We are about to be conned again. This time it is the daycare question. A federal task force likely will give it solid endorsement, while much of the Big Media see proliferating daycare as a desirable objective.
But is it? As I noted in an earlier column, in Sweden daycare has become a nightmare where parents now are compelled to send their children to “professional” daycare centres.
Parents have lost most of their rights as parents, while top-level social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists wax fat. Last fall’s case of West German musician Tim Busse and his Israeli wife received scant attention in Canada but it grabbed the headlines in Britain and West Germany.
Mr. Busse was working in Sweden and the poor innocent really felt that he and his wife could raise their daughter, four-year-old Victoria, better than the all-wise daycare experts.
Such parental intransigence resulted in Vickie being taken from her parents. That would have been the end of the story but for intervention by the West German government. Also, the Busses even got support from some daycare-mad Swedes when burn marks were discovered on Vickie’s leg, an indication that she had been mistreated by “professionals” in a government children’s home.
Kindly government officials later allowed the child’s parents access to Vickie. However, both mother and father had to attend a local psychiatric therapy group once a week for at least a year for reorientation. Also, Mrs. Busse had to take instruction in her role as a parent.
It should be noted that the couple have a happy marriage, and respected West German children’s doctor Prof. Helmut Doehncke reports that Vickie’s nature shows a close relationship with her parents, and that she is “open, candid and happy.”
Would this be an extreme case and could not happen in Canada? At the moment most of us still believe that parents have prior rights over social workers, and daycare certainly is not compulsory – yet. But all the signs are there for trouble down the road.
There is Loretta Smith and fellow farm women who opened a child care centre in Thorndale, Ont. A self-help project run by mothers, it was set up to care for farm children, usually for two hours at a time, while both parents work in the dairy barn or are planting grain.
It has worked well for seven years and mothers share the care responsibilities. But it now faces extinction because, horror of horrors, the centre does not have an Early Childhood Education graduate on the staff.
As Mrs. Smith says, “to me, it just seems unfair… because there isn’t an understanding of what goes on in the country and how isolated country children are.” The decision to close the enterprise was made by city-based bureaucrats who probably got their knowledge of child care from a textbook.
The attitude is frightening. Real mothers are, in effect, being told that they are incompetent when it comes to looking after small children. The role they’ve had since the dawn of time has been superseded by slick “professionals” armed with a piece of parchment and a vocabulary of psychological gobbledegook.
It seems that these rural women have crossed up bumbledom in a big way. Not only have they failed to hire one of those new graduates, but their centre keeps the oddest hours. Some days parents keep it open until 9 at night to meet local harvesting needs.
The permissive atmosphere poses another problem. Mothers congregate for a chat, while their children romp around and get to know each other, which is important in today’s rural communities where farms can be half-a-mile apart. Mothers help run the activities and so develop a bond with the children.
This is foreign to most “professionals” in the field. Those wretched farm women have developed a form of daycare that best suits the children. The well-being of their offspring has been placed before that of the professional.
That is the problem with a suggested $6 billion chain of cross-Canada daycare centres: The child’s emotional well-being gets scant attention. Rather, we get the utilitarian argument that parents must work to achieve “quality” living.
When Dr. Elliot Barker attacked the whole notion of daycare more than a year ago, his comments were ignored by newspaper columnists such as Lynda Hurst or Lois Sweet. His research suggests that daycare is producing a race of psychopaths.
Dr. Barker is a forensic psychiatrist at Oak Ridge in Penetanguishene, Ont. He specializes in criminal sickness at that institution, and he has found a frightening correlation between violent criminals and time spent in daycare centres during their early years.
He says a child in its early years must get constant care from one person, whether the mother, granny, housekeeper or nanny. Daycare centres cannot provide this consistency, largely because of high staff turnover and rotating shifts.
A daycare child cannot form a close and semi-permanent relationship with the care-giver. Thus, a youngster cannot develop the trust, affection and empathy needed in the formation of an emotionally healthy adult.
Dr. Baker notes that while some of the psychopaths may not shoot people and can function in society, they are “superficial, manipulative and unable to maintain lasting relationships.” He then asks: What kind of society do we want?
Surely, most mothers should stay at home with their children or set up groups similar to the one run by Mrs. Smith and her farm friends. And certainly more fruitful from society’s standpoint would be to pay mothers to raise their own offspring, an approach urged by Pope John Paul II in his Familiaris Consortio.