1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2004
We are currently witnessing a grand social experiment, the results of which are not fully in as yet. But the data that is coming in is not good. We are allowing an entire generation of babies and young children to be raised by strangers. While adults might benefit from such arrangements, the well-being of children is being put at risk.
That is the sobering conclusion of a new volume by a research fellow at the Washington-based Family Research Council. With extensive documentation Robertson demonstrates how extended periods of day care are harming our children.
Robertson shows how feminist ideology, coupled with a sympathetic media and a cowardly academy, have managed to convince many that parenting is too important to be left to mere parents, that bureaucrats know better than mom and dad, and that day care centers are in fact good for children.
All three of these emphases are incorrect. But the growth of the day care industry is hard to counter. In the US, federal subsidies to the child care market rocketed from $2 billion in 1965 to $15 billion in 2000. And as more and more mothers enter the paid work force (most because of economic necessity, not personal preference) the day care juggernaut races onwards.
These social trends have resulted in a devaluing of motherhood, a weakening of the family unit, and most importantly, negative outcomes for our children. The harmful effects of extended periods of day care include higher rates of illness, greater chance of sexual abuse, higher rates of aggression, and greater risk of antisocial personality disorders.
The emotional, psychological and physical harm to children who spend lengthy amounts of time in day care has been well documented for some decades now. Yet the social science evidence is often attacked, covered up or ignored. Those who try to present the evidence are personally abused and vilified. It is just not politically correct to tell the truth on this issue.
The story of researcher Jay Belsky is a case in point. As an early proponent of day care, he was the darling of feminists and academia. But his research caused him to have a change of heart, and when he started to publish data showing negative consequences, he was furiously opposed.
Although he sought to be as cautious and restrained as possible, the child care establishment and its supporters distorted his findings and blackballed his research. He quickly became persona non grata in the eyes of many. Robertson carefully chronicles this and similar episodes in the day care wars.
Robertson reviews the studies which show how early day care harms the mother-infant bond which is so important in a child's development. Of course defenders of day care put a different spin on the findings. Children in day care are not more aggressive, simply more "independent". And they even try to say that if such aggression exists, it is a virtue, not a vice.
Moreover, they argue that children do better socially and educationally when in day care. But the solid research on these matters points in the other direction. Robertson cites many studies showing how children are disadvantaged on the academic and social levels, when kept in day care.
He also notes that when a study does come out which suggests that children do well, even better, in day care, it is always front page news. But when the more numerous and reliable studies come along, warning of the negative consequences, they are buried in the back pages of the press, if they appear at all.
Robertson competently takes on a number of myths about day care. For example, he challenges the myth that the poor need, and want, day care. He documents how in the US, the families most likely to use center-based day care are those earning $75,000 a year. Surveys show that the vast majority of low-income moms prefer to have their children stay at home in their early years. He even demonstrates that moms who want to put their children into day care are "atypical".
The fact that so many parents do resort to day care is evidence of economic policies that make it very hard on single-income families. Instead of putting more money into day care, we should be restructuring our economic policies so that those families who choose to let their infants stay at home in the early years can do so.
But much of the modern corporate world is in league with feminist ideology here. Both identify women's interests with "independence from husbands and family, and a corresponding greater dependence on corporation and government". Earlier feminists recognised the importance of the home and of motherhood. Modern feminists do not, and much of the free market is happy to side with the new version of things.
Thus Robertson calls for an overhaul of both government and corporate practices, to reflect the desire of most mothers to be at home with their babies. His concluding chapter offers suggestions on how parents can reclaim parenting. Social and taxation policies must be reworked to allow for genuine parental choice. Those parents who wish to look after their own children should be given the financial incentives to do so.
This book provides the data and rationale for why we need to rethink our priorities and revamp of policies. Bureaucrats and others will not like it, but most parents will welcome it. Let the debate continue.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2004
So you thought Head Start and other highly recommended day care programs were right for your children? Think again. I'm not due to have kids for let's say a good ten years and I've already decided that there is no way I'm placing my kids in a day care institution. What you ask made me have a biased mindset about day care like that? It was because of Brian C. Robertson's book Day Care Deception. What the day care establishment isn't telling us is the really detrimental effects day care can have on your children. Anyone could slap some kiddy pictures on the wall, equip themselves with an easel and paints, pick up some alphabet books, and then charge you a hefty sum to leave your kids in their care, but you'd be deceiving yourself if you thought leaving your kids there was the right move. Robertson supports maternal care for kids especially from birth to age three. Within this well researched book, you will also learn the positives of day care along with the negatives. (Although, I feel the positives are there just to assure the guilt ridden parents.) This is a brave and researched book that debates the reasons why parenting is for parents and not for child development experts. It is highly recommended, especially for anyone who is expecting or already has a family and is considering day care as an alternative way to raise their kids. Be prepared for the truth, you'll think twice after you read it.
on May 12, 2004
Informative and critical, this book gives each reader a reminder of his or her own childhood. In different cases, the serious ideas inside the book will make you either appreciate your past or make you despise it.
My initial interpretation of the book was split into two contradicting ideas. One being this book gives phenomenal insight to the day care's "don't go there" ideas and its fundamental influence on children at a young age but also a feeling of ultimate disbelief. Robertson points fingers every way, which may be relative, but creates bias while doing so. He sums it up as parents, the government and anybody who supports day care establishments (radical feminists, he says) are uninformed and should have seen the leering evidence long ago.
Although there could be alternatives to Robertson's approach of pointing fingers, his comment at the bottom of the book cover "What the child care establishment isn't telling us" is a definite theme throughout this book and is displayed thoroughly.
This book creates some bias but is written with precise facts that are very informative and gives solutions to this child-rearing problem.
on March 17, 2004
A parent (that usually means "mother") who has a child in a commercial day-care center will probably want to shoot herself after reading this book. Robertson makes a densely argued case against any kind of early-childhood care other than maternal and in-home. "Day Care Deception" will reinforce the choices of the comfortably-off reader (that's me!) who has not had to put her kids in day care. However, some of us at-home mothers worry about the rest of America's kids in addition to our own. There isn't enough quality child care, and it's pointless for Robertson or anyone else to try to hustle American mothers away from paid employment. Most cannot afford that luxury.
Corporate America hasn't done much in a concrete way to accommodate parenthood, and the author doesn't think much of what options parents do have. He appears positively scandalized to reveal that day-care centers are, gasp, a business, and one that has to turn a profit in order to stay viable just as any other business does. Can a day-care center provide loving care to children and make money at the same time? You'd never know it from reading this book.
"In the face of the strange but powerful alliance of feminism and the Business Roundtable, who can be relied upon to defend the interests of children and families?" orates Robertson, near the end of this slim volume. The answer is, parents are on their own. He remains opposed to the "day care establishment that would foist the destructive regime of universal day care on every family, all in the name of concern over children's well-being and development."
I would welcome the existence of a regime Robertson calls "destructive," as long as it's "universal." This would make a welcome alternative to the inadequate patchwork non-system currently prevailing in the United States. Low-income mothers have the fewest choices regarding child care, and Robertson doesn't bother to ask them if they would prefer a clean, safe, universally available day-care environment for their children.
Instead, he trots out an eighty-year-old quote by noted child-care authority [sic] G.K. Chesterton, who is said to have said, "If people cannot mind their own business, it cannot possibly be more economical to pay them to mind each other's business, and still less to mind each other's babies."
Gosh, that's really helpful advice. And talk about witty! Maybe Dr. Laura (she's quoted in this book, too) could embroider that as a sampler.
on January 25, 2004
Day Care Deception is an excellent, well-researched, and hard hitting book that reveals the truth of the dangers of non-parental care and the importance of Parent-child togetherness. It challenges our current cultural placations that day care is "OK" and that a parent's choice to put a child in the care of others does not damage that child.
The author discusses a surprising number of very well funded [some government backed] and well researched studies that reveal a huge range of ill-effects to children placed in day care. He outlines how the research itself is manipulated and distorted to show 'positive' or 'neutral' outcomes, when the actual data shows very clearly that the outcomes are overwhelmingly negative. The author also reveals a wide spread media conspiracy to keep these findings from the public to avoid causing anyone to feel 'guilty'.
Any parent considering how their child will be cared for on a day to day basis would do well to read this book. In order to make good decisions, families need to know the *truth*. Every parent wants the best for their child, and they need to have all the facts so that they can provide this to the best of their ability. Robertson has written a very compelling and important book that all parents should be privy to.
on December 24, 2003
I am a graduate student researching the negative effects of maternal absence on infant biology and psychology. I have been approached numerous times by fellow grad students and a few professors, warning me that my research might make some moms "feel guilty," and therefore maybe I shouldn't do the research. My response is that moms are adults who can take care of their own emotions and make their own choices. Infants and toddlers are stuck with the choices their mothers make. Why should I not do research to protect moms? Shouldn't we know what's happening to our children?
This book was a breath of fresh air -- at last, someone has the guts to print the real data. Funny thing is, I consider myself very liberal, and an active feminist. I am pro-choice, and very much for working moms -- as long as those moms take those few years off to spend with their developing children (or, find a way to work at home). I am also for paternity leave.
All this is to say that as a scientist, a liberla, and a feminist, I applaud this book. This is not a "conservative" book, it's for everyone who should know the truth about what's happening to our kids. Tough if it makes parents uncomfortable. Do what's best for your kids, not what's convenient for you.
on August 13, 2003
Day Care Deception provides a focused view of a child-rearing practice that has heretofore escaped much-needed scrutiny. Utilizing current research and insights of his previous book, Forced Labor [There's No Place Like Work], Robertson does a masterful job in presenting a fair but critical examination of the impact of raising children in center-based day care. Day Care Deception's primary value is in establishing the following facts: 1) Parents, especially lower-income parents, consistently say they prefer raising their children at home, or the care of close relatives or trusted friends, not in full-time, center-based care; 2) day-care advocates have successfully obtained federal tax breaks and corporate perks for affluent parents who do drop their infants and small children at center-based care; 3) political leaders in both parties should reconsider policies that hurt those families who sacrifice money and opportunity to raise their chilren at home; and 4) lastly, and most importantly, center-based care is generally physically and psychologically harmful to infants and small children.
The facts about day care are not comforting. Thirty years ago, few parents would ever consider dropping off infants and toddlers for 35-40 hours a week so parents could maintain an affluent lifestyle, but we are doing that today. We tell ourselves false rationalizations like "it helps them socialize," or "they love the toys and interactions." The truth is just the opposite: small children want to be with their mothers and fathers, not with near-strangers, no matter how well-intentioned. As one person in the book asks: if we could all come back as small children, where we would prefer to be raised? At home, or in a day-care center? The answer is obvious to most of us, but somehow we aren't willing to provide that home for our own children. The excuse of economics doesn't justify our actions: most children placed in day care have affluent parents, not struggling working mothers who have no choice.
Families in America are under siege, as Robertson notes. The economic, fiscal and cultural factors that made center-based day care so prevalant are fascinating, especially for those of us who remember the days before extensive day care. I recommend reading both Robertson's books to fully appreciate that history; his previous description of maternal advocacy, and the "family wage" in the feminist movement of the early 20th century is highly instructive. In addition, the developments contributing to the baby boom of 1946-1964 deserve careful consideration.
Day Care Deception is well timed. With the fight over gay marriage, judicial activism regarding privacy, and other issues affecting families and society, day care can and should be carefully evaluated. Politicians in both parties carelessly support "affordable day care", without being forced to explain why other families should pay the cost for this harmful practice. Full-time, center-based day care is not good for children. Whether this surrogate child rearing is morally and culturally justified is a critical question to answer. To date, too many political and corporte leaders have been allowed to act like they are "childrens' advocates" when they prompote day care. It is clear that many of them are not primarily interested in helping children, but in fact prefer governmental intrustion, family restructuring, or private profit.
Reading this book made me grateful to my own mother who raised my sister and me at home in the 1950s and 1960s, and my father who provided that home. Today, that choice is extremely difficult. Many parents today are valiantly resisting cultural trends, suffering financial losses and wrongfully paying taxes for others' day, to raise their own children and avoid full-time day care. Those parents should read this book, as should other parents interested in childrens' welfare. It will help them appreciate the moral value in raising their own children, rather than relinquishing that duty and joy to others.
on February 12, 2004
Please SOMEBODY tell me, if my husband makes $30k/yr, how are we supposed to live without my income? I'm 34 years old & if I don't have a baby soon, I may not have one at all (I have considered this, rather than putting a child in daycare, but ultimately, I want a child). If you have no real options that you can depend on for other income, but you really believe in raising your children at home, what are you supposed to do? Would you rather have never been born at all than to have had to go to daycare?? We don't own a house yet. Besides not being able to live on my husband's pay alone, we wouldn't be able to save enough to buy a house till we're 50 without my income. Is this better than daycare? Would it be better not to pay the bills? Default on our student/car loans? Is this better than daycare? Face it, there's no tax help for us coming in the near enough future. I'm not going to miss out on having a baby. Sorry.
on December 16, 2003
This is an important book; I hope it gets the attention it deserves. Children are better off being raised by a parent, rather than an institution. I know, I know ... some parents have to have someone else daycare their child while they work. However, many out there like what the extra income affords them, and the impression they make on others. If all working parents read this book, I think that they would look at their situation with different eyes - maybe through their child's eyes. Would parents like spending their days in a noisy, overstimulating environment, or would they rather be in their familiar homes with loving care from the people who brought them into this world? This book could change hearts. And the lives of children who would rather be with mommy or daddy.
on October 30, 2003
Enjoyed the book. Read it after listening to the interview
on First Voice.
The interview is online at
There's a transcript for those using dial up.