Friday, May 27, 2005

Don't have them if you won't raise them

Babble on.

I'm not a big fan of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, but this post's title was swiped from one of her books, and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Not everyone does:

A child care plan, for example, might have the aim of enabling parents to find and afford child care, allowing said parents to work, earn money, and participate in the national blood sport we call the economy. Child care is expensive, and can be difficult to find and to work around. The hard, pointy reality is that the difficulty and expense create a threshold below which it's simply easier to stay home and take care of the kids yourself. Raising that threshold is a worthwhile aim.

Of course, Skippy the Wondermutt is talking about childcare in Canada. In a single paragraph, he's summarized exactly what is wrong with the Liberal plan enthusiastically supported by this country's left.

A childcare program shouldn't aim to get people out of their parental duties and back into the 'workforce', it should aim to give parents the tools they need to best raise their children. For many, the best way to raise their children is to do it themselves - a perspective completely ignored by Skippy and his comrades.

The idea that the aim of a childcare strategy should be to make it easier for parents to distance themselves from the raising of their children is backward. We need more children reared by loving full-time parents, not less.

Babble off.


At 11:07 a.m., Blogger The Hack said...


Great post.

At 12:50 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

I agree with you B. that parents need to raise their children. My wife and I have raised ours and they went to regulated daycare. I don't love my kids any less than stay at home parents (which is the underlying message of "Don't have them if you won't raise them"). I am willing to look at ways to accomodate stay at home parents, but if you guys start implying that parents who choose daycare are somehow bad parents, then like with so many issues the CPC touches, this will blow up in your faces.

At 1:02 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Greg, did you feel you had to put your kids in daycare because of financial reasons, or would you have still chosen that route if you had a million bucks in the bank?

At 1:04 p.m., Blogger Timmy the G said...

Interesting back and forth on this thorny issue. My wife left her career as a social worker to raise our two children, and in fact started a registered in-home daycare that allows her to spend time with our kids while still exposing them to plenty of socialization.

This doesn't mean that daycare is "bad", it just wasn't the option we chose. Some families need two working parents to get by. Some are fortunate to not need that. A good daycare policy will address the needs of a wide range of parents. I don't think the Liberal or the Conservative policy is that good, although if you combined them you'd be off to a good start. I haven't even looked at the NDP policy yet.

At 1:43 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

Of course we put them in daycare because we had to. Both of us work (I suppose one of us could have stayed home but then we would never have been able to buy a (very small)house, and that is a debate that opens many other cans of worms, for everyone). The daycare option was better than a babysitter in our opinion and neither of us have family within 200 klicks. If I had a million dollars in the bank that would be different, but I doubt the CPC will be proposing that any time soon. Anyway, the decision is never easy and that's why I am sympathetic to those who make other choices and would be willing to pay extra in taxes (now that I am able to) to help subsidize them.

At 2:23 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Greg, that's all I'm trying to get at: most parents, given the choice, would prefer to do it themselves. That's why I think any childcare policy should start with "how can we make it easier for parents to do what they feel is best for their children" rather than "how can we lower the threshold so parents can get back to an outside-the-home job as easily as possible".

I'll say it again: we need more children reared by loving full-time parents, not less.

And Timmy the G: thanks for weighing in here. I've missed the spikes in my blood pressure your blog used to induce. Good leftist commentary is hard to find. :P

At 3:07 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

And let me say that (maybe I am in denial)my wife and I reared our children even though they were in daycare. The daycare didn't take care of them when they were sick, or take them to church, or school, or help them with homework or take them on family picnics, or drive them all over town to sports, cubs, swimming lessons, etc., or taught them the evils of capitalism. My wife and I did those things. For good or bad, our kids are ours.

If you can come up with a way to allow parents the option of staying home without penalizing those who, for what ever reason cannot, I am with you. I suspect the NDP would be open to looking at ways to help stay at home parents as well. In the end, I think everyone just wants to do what's best for parents and children.

At 3:20 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

The left needs more people like you, Greg. The right too, for that matter. Too many on both sides are fixated on methods rather than results.

I've lived as a child below the poverty line, and I understand the challenges low-income earners face. I understand that there are fantastic day-care operations out there, and that the most needy in our society need priority access to those facilities. And I don't have a problem subsidizing those - honest.

But - and this is probably going to get me in trouble - I think there are too many parents who go back to work because they don't know how they can possibly raise two kids in a 1400 sq.ft. home with two TV's and two late-model cars. I think in more situations than people would like to admit, it becomes a lifestyle choice for the adults instead of a commitment to what's best for the kids. Society shouldn't encourage that.

At 3:21 p.m., Blogger AwaWiYe said...

>I am willing to look at ways to accomodate stay at home parents

You are willing to accommodate them, eh? How very generous of you. But, I would have thought the default preferred position would be stay-at-home parenting.

At 3:46 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

Awawiye. That would be true in an ideal world, yes.

At 4:07 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

I won't say that there aren't people like that out there B., but I sure don't work with any of them. None of my friends are like that and my neighbours either. They are just doing the best they can, by and large.

At 4:12 p.m., Blogger wonderdog said...

Damian is right on when he says we should be focusing on results. And I agree with Greg; there is no reason we should not help people who decide to forgo a second income. It is just a question of how much money we have to do it, and what our priorities are.

To Greg's point, the NDP platform does include some level of help for stay at home parents, in the form of an increased Child Tax Benefit and removal of the GST from kid's clothes, etc.

At 4:23 p.m., Blogger Sean McCormick said...

My wife and I recently made a very difficult decision. We are going to give up a comfortable home in a nice neighbourhood in a fairly safe city so that we can free up some equity and make a few adjustments in our lives.

When the dust settles, I am going to be working from a home business out in rural Alberta. This means that whenever my 3 1/2 year old daughter is feeling lonely and needs a hug, she has but to walk next door to my office to get one. I will no longer be that person who is gone all day and she only sees a bit in the evenings and on the weekends.

I don't want to diss parents who choose to put their kids in daycare, but it's not something I'd ever want to do. Jen and I really enjoy raising the kid and can't see having someone else doing that for us.

It would certainly be nice, though, if the federal government would stop treating parents like us as an aberration.

At 7:38 p.m., Blogger kaqchikel said...

Why is it that when some parents want to stay at home because they have decided to raise their children themselves, the ones that send their children off to daycare get defensive? Just asking...

Choice must be the parents', and not the state's. A few of us agree on that. We have 5 --yes, five children-- and we make the sacrifices that we must make on one income because the kids are more important to us than everything else. We are not looking for handouts, and call me selfish if you will, but I have trouble seeing why on top of our own family's sacrifices, Ken Dryden will have me subsidize many of my fellow citizens who make their own choices about a second income.

I know that there are excellent daycare facilities, even if they are not easy to find. Which is why I am opposed to a universalised system. If childcare givers become state employees, we'll have daycare facilities in the same shape as our hospitals in less than it takes for our small children to reach puberty. And then what?

At 9:04 p.m., Blogger Prolix said...

I must admit that the title of the post hit me as being quite narrow minded on a number of levels -- the majority of which I will not comment on here.

I must say, that there is a viewpoint, as seen in the post and many of the comments that "stay-at-home parents are good, working parents are bad". I guess part-time work makes parents half bad with this logic. I'm not certain what summer and spring camp makes, but I digress...

In any event, I surmise that the logic behind this viewpoint is something like: "We are making sacrifices to have a stay-at-home parent; hence, we are better parents, our children will turn out to be better, more balanced, loving, smarter adults and society as a whole will be better for it. Their children are starved for attention and will grow up to be dysfunctional in some way. The problem with the world is that everyone isn't like us".

Just listen to that line of reasoning for a minute... its smacks of bigotry. You've reduced parents who have their children in either before and after school care, or daycare, to an ugly stereotype and that just isn't helpful.

At 12:41 a.m., Blogger John the Mad said...

You are correct in every aspect. We gave up one income to ensure mom was at home for the kids. We need a government that spends its energy figuring out how best to facilitate this option.

Daycare ain't the end of the world but it ain't home either. Raising kids is very hard to do on one income, particularly in the metropolitain areas with the expensive cost of living. It is no wonder so many won't even attempt it.

At 11:24 p.m., Blogger bob said...

In the time since Dog and Dolly were born, I've switched jobs twice in order to better accommodate having at least one of us around while they were around. We were fortunate in that our next-door neighbour was our babysitter and had a daughter around our young ones' ages, so we had a good situation, sort of an extended neighbourhood family. We're still working the kind of schedule that makes life for ourselves a little tenuous at times, but we're doing pretty well even now at being there for them. That, after all, is what life is all about, when you get right down to it... making sure that your kids turn out right. (Too bad there are those in government who deem us mere mortals incompetent in that regard, based on the ineptitude of the few.)

At 1:45 a.m., Blogger Candace said...

Getting excited about Greg saying "I'm willing to look at ways to accomodate stay at home parents" is counterproductive and quite possibly an over-reaction to a poor choice of words.

Currently, you can write off daycare costs, but there's no tax benefit to NOT having daycare costs (i.e. stay-at-home parents). I believe what Greg was trying to say is that 'fixing' that issue would be something he could agree with (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

The circular arguments in this post ignore a very basic one: single parents (of which I am one). I'm not going into detail over WHY I'm a single parent, but as a parent yourself I'm sure you can appreciate that making that decision when my daughter was 8 months old was not an easy one, but a necessary one. I used the cash settlement I received to finance staying home until she was approximately 2 1/2 yrs old, then re-entered the workforce full-time. (The other option would have been to purchase a condo & return to work full-time immediately; instead I chose to rent to facilitate staying home with her.)

If you are a single parent and not independently wealthy, you have two choices: welfare or daycare. Period.

High quality daycare will cost usually 30-50% more than in-home (more of a babysitter situation) daycares, at least in my experience. Overall, a child is getting better care & attention in a higher quality care environment (more arts & crafts, more social interaction, accredited workers, etc.), but someone working a low-paying job, even with subsidization available, will have limited access to higher quality centres (governments don't pay that quickly and too many subsidized spots create cashflow concerns).

The Liberal plan addresses the latter issue. The CPC plan, I believe (I haven't studied it that closely) addresses both by putting more cash in the pockets of the parent(s).

To read into this posting that "stay at home" parents are somehow better is very easy and... very liberal. We are a diverse nation and as such, require a diverse answer.

my 2c

At 4:49 p.m., Blogger AwaWiYe said...

>That would be true in an ideal world, yes.

Ah. The State, of course, will make our non-ideal world better. There's no multitude of different problems faced by families in a thousand communities across Canada that can't be overcome by a mandarin in Ottawa.

When did so many people come to believe that raising children had to be easy and free of self-denial?

At 11:19 p.m., Blogger John the Mad said...

The issue is not who are the beeter parents, but what is best for the kids. Staying at home is best for them, where possible.

Having said that, CW makes a good point. If you are a single parent then daycare would be necessary. The alternative is welfare and that is not the best situation.

But that is not the choice facing many two parent families who are looking for taxpayer funded daycare subsidies.


At 3:08 a.m., Blogger Sean McCormick said...

"If you are a single parent and not independently wealthy, you have two choices: welfare or daycare. Period."

Two more choices:

1. Find a mate and share the load.

2. Give your child up for adoption to someone more able to care for it than you are.

(That should get things going...)

At 12:02 p.m., Blogger Nicole said...

Hum...I have a hard time believing that "staying home" is what is best for the kids.

My parents didn't stay at home with me - for a variety of reasons, none financial. The biggest reason was the socialization aspect - it has been shown that kids who have interaction with people other than their own family have a tendancy to learn at a faster pace and often end up with higher IQs.

I agree that our Child Care system (or lack thereof) needs some serious help. I also agree that the option should be there for parents who want it to be able to stay at home and raise their kids.

Just please, please, please, don't go saying that it's the "best thing" for kids.

It's really not a black and white issue.

At 4:58 p.m., Blogger Frostbite Falls said...

My comments here:


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