Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Endless Search for Child Care

In American society, the value and expectations of child caregivers varies among males and females. While caregivers exist in all ages, races, sexes, and socio-economic forms, overlying generalizations and patterns subsist. For example, in America, men are typically more resistant to participating in the childcare process and women are expected to assume the role of chief caregiver and also the arranger of care. Stereotypes and assumptions often fuel the perceptions surrounding different caregivers and in turn affect the rights and legislation pertaining to caregivers.
Photo Source:  Google Images- Daycare Center

In The Price of Motherhood, author Ann Crittenden discusses the labors of childcare and the American economy. Crittenden goes in great depth discussing the views and ideals which have potentially played a role in the de-valuing of childcare givers and association of childcare as a “women’s issue”—especially in terms of men. In Chapter 4 of her book, Crittenden argues that nothing in American society, “counts unless it is bought or sold (“The Truly Invisible Hand, pg.66).” This in turn is limiting and lessening the value of childcare within politics and the economic sphere. Preview and read more from Crittenden's book, The Price of Motherhood at this link.

In recent years, research studies show that the quality of a child’s care received during the first years of life has a lasting impact on child development and behavior. In the article “Study Finds the Effects of Low-Quality Child Care Last into Adolescence” Journalist Rob Stein, with the Washington Post, reports:

    “The federally funded study, which has been tracking more than 1,300 children since 1991, found that obedience and academic problems among those who received low-quality care in their first 4 1/2 years of life persisted through their 15th birthdays,suggesting the potential for lifelong difficulties (Stein, 2010).”  This study reiterates
 the need and importance of positive and healthy childcare from an early age.  Read more from Stein's article by clicking HERE.

National Public Radio's All Things Considered program recently featured a segment called "The Challenges of Child Care: Emotional Decisions and a Constant Juggling Act."  Listen to the radio program by clicking HERE.  The program included the comments of 7 parents, caregivers and a grandmother- each discussing their personal challenges and frustrations attempting to locate dependable, affordable, safe and nurturing care for their children.

Photo Source:  Emily Bogle/NPR

Currently, American politics and economics are driven primarily by males. Due to the lack of female representation within government and big business corporations, legislation and rights surrounding female rights, typical female jobs, and female associated legislation suffer. Until the men of a patriarchal society, such as the United States, increase the awareness, importance, and worth of women’s issues and associated activities—such as childcare—the people and the related legislation will remain minuscule in value. 

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