by Tony Perkins
March 27, 2007
For years, stay-at-home parents have been trivialized by feminists who wrongly believe that a mother or father’s care is replaceable. However, a new study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH proves the feminist ideology wrong. The most expansive research of its kind, the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development found that putting a child in day care for a year or more increases the chances that the child will become disruptive in class—a trend that persists through the sixth grade.
Perhaps most telling is the fact that these tendencies were evident despite the child’s sex, family income, and even the quality of the day care center in question. The news will be particularly disappointing to day care advocates who have insisted that any negative effects are entirely contingent, on the “quality” of the care. In the U.S., experts estimate that 2.3 million kids under the age of 5 are in day care, while 4.8 million are in the care of a relative or nanny, and 3.3 million are at home with their parents. Despite the large number of stay-at-home parents, the government is often lopsided in its support of families who choose out-of-the-home care for their kids. Research shows that most parents would prefer to tend for their kids themselves. If that’s the case, why do government policies undercut parental choice and care?
There is no substitute for the contributions that at-home parents make to the development of their children, often at financial sacrifice. In light of the obvious benefits to kids, we urge Congress to pass Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Nebr.) Parents’ Tax Relief Act. Through the bill’s equalized tax treatment of stay-at-home parents, families would have the freedom to care for their own children.