to as surrogate-primary attachment figure, thereby replacing the mother as the most significant figure in the child’s life. A high-profile actress with several kids has been reported to have a regular change in nannies so they will not replace her in her kids’ affections. This will not improve their attachment with their mother but simply contribute to family instability and emotional insecurity for the kids.
Mothers may feel relieved when their young kids stop protesting at being left at childcare and develop an attachment to a favourite child care worker. However, my clinical experience is that if the carer becomes elevated from tertiary A. figure to the status of surrogate-primary A. figure, this is not healthy for the child, the mother, the maternal-child relationship, the child’s attachment style or long term Self Worth and emotional wellbeing. A strong attachment with a carer does not transfer to a healthy attachment with the mother. Simply, the carer may replace the mother as the most significant figure.
The significance of the primary attachment relationship is reflected in our adult relationships. Commonly, we are attracted to relationships in which the partner resembles our opposite-sex parent (or the more significant parent) in some way or we seek to replicate the relationship we had with that parent. The significance of the relationship with that parent is that it teaches us how we deserve to be treated in intimate, adult relationships and thus becomes our relationship template. This role of primary A. figure is illustrated particularly when the substitute Attachment figure is elevated to surrogate-primary A. figure, such as when a nanny replaces the mother as the most significant figure in the child’s life. It is that relationship with the surrogate-primary A. figure that becomes the template for later, adult relationships. A couple of examples illustrate this point:
* An interesting observation in a newspaper serves to illustrate the significance of the role of primary A. figure and implications for elevating a tertiary A. figure to that of surrogate-primary A. A royal observer commented that in choosing Kate Middleton and Camilla Parker-Bowles, Prince William and Prince Charles had married women who resembled their nannies. Although Prince William adored his mother and honours her memory, it would appear that his nanny may have
become elevated to become his significant Attachment figure.
* A book review of ‘Royal Mistresses’ by Susanna De Vries discloses titillating snippets of the ‘bizarre and pathetic reality’ of the personal life behind the ‘myth’ of King Edward VIII who has been ‘romantically portrayed as the monarch torn between duty and love and sacrificed the British throne and an empire to marry twice-divorced Wallis Simpson’. From diary records, letters and psychiatric sources, he was reported as 'liking baby talk to his partners and enjoyed being humiliated’. A former lover became a ‘mother-mistress’ to the prince who had been starved of parental love. However, she was ‘put off by his masochistic predilections’ of‘encouraging her to humiliate and degrade him before they made love’. And where did such predilections come from? This was attributed to how his nanny (ie, his substitute or surrogate-primary Attachment figure) treated him. Apparently, he resembled the dead son of his nanny. She was described as a ‘deeply disturbed woman who was eventually committed to a mental institution’. ‘At times, she hated the prince because he was alive and her son was dead’. She humiliated and degraded him, and being his permanent substitute Attachment figure, set up the pattern or template for his later adult relationships.
Future directions in parenting?
Some indicators are a bit scary for the kind of parenting future generations of children will receive. While there are parents raised according to a moral code of behaviour by which they raise their own children, many others have succumbed
to societal influences of non-responsibility and permissive parenting, not providing moral guidance and not providing boundaries, raising children who are lacking a moral compass. Among this latter group, there are parents who have
been raised by parenting styles that fail to meet their CAARP-ALIAS needs and subsequently they have low self worth, lack validation by their parents but also lack ideal parenting role models to know how to do the job any better with their own
Post Feminist Revolution: a return to ‘mothering’?
There are women who, having become mothers, realize their mothering instinct is in contradiction to the feminist propaganda. These women don’t want to be the same as men. They want to be women – what they refer to as real women.
The women’s liberation movement of last century went too far, was too extreme in application of its goals. A
real woman feels comfortable with her gender and her identity, has healthy self worth and doesn’t feel the need to be a man in order to be valued as a person. These women are a growing voice rebelling against dumping babies and toddlers into childcare. They may not have put the level of analysis that I have into what their infants need, but in their hearts they know that their young children need their mother.
This was illustrated in the storyline in an episode of the US television show, ‘Private Practice’. One of the
characters, Allison, a brilliant and successful specialist obstetrician, is desperate to have a baby and after a failed IVF attempt is planning to adopt. A young pregnant woman, not ready to become a mother, is considering giving her baby up for adoption. Impressed, she is favouring Allison (as a successful career woman), over the ‘boring couple’ where the wife has been a ‘stay at home Mum’ for her other children. Allison delivers the baby among high drama and the young mother is grateful and further impressed by Allison’s professional ability. However, after holding her newborn baby in her arms, and feeling a surge of mother love, she has a change of heart. Although impressed with Allison, she realises that Allison is not going to be the one taking care of the baby and she can’t stand the thought of her beautiful baby being dumped in child care. Hence, she chose the ‘boring stay at home Mum’ as the preferred option for adoption of her baby.
Of course, the moral of the story or the social message in the ‘change of heart’ was probably nothing to do with what is best for baby but really only intended to add to the drama and draw out Allison’s angst as an ongoing theme for the rest of the series. Nevertheless, the young mother’s feelings and the reasoning for her choice do reflect facts that feminism and political correctness try to deny.
The reason that mothers feel 'torn' about putting their baby into childcare is that they are in effect, 'tearing up' what I refer to as the 'innate attachment contract' they enter into when they become a mother.
Women staying home being mother is not good for the economy. Without an independent income, (unless they manage to combine working from home), they don’t pay income tax and don’t have disposable income to spend on consumer goods. From this perspective, women being real mothers do not contribute to the economy. Rational economists and government
leaders fail to understand that the real wealth of a country is not measured in dollars, but in the human quality of society.
This new movement slowly raising its voice, gaining momentum, will bring the pendulum into the middle, with a more moderate and balanced approach to women’s rights and roles. There has been a quiet, yet powerful movement of women
reconnecting with their female energy, celebrating their ‘inner goddess’. This is now being propelled along further by recognition of the value of motherhood – to children as individuals and to society as a whole. Some of these mothers may
have been ‘latch key children’ themselves, the children of working mothers, coming home to an empty house after school. Some may even be the product of full time child care so they know the feeling of being dumped as if they are unimportant. They may have also seen that their mothers weren’t happy and didn’t appear to feel fulfilled as promised by the feminist propaganda. Their mothers were stressed out, tired, grumpy, short tempered and had little time and inclination to give lots of hugs. These rebelling mothers don’t want this for their children. They don’t want that life for themselves. They want to be good mothers to their children, carrying out a role that is far more important and valuable than that of politicians and highly paid CEOs. An important role is raising children who grow up to be emotionally and mentally well-adjusted adults, that will go some way towards ending the social problems we are plagued with now.
These women are well intentioned, but the question remains as to whether they know how to be good mothers. Without the knowledge of what the basic emotional developmental needs of infants and young children are, they may assume
that meeting their own needs translates into meeting the child’s needs. They may assume that loving their children is all that a child needs. Wrong! Love is not enough! (Check out “Self Esteem Parenting”).
Validation through children:
According to Dr Bronwyn Harman, a psychology lecturer at Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University and author of the report, ‘Good Mother Syndrome’, mothers’ groups not only serve to develop social networks but to show off parenting skills and check out how their offspring are measuring up. Underlying this competitiveness is the mothers’ insecurities and they are seeking validation through their infants. If the infant is performing well on all measures of development, this is seen as a reflection on the mother. Since there is a wide range of ‘normal’ development in infants, this comparison must cause a lot of angst for insecure mothers dependent on their child for validation when that infant is not an early developer. Whose needs are really being met here – the infants’ or the mother’s?
Future parenting values - how girls are being ‘misled’:
‘Monkey see, monkey do'!! Girls model their attitude towards motherhood, family and relationships and learn role-appropriate behaviour modelling from observations of what their mothers do. Past generations of little girls used to play ‘mothers
and fathers’, dressing up in their mother’s clothes, dressing their dolls in baby clothes and enlisting a young brother to play the father. How young girls’ attitudes are being shaped now and what they are learning from their mothers and
exploitative targeted marketing does not bode well for future generations. I am sure modern mothers in Western society are not aware of what their daughters are learning from them.
To illustrate, here are two true-life examples:
(i) A four-year old girl had been in full time day care since she was six weeks old. She was now in kindergarten and told her mother she was going to marry one of her kindergarten friends and ‘have babies’. Her mother, amused, asked how she
was going to look after the babies. The four-year old matter-of-factly replied, “I will put them in day care, of course”. Amusing? Or alarming!
No wonder young mothers today lack confidence in their ability to be a mother and willingly abrogate the
responsibility to professionals.
(ii) The daughter of a single Mum, a nine-year old girl with a half-sibling and step-sibling, each with a different father, was being urged by a concerned adult to do her homework so she could get a job and earn money to support herself when she grew up. Her reply was that, “I don’t need to do my homework then, because I am not going to get a job”. Instead, “I will have babies with different fathers so they will pay money to support me”. I was flabbergasted when I heard that one - but that is how values and attitudes are learned and perpetuated to subsequent generations.
Maggie Hamilton (2008) has recounted concerns expressed by teachers at the change in doll play among young girls. Once, they would dress up as ‘mothers’ and play with their ‘baby’ dolls. Now, they have their Barbie and other sexualized dolls, so instead of aspiring to be a mother in their play, they paint themselves up like harlots and aspire to be these sexualized characters.
Teen girls’ views on marriage and motherhood:
Maggie Hamilton’s (2008) interviews with girls reveals that their attitudes towards marriage and motherhood have been affected by family breakdown (personal experience or by observation) and women leaving motherhood until late. They are
aware of the biological struggle by ‘older mothers’ to become pregnant. They felt that their own mothers delay in starting a family had created a generation gap which resulted in lack of understanding by them. They want to do things differently.
Their desire for marriage was less about needing a man in their life and more about stability, nurturing and
connection: yearning for a nurturing space; a personal space warmed by someone who cares about them; need to be loved and to be needed; commitment, bond, connection, being close; being with someone who likes who you are and
feeling acknowledged and respected; need for a child to have both a mother and a father; a stable life with kids.
Summing up what they want out of motherhood: they wanted the opportunity to be loving and nurturing and have fun with their little ones; felt children were extremely important and deserved their time and attention even if it meant putting careers on hold. Maggie’s observation was that although they want careers, home and family comes first and they wanted an ’opportunity to create the kind of environment they yearned for as children’.
How much of this desire to be married and have babies is due to celebrities and marketing of weddings, baby boutiques and the sexy ‘yummy mummy’ is difficult to say. However, the tone of comments from girls interviewed by Maggie suggests that what they are seeking in marriage and motherhood is a reflection of what is missing from their lives as children, what their parents didn’t give them – family stability, feeling loved, connection, feeling important, deserving of time and attention. (These are emotional needs identified in "Self Esteem Parenting").
A word of caution about ‘good parenting’ intentions:
The desire to be a good mother, in itself, is not sufficient to achieve that goal. The desire to be a ‘stay at home mum’, in itself, is not sufficient to meet that goal. What is also required is knowledge on how to be a ‘good’ mother - knowledge on what the emotional needs of children are and how to meet these needs. In addition, it is also helpful to understand personal unresolved ‘childhood issues’ and awareness of how these may hamper carrying out the desire to be a ’good’ parent. The point that Maggie Hamilton makes regarding girls seeking in marriage and motherhood ‘what was missing in their lives as children’ highlights these issues. Lacking ideal role models they are unlikely to be aware of how to be ‘good’ mothers and having been raised by a generation of parents who have not set limits, will not know how to set limits in order to meet their children’s need to feel ‘safe’. Their attempts at providing protection are more likely to be over-protective or suffocating. Having their own needs unmet, they will have some degree of emotional deprivation and emotional immaturity so the love they give their babies will not be the unconditional love of a mother, but conditional, in expectation of being loved in return in order to meet their unmet child needs. Lacking family stability or feeling unimportant and unloved by their own parents, they are likely to build their life around their babies and look to them to meet their own unmet needs. This is a burden to place on a young child. These babies are at risk of becoming dependent personalities or alternatively, they may feel suffocated, rebel and
escape. As adults, they will recall their mother as being emotionally demanding, needy and manipulative.
Instead of teaching kids about gender identity issues and promoting permissivens by how to put condoms on bananas, they need to be taught values of Self Respect and “Essential Principles of Parenting”.
Liberation and Loss of Freedom
In the euphoria of the liberation movements, there appears to have been an erroneous, short-sighted belief that freedom meant liberation from responsibility. And conversely, relinquishing responsibility meant freedom. However, freedom and responsibility are inherently linked, so that when responsibility is relinquished, so too is the personal power of freedom. This is so evident in the rise of the 'nanny state' which takes the personal power relinquished to it and uses that power to control the people. This delusion of liberation and a reliance on the 'nanny state' also creates a ‘sense of entitlement’ which undermines self-sufficiency and independence - so is disempowering, rather than liberating. Responsibility has been relinquished to the 'nanny state' in the erroneous belief that this was liberating, but as the 'nanny state' morphs into the 'police state', it becomes more obvious that the relinquishing of responsibility inevitably leads to loss of freedom and loss of personal power.
A conspiracy theorist might claim that the changes in values brought in by the liberation movements was a plot by socially progressive political ideologues to dis-empower individuals and de-stabilise society. This may appear to be a contradiction since the core values of these liberation movements was rights and freedom, which on the surface would seem to be empowering to the individual. However, the kicker is the supplementary core values of instant gratification and non-responsibility. The impressionable were seduced by ‘if it feels good, do it’ values, into handing over personal power. Encouraging instant gratification (eg, alcohol, drugs, sex, instant credit) meant no more need for self control or self discipline – yet these attributes are the core basic qualities of self empowerment. Personal power was relinquished to instant gratification and subsequent control by potentially addictive substances (eg, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, high-calorie food, sugary drinks) and behaviours (eg, casual sex, gambling, consumerism, internet, electronic gaming, pornography). Intrusive social policies abolished authority of parents and teachers, contributing to ‘out of control’ behaviour by kids. Policies urging 'outsourcing of parenting’ have lessened parental influence - all contributing to de-stabilisation of family and society. Relinquishing responsibility for areas of personal and family life facilitated the rise of the 'nanny state', a bureaucracy of overregulation and a burgeoning litigation industry.
Then, the inevitable abuse of rights, freedom and non-responsibility for behaviour (eg, anti-social behaviour, crime, lawlessness) justified the imnplementation of draconian laws and the insidious emergence of the intrusive 'big brother' and the 'police state', ostensihly to prevent anarchy. Society was de-stabilised by values and policies that facilitated breakdown of family values and family - the basic unit of a stable, cohesive society. Values that prioritised focus on self played a role in contributing to social alienation of individuals and fostered non-responsibility for community, ie, de-stabilisation of society. Conspiracy theory would suggest that libertarian values were intended to foster lawlessness and near-anarchy as an essential part of the plan to gain control, by manipulation of law-abiding citizens to welcome draconian laws.
A cynic would dispute conspiracy theory, arguing that the 'moral decline’ of society is the unintended consequences of poorly thought out policies designed by short-sighted, adolescent-minded social engineers blindly pursuing an ideology but simply didn’t have a clue. Conspiracy theory would argue that these simple-minded social engineers were pawns, their ideology and passion exploited, in the interests of achieving the ultimate goal of world domination by some faceless powerful group. But of course, politics and ideology are always about power. No matter how base the motivations or how lofty the ideals, what all revolutions and all social change have in common is their goal - acquisition of power.
My interest is not in the politics per se, but merely in regard to identifying how the embracing of the social values in society and embracing of these values in social policies has misled parents and been detrimental to society.
Libertarian values were embraced by many of the youth of the day (ie, the young ‘baby boomers’), happy to dismiss the moral values of their parents, happy to indulge in instant gratification and not be concerned with responsibility for
consequences of what they did. Most of those in the older generations continue to uphold moral values and live by a moral code of behaviour. There are many parents in society today who have been raised according to those moral values handed down to them by their parents and in turn, instil them in their own children. However, increasingly, this is becoming more difficult for them to counter the negative influences their children are faced with everyday.
Regardless of the values and influences in society, most parents care about their children and believe that the decisions they make are in their best interests. However, my argument is that society in general, and parents in particular, have been misled by values imposed and cemented into social policy. Like Dr Spock, it is time civil libertarians, social engineers and social progressives (?) admitted their mistakes and face the need for reinstatement of values such as responsibility for personal behaviour, community values, personal integrity, business integrity, respect (for self, others, property and animals), delayed gratification, seeking a dopamine ‘fix’ through validation or ‘getting high on life’ instead of ‘artificial sources’ such as consumption of substances and behaviour that are potentially addictive. (Suggest: Read "Validation Hypothesis" under "More Info"). It is time all adults accepted responsibility for being positive role models for kids.
We live in such a materialistic society of ‘must haves’ that two-income families are regarded as essential. Essential utilities and services are given free rein by government to frequently increase charges. Governments impose myriads of mandatory fees and base economic policies and budget planning on an assumption that families have two incomes. Yet, many parents make the decision that the mother will stay at home and take care of the kids while they are young. They are prepared to make sacrifices and live on one income so they can provide the best start in life for their kids. Some Mums have the luxury of being able to negotiate with their employer to work from home while their kids are young. Many entrepreneurial women start up a home-based business while being stay-at-home Mums.
OK, so you made a decision to have a baby although you knew you would have to work to pay a mortgage - so
you say that you have no choice but to put your infant/toddler into childcare. You have made a choice - to not take care of your infant yourself. Just be aware of the lies you are being sold. Be aware of who is paying the price for your choices. When we make choices, we set priorities according to what is important to us and generally there is a cost involved. When parents seek to rationalise their decisions, then you can be sure that the cost is being born by the kids. Kids emotional needs and long term mental and emotional wellbeing are being sacrificed for women’s rights and for the economy.
I repeat – parents have been misled – and are still being misled.
Biddulph, S.,“Raising boys”, Finch Publishing, Sydney (1997).
Biddulph, S., with Biddulh, S., “More secrets of happy children”, HarperCollins Publishers (1994).
Biddulph, S.,“Manhood”, Finch Publishing, Sydney (1994).
Biddulph, S.,“The secret of happy children”, HarperCollins Publishers (1984).
Cook, P.S.,“Mothering Matters”, Freedom Publishing (2011).
Cook, P. S.,“Rethinking the early childcare agenda”, (1999), Medical Journal of Australia, Vol 170, 29-31.
Hamilton, M.,“What’s happening to our girls”? Penguin Books (Australia) (2008).
Khaleque, Abdul, and Rohner, Ronald. (2012), “Transnational Relations Between Perceived Parental Acceptance and Personality Dispositions of Children and Adults: A Meta-Analytic Review”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Review, Vol (16), 103-115.