An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Thursday, April 14, 2005  

Mothering, children & childcare

Marian Finucane had Maureen Gaffney on her show this morning with the latest results of a huge childcare study in the US - will get exact name later. Fascinating stuff but here are main points:

1. It's not a crackpot study - the data is really reliable
2. The most important factor for children is not time in childcare, type of childcare etc, but the quality of their attachment with the mother. If at 15 months they have a secure attachment with their mother they have the best chance of being well adjusted at 9.
3. The quality of the attachment has no link to their time in childcare i.e. there were children with good attachments who were in childcare a lot and you could have children with poor attachments who were being reared at home.
4. Having said that, children under 3 who were in childcare for 30+ hours per week were under more stress than children being reared at home. Behaviourly, (? is that a word) things straightened out when they were older, but it was a bit of a problem. Not a big one, but a little one.
5. Being a good mother means being in sync with the baby....reading them well and undertanding what they want...knowing when to pick them up....being warm with them.....not shouting at them and being forgiving.
6. Better educated better off people make better mothers. Sad but it appears true. Maureen said "to those who have, more is given".
7. For children who have an insecure attachment with their mother, good childcare can compensate a lot.
8. For children who have an insecure attachment with their mother, bad childcare makes a bad situation a lot worse.

posted by Sarah | 22:12 1 comments
Sarah, this is not really a new idea. Check out the following books: The F*** You Up, by Oliver James, and A General Theory of Love, by Lewis, Amini, and Lannon.

The first gives a UK view of the same theory, and the second gives a more academic (American) view of some of the underlying mechanisms.

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