I know I have made myself quite a controversial subject by my insistence that children be loved, cared for and raised by their mommies and daddies instead of hired help and institutionalized child care. As I have said many times, children evolve each and every day…and those minutes need to be influenced by and experienced with the people who matter the most. This is why I am thrilled about the one-sided effect of the current economic problems in America.
According to a recent report in USA Today, parents nationwide are telling day care providers that “they must scale back or abandon their services. Instead, they keep kids at home with grandparents or up-end their work-life balance because gas and food prices have become prohibitive and average child care costs outpace rent and mortgage payments – even for those drawing salaries.”
Of course, the day care industry is scurrying around trying to come up with a plan to save itself. Many are offering all kinds of hours and financial deals. The USA Today article, after noting that the 2005 U.S. Census Bureau data (the most recent available) indicated that 2.65 million preschoolers attended day care, and that current statistics of un-enrollment were not available, called the situation “distressing.”
Sure it’s distressing for an industry that has been so effective in its marketing, that parents who actually raise their own children are made to feel guilty for doing so. But it is not distressing for the children, who will now be in the arms of people who love them and are there to teach, nurture, support, and experience life with them.
Sure it’s distressing for parents who have to reconsider and reconfigure their lives to accommodate raising their children. But, they will find surprising rewards in the true experience of family.
The hysteria from the child care industry has included dire warnings that parents will leave their kids home alone, in cars, or with strangers who might hurt them. That sort of child neglect and endangerment goes on in spite of filled-up day care establishments and should be dealt with through social services (to help families make better adjustments in their priorities) or through the legal system (where children are removed to live with safer relatives or foster care).
If it is true that every cloud has a silver lining, then the “shine” is there for many children of parents who can no longer pay the $3,000 to over $10,000 a year for day care, because mommy or daddy is coming home to you.