Babies Need Love, Not Day Care

This letter is from a listener who wishes to remain anonymous:

Dr. Laura:
I totally agree with you about how bad day care is, and how damaging it is for children.  Recently, I saw a mother who had just picked up her 18-month-old daughter from day care at 6 o’clock!  That’s basically what time my kids go to bed!   The baby was crying, grabbing at the mother’s skirt, and refusing to let go.  The mother was getting annoyed, and kept saying, “Why are you acting like this?  What’s wrong?”

I felt so upset.  What a dumb question!  You neglected your baby for the entire day, she missed you, and is exhausted and stressed, and you’re surprised that she’s acting that way?

I would think that a mother who has her child in day care the entire day would be the one crying and showering love and attention on her baby instead of getting mad at her.  The baby should be mad at the parent, not the other way around.

And then, because parents don’t see their baby all day, they put them to bed too late, which makes them more stressed and makes it even harder for them to cope with their emotions in day care.  When we, as parents, are tired, it’s hard not to be fussy.  Well, imagine what it’s like for a baby!  It’s MUCH harder for them to handle being tired.  Parents need to do what’s best for their children, not what’s best for themselves, and if they don’t want to, or if they think their children shouldn’t stand in the way of their doing what they want, then don’t have them!

Why bring children into the world to give them to others to raise? Why bring children into the world if you are giving them the message that your job and your life are more important than them?  For those that say “Well, I’m just not the type to be home with my kids,” or “I can’t handle being with kids,” then don’t have them!

I know of far too many babies that get attached to their nannies, and spend more time with them than with their own parents.  These babies wonder why their “parent” (that is, the nanny) is leaving them for the night.  Not only do they not have their real parents during most of the day, but then they don’t have their “nanny parent” either.

Sometimes, people say “I want my kids to have the best – the best car, the best house, the best toys.”  Believe me, things are not what makes a baby happy.  Love and attention and kindness are what makes them happy.

How sad. 

And then people wonder why children are so troubled, and why they “act out,”and why they would do anything for attention.  If a mother MUST work to feed her family, I understand, but the attitude shouldn’t be that day care is the first choice.  The attitude needs to be “how sad that she cannot care for her baby.”

I think it’s nuts that people think it’s sad that my baby is home with me.  She is definitely happier than all the crying babies in the playground, but all the working mothers will  never know that their babies are crying, falling, or are just plain exhausted.