Day Care

Daycare has become a major issue over recent years. Some people believe that daycare can be bad for the child while others will disagree and say that the child needs daycare. Bowlby believed that separation from the mother during the first few years of a child’s life could lead to serious and permanent consequences in later life, these may include mental subnormality, delinquency, depression, dwarfism and affectionless psychopathy. If the separation happens in the first year then the attachment may not by “the mother-child relationship”. A successful bond should be made with the mother when the child is born.

Freud believed that successful bonds are made when feeding practices satisfy the child’s need for food, oral pleasure and oral sexual gratification. Breast-feeding is meant to make a more secure attachment to the mother. Behaviourists view of attachment is that the child becomes attached to those who satisfy their physiological needs. Whenever the caregiver is around the child should feel security and safe. Both views support the idea that attachment accounts for “the cupboard love” theory. Bowlby believed that the successful bond had to be with the mother but others disagreed with this.

Parke(1981) stated that “Both mother and father are important attachment objects for their infants but the circumstances that lead to selecting mum or dad may differ”. Fathers may not be a poor substitute to mothers. Mothers and fathers both contribute to the child’s bringing up but in different ways. Schaffer and Emerson (1964) studied sixty Scottish infants every 4 weeks through their first year and then again at 18 months. The mothers reported if there was any protest against separation in seven everyday situations for example being left alone in a room or with a babysitter.

Infants were clearly attached to people who didn’t perform care taking activities mainly the father. The person who fed and bathed the infant was not the infant’s primary attachment (mainly the mothers). This happened in 39% of cases. This study shows that the mother doesn’t always have to be the child’s main attachment. I agree with this as the mother may not provide the baby with care all the time and the father has a lot to do in the family as well, so the child might be closer attached to the father. Attachments may be interferred with, through the first year of life by daycare.

Nowadays daycare is an important issue, as many people have become aware of the causes it can lead to. Scarr (1998) according to Scarr, daycare involves a lot of different types of non-maternal care of children who live with their parent(s) or close relatives. Which excludes foster care and institutional (residential) care for example cri?? ches, nurseries, childminders, nannies, and non-resident grand parents (in home). Scarr thought daycare observes special attention because it is non-normative. Scarr believed that the mother should look after the child like Bowlby’s opinion.

In America daycare is seen as a big thing and it is normal for a child to have daycare. Mainly because the majority of women are employed in the U. S. A. The demand for daycare has risen rapidly over the years this is due to the increase of women at work. In 1997 49. 5% of women were in the workforce whereas in the year 2000 they outnumbered the men (but most of the jobs are part time). But the question is should working mothers have pre-school children? In a lot of peoples opinion’s women are said to be born and reared for motherhood.

During the late 1980s/1900s variation, kind and type of daycare were looked into and the relation they had on family characteristics and individual differences among children. A lot of day care is of high quality but some day cares do not. You may be wondering what is classed as high quality daycare. Bredekamp defines high quality care as warm, supportive interactions with adults in a safe, healthy and stimulating environment where early education and trusting relationships combine to support individual children’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.

I would definitely agree with this if the child were looked after properly then it wouldn’t interfere with the child’s cognitive or social development. Scarr (1998) made a list of the most important things for high quality daycare. These include health and safety requirements, responsive and warm interaction between staff and children, developmentally appropriate curricula, limited size group, age – appropriate care giver and child ratios, adequate indoor and outdoor space, good trained staff and low staff turnover. In the U. S. A quality varies a lot whereas in Europe it doesn’t(Lambetal 1992).

Since there is a correlation between the quality of care with the parent’s personal characteristics or circumstances it is hard to interpret these findings. Children from low-income families are going to get poor quality daycare compared to children from high-income families, which can afford to find the best quality daycare. It is unclear what variable is influencing the child’s development. This confession has led to an overestimation of the effect of daycare. In some countries such as France and Belgium childcare is organised and subsidised by the government and free to all parents.

In my opinion this is a very good idea as those people who come from a low-income family have the right to get high quality care. The government should therefore do it in our country, as it has proved successful. Daycare can have effects on social development. According to Bowlby a child whose mother goes out to work experiences deprivation. If it happens during the first year of the child’s life, an attachment may not develop this is said to be privation. If the separation happens after an attachment has formed then the child may become distressed and may experience separation anxiety.

On the other hand Schaffer (1996a) found that the results tend to show there is no weakness of the attachment to the mother from separation of daycare, provided that the stability and quality of the daycare is met. Kagan (1980) found no differences between daycare children and controls provided the daycare was high quality. Melhuish (1990) found much the same as Kagan (1990). There are lots of studies to say that daycare don’t effect the mother-child relationship. I agree with this as children learn more and socialise more when they’re in daycare. I would certainly send my children to daycare.

There is only one exception to this which is Belsky and Rovine (1988) they concluded that children in daycare are less likely to form secure attachments if they have been receiving care for 4 months before their 1st birthday and more than 20 hours a week. But many children do make secure attachment children who stay at home have stronger attachments than the ones in care. Belsky and Rovine (1988) study used a strange situation to measure attachment. According to Clarke – Stewart (1989) this is an inappropriate technique to measure attachment in child daycare.

Children may be used to the separation and wouldn’t suffer any stress. When they stow indifference to their mother coming back they may be showing independence and self-reliance; not resistance or avoidance which show that children are insecurely attached. Several studies have shown those children who were in daycare as infants do as well as those who were not, using measures of security anxiety, self-confidence and emotional adjustment (Clarke Stewart 1989). Attachment is a relationship not a globally personality trait. Daycare has effects on children’s cognitive development.

According to Scarr (1998) children from low income families definitely benefit from high quality care. They show higher achievement and socialise more than children with no daycare and poor quality care. High quality care gives emotional, social and learning opportunities that not many children would get at home. For middle class and upper income families the long-term picture is far less clear. Clarke and Stewart (1991) found that 2 to 4 years olds had better intellectual development if they received day care than that of home care.

But Baydar and Brooks- Gunn’s (1991) studied 1181 children and found that children were worse off cognitively and in behaviour terms if the mother went to work within the first year of the child’s life compared to the mothers who started work later. Scarr and Thompson (1994) studied 1100 children in Bermuda which were based on teacher ratings at 5,6,7 and 8. There were no differences in cognitive development than those who had been put in daycare before or after 12 months or more or more or less than 20 hours a week. Much of the research in daycare has been carried out in the U. S. A.

The conclusions to these studies may not apply to other cultures and societies. Lots of women work in the U. S. A so the amount of children in daycare is a bigger and therefore a bigger issue. (Mooney and Munton) After 40 years of researching they concluded that there is no evidence that working mothers effect their child’s emotional or social development. Even poor quality care can make no difference to a child in a stable family. High quality care may provide extra benefits for the children. In my opinion we should stop arguing what’s good and bad we should provide enough high quality daycare for the children out there who need it.

In British families now 70% of both parents’ work and the proportion of single parent families have risen from 8% to 21%. What is needed is fully trained staff and good pay for daycare workers so children can get positive benefits out of daycare. The issue today, therefore is not whether infants should be in daycare or not but is to make more high quality care so parents can trust daycare to bring up their children in an acceptable way and make sure it has no effects on there attachments with the child. Yes the government should put more money into daycare!