Effects of daycare and childhood

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Although many families today choose to put their young children in daycare in order to maintain additional income, problems result when they do; children desperately need the security and warmth of the home environment. When deprived of the influence of the home in early years, several challenges emerge as a child develops. Normal relational attachments are hindered between the parent and child, and development of a child’s emotional dependency and intellectual abilities are slowed down or even handicapped.

All these problems are results of the interchanging of caregivers, lack of individual attention that is given in daycare centers, and the lack of the presence of the child’s natural parent. Attachment is a term that describes the strong affectionate tie that humans feel toward special people in their lives. A child placed in a daycare setting instead of a home environment is subjected to several caregivers rather than one, namely the parent. This interferes with the normal development of the child’s attachment to the mother.

This in turn leads to various types of instability. In a study performed by the highly respected Jay Belsky results show that, “… children in any of a variety of child care arrangements… beginning in their first year of life, are at elevated risk of being classified as insecure in their attachments to their mothers at 12 or 18 months of age and of being more disobedient and aggressive when they are from 3 to 8 years old. ” (Belsky, J. , 895).

These aggressive and disobedient behaviors are just some of the manners of expressing the instability that results from these child care programs. Variances in daycare versus home, or parental care, are seen in the cognitive development of young children. The optimum time for the development of the brain is between the ages of newborn to age five , and “if you want to significantly influence a child’s ability to think and to acquire knowledge, the early childhood years are very critical,” (Huttenlocher, P. R. , 11).

After that time, the neurological growth dramatically decreases. Synapses, or the gaps between neurons, across which chemical messages are sent, are only developed as a baby or child receives stimulation based on an individual response to them. Depriving a child of the needed stimulation during this time is much more likely to occur in a daycare setting where the child is one of many children, rather than in a home setting with a warm and responsive parent. A baby or young child cannot be emotionally nurtured in a daycare setting as they can in a home environment.

The amount of attention to go around is just too minuscule. When a child learns at an early age that one adult is interchangeable with another, as is the case in daycare centers, confusion results. In a study performed by Gillian Doherty of the Human Services Committee in Toronto, Canada results showed that, “extensive non-parental care… can have negative effects when it involves… caregivers who are unable to provide individualized or responsive care because they are responsible for too many children,” (Doherty, G. , 1996).

This lack of individual attention and the coming and going of caretakers makes for emotionally handicapped children who begin to assume an outlook of “don’t depend on people”. However, the truth is that at such a young age a child needs a sense of dependence, and the lack of it will result in a lack of a strong base of psychological security that would allow them to venture out and become truly independent in the real sense of the world. Certainly, the results of daycare on child development are clear. They are overwhelmingly negative and unproductive when it comes to child development.

Normal parental-child attachments are hindered, which leads to poor self image and other emotional difficulties. Intellectual, or cognitive, development is obstructed and can never be recovered, as the optimum years for neural development are during the daycare years. Finally, abnormal dependency on others results from lack of individual attention and the coming and going of those involved in a child’s life. Such results are definitely worth investigating, but can be avoided all together should day care be removed as an option for a parent.

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